When our girls were about to start first and third grade my husband and I decided to put our girls on a back-to-school shopping budget. We wanted our girls to learn the value of money and to understand that our resources aren’t endless. We also wanted them to have the freedom to choose designer clothes and expensive backpacks, learning that if they spend more on those items then they will not get as many things. This year as my girls are about to enter seventh and nineth grade we did the same thing as part of our annual back-to-school ritual. In fact, our girls now prefer a budget and work hard to make the most of it each year.
The first time we set our kids up on a budget we grabbed the back-to-school sale ads and had our girls look through and help figure out how much school supplies would cost. We showed them that one store might have lower prices than another and let them choose which store they wanted to shop at. After they figured up how much school supplies would cost then we had them think through what kinds of school clothes they would need. They always want to get a first day of school outfit! For that first year we gave them $175 each to buy school supplies and some clothes. They thought they had hit the jackpot! However, they quickly learned that they wouldn’t be able to buy everything in the store with $175.
I’ll never forget on our first budgeted trip our oldest daughter found a bunch of cute clothes at a popular kid store. She wanted them all, but she didn’t have the money in her budget to get them all. Believe me, I wanted to cave in right then and let her get them all, blowing her budget. However, instead I asked her to pray about her decision and to figure out what she really liked the most and what would help her stay within her budget. She did it! She made a wise decision that day and I remember being so proud of her for doing so. Then it hit me, we are not only teaching our girls to be good stewards of their finances, but we are also teaching them self-control. There are so many great benefits to giving your kids a budget and helping them manage it. So as you are gearing up for back-to-school, why not sit down with your kids (no matter if they are starting Kindergarten or going college) and talk about a back-to-school budget. Have fun!
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