Thursday, 12 July 2012

STUFF does not = LOVE

The My Budget Money Talks latest blog post - "Are We Spending Too Much On Our Kids?" - just dropped into my inbox and the timing could not be more perfect.

I've been in a few shopping plazas over the last two weeks, smack bang during the toy sales. 

It was overwhelming, headache inducing, and watching the people around me I could have sworn I'd fallen into a parallel universe where things like the GFC haven't happened. 

My "excitement" over the annual toy sales was best summed up here:

That's right. I did.

To be fair - I buy my kids toys for their birthday, or Christmas. Sometimes I give them little "just because" presents. 

But I don't rush out and spend a months grocery money on a trolley full over overpriced plastic, beeping, electronic, brain melting petroleum products in the hope my kids will think I'm awesome.

Frog does have a fair few toys - but when you look closely you will see that they are mostly inherited from her big sister, or even began life as MY toys. I had to wrack my brains to decide what Father Christmas was going to bring because we already had plenty. 

According to reports, kids are increasingly costing their parents crazy amounts of money. 

Anywhere between the base figure of approx $400K and anywhere up to $1M to get from baby to age 18. 

Holy. Cow.

Food, clothes, dance lessons, football boots, driving a squillion miles a year to ferry them around everywhere. It adds up before you can blink. And mostly, I can understand the figures.


How much of that is inflated by the fact that kids "must" have absolutely everything?

Every child I saw over the last couple of weeks was whinging, whining, screaming, hitting, kicking or having a full scale meltdown because "I WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT TOOOOOOOOOOOO MEEEEEEEEE!!"

And every time, without fail, the offending item was added to the overflowing trolley.

Kids are growing up being indulged constantly, and are going on into adulthood with a massive, and misplaced, sense of entitlement that will do nothing but cause them grief, whether financially or emotionally later in life. 

Parents are hurling themselves into unmanageable and crippling debt year after year to provide a mountain of presents bigger than the Christmas tree. What is wrong with one present?

Can someone tell me why a three year old needs their own iPad? I saw a woman getting shouted at by her tiny dictator because she wanted a pink cover, not a purple one, for her brand spanking new iPad3. I shit you not.

And for the cost of that iPad, four children could have access to a basic education they otherwise wouldn't. I bet those children aren't shrieking about it and stomping their Mini Choo clad feet.

For me, the answer lies in a basic formula.

STUFF does not = LOVE.

You are not doing your child any favours by teaching them that money never ends.

Do you really want to be unable to retire because you are still paying your little spoiled darling's credit card bill every month?

Talk to your kids about money. 

Teach them to save, teach them to budget.

Teach them not to expect everything and give nothing. 

Give them the gift of a financially stable future for you and for them.

Love them enough to say no.


  1. Beautifully said! I'm exactly with you.

    My daughter got quite a bit of money for her birthday and we shopped at th toy sale, and I felt so ridiculous letting her choose all this 'stuff.'

    1. LOL! At least she was spending her own money, and knew it was a finite amount! Great way to teach while enjoying her gift!

  2. LOVE this post. I refuse to fight for toys in the toysales with trolley loads of plastic crap! BUT I love looking at the catalogues!!

    1. The catalogues are fabulous fun :)And always a great indicator of what may be well received come Christmas time ;)

  3. OK, you are so right on that I have to follow you! THis is my greatest pet peave. Always been spoiled brats, but was never an epidemic.

    Parents need to stop disucssing why kids can't have something. I learned it is most effective to keep repeating,
    "That is not going to happen!" Instead of explaining why.

    cranky old man

    1. Welcome! One of my pet peeves too, NO has almost become extinct these days. When pregnant parents should have a list of words they should practice "No, you can't have it" "No the world doesn't owe you anything" "yes I am in charge"

  4. Hey Nat, so right on the NO word. Also on the overload of plastic stuff we cram into our kids rooms to distract them - how many times do you need to 'declutter' a kids room before you say enough! This year, we have decided that Santa is going to bring "experiences" instead of toys - month by month coupons of going to ice-skating, bowling, ice-cream parlours, kite flying, and special treats out of the house and away from material possessions. My dad taught me this idea when my mum and and divorced- he never wanted to become the dad that just gave money at Christmas so every year we got an envelope - "Meet me here at this date..." Always an adventure - hot air ballooning, white water rafting, reef trips... I remember all those trips compared to the latest toys I got. Thankyou for being so honest and direct, we all need to be sometimes as parents.


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