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September 26, 2008


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Tonggu Momma

This topic fascinates me.

The husband and I will be fine... our lives will not be exactly the same, but we will be able to stay in our home and live life as we typically do, with limited tightening. But we've always lived pretty simply, although not exactly frugally. Now, if we were approaching retirement, I would be concerned, since our investments took a hit, although not a large one since I'm the world's most fearful investor.

Two families among our relatives are in a world of hurt. The common theme there is that both families overextended themselves... by a lot. They bought houses they couldn't afford, carried credit card debt and then had something significant happen (medical issue, job loss, something).

As to parenting during these financial times...

Since the Tongginator was a toddler, I've modeled financial behavior I hope she comes to emulate. For example, if I see something at a store that I like, I will say quite openly, "that is very nice. I really like it, but I don't need it." I've even been known to say, "I really like that, but we can't afford it this month." We also limit her access to commercial TV. This helps more than I can say. She rarely asks for things, even in stores, although she'd really like a scooter "for Christmas." (She is the only child on our block without one.)

I think eleven is old enough to know that things are now different. I think children need to hear reassurance that they will always have food, shoes, someplace to live, but they need to understand that life is changing for them.


This is such a hot topic for us all right now. I have watched a friend whose husband got a huge promotion, struggle. He got a $30,000 raise but didn't realize the cost of moving. They are upside down on their home as they sell it, to the tune of $50,000. How do they buy a house when the move? This exciting promotion has turned into a nigtmare. I have to say, it scares me. Luckily, we live within our means, without huge debt. But if things get worse, can we afford to live our current lifestyle? I'm not sure. As for what to share with our kids...that's a hard one. I do think that we need to help them understand that times are tight and that everyone has to curb their spending. Modeling fiscal responsibilty, like Tonqqu Momma does, is pricelss. The years of entitelment are over. Time to tighten our belts and start making casseroles.

Zen Mama Wannabe

Yes, Tonggu Momma is on to something with the dialogue she uses with her child! That is an area I need to work on - I am definitely going to start incorporating that with my kids.

Children in general need to understand that they can't just get everything (material) that they want. Sometimes you have to work and save for something, and sometimes you just can't get it at all. It is okay - life DOES go on (think of me and that Barbie Townhouse - although my husband can't believe I am STILL talking about it, after all these years!) :)


I agree, it's so important to model responsible behavior from the start. Whether you can afford things or not, kids don't need to get everything they want. They need to learn to wait, to earn it, to delay that gratification. Because that's life. My sons know not to ask for things, because when they were little we couldn't afford anything, and that set the tone. We've always explained that bills get paid first, and it was so funny when they finally "got" that, because kids don't know about or understand bills, or house payments, or saving for college and retirement.

It's great because now that they're older and they do understand, they don't whine for stuff. They might ask, cause it never hurts to ask, but they don't really expect it. They both have little jobs they do to earn they're own money, and they've been taught to save it til they're really want something instead of blowing it on candy at the Dollar Store. And, sometimes they still choose to blow it. But it's their hard earned money,and they definitely think hard before spending it.

I don't want my kids to grow up and think money grows on trees, or that they will graduate and instantly make a 6 figure income. I want them to know there will be lean times. I don't think that's scaring them, I think it's preparing them for life.

Zen Mama Wannabe

Just heard some TV personality say she wished they had taught a course on MONEY MANAGEMENT in school...that it would have done a lot more for her - and others - than triganometry did. :)

Sounds like that is what you guys are doing with your kids on your own. What an important thing to teach! I agree, Sheri - it is preparing them for life!

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