Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thrifty Reader Seeks Help: Spoiled Kids & Too Many Yard Sales!

What do you tell a thrifty mom who thinks her kids are spoiled? That scenario recently landed in my e-mail box. Here's the note:

Hi, I am concerned because I finally realized how spoiled my kids are. I've been buying them whatever they liked, although it's from thrift stores and yard sales. Because it's so cheap, I get them more than five things.

I find my 8-year-old son being un-appreciative, unresponsible and rude, and I think this could be why. Now the house is full of toys, and I don't know where to start. How to unspoil? I am overwhelmed. Do you know what I should read? How do I start, please?

Please chime in with tips, links and resources. Thanks!


Frantic Home Cook said...

Been there. It's easy to say, "Well, it's only $2" when they ask for something but, as you know, it's more about the expectation of always getting something than the price.

One thing I've done is to tell them they must spend their own money. They receive a very small allowance of which 50% is automatically placed in a savings account.

This helps in several ways:

1) They've learned the excitement of watching money grow in the "big bank".

2) They're learning how to budget the small amount they have in their piggy banks.

3) It limits the amount they can purchase so they learn realistic expectations.

FunFrugalMom said...

My kids get paid for doing things around the house that are above and beyond their regular chores. We're talking small change to a dollar or two, and I let them know when they're expected to use their own money.

When we traveled to Disney World last year I did not want to be constantly nagged to buy this or that, so for months before the trip the kids earned their own vacation spending money, with the understanding that it was going to be their only resource for toys and souvenirs. They each ended up with about $60 of their own money and proudly bought their own souvenirs after shopping around planning their spending.

It worked out great for all of us.

tashia said...

I understand completely! Just in this past year I have discovered the same thing, my kids are spoiled! They have so much stuff and do not appreciate any of it! Granted I always bought them stuff from garage sales too because it was so cheap!

Here are some of the things I have done to try to reverse this:

- I boxed up almost all of our toys to sell at our garage sale, the kids got to keep 1 basket each of their favorites

- I promised myself I would not buy them any more toys, they get plenty of toys at X-mas and birthdays

- They need to spend their own money on toys at the store or garage sales (my kids earn money for doing their weekly chores and they can spend their "spending money")

- I also try to talk to them about how blessed we are and how important it is to be thankful for what we have.

My kids are still little, 4 & 6, so this works well for us right now.

You can find lots of garage sale tips at my site if you want to get rid of some toys:)

S Penney said...

Their own money works best or take a fixed amount for everyone.

I've used both methods. The fixed amount is fun to show how giving into their wants can hurt them. For instance, one trip result in a plastic grocery cart early in the trip. It was something I was looking for, but my kids spotted it first and asked for it.

I hmmed and hawed because the price tag was higher than I was willing to spend. I did buy it after negotiating, but they found a nicer one later. I wasn't going to buy another one and we didn't have enough money either.

It's all about the message.

Frugal Scholar said...

It sounds like this mom knows both the problem and solution!

I'd suggest Whole Child, Whole Parent. This may be out of print. It's about babies, but applies as well to older kids. It's zen, but don't let that put you off.

BB said...

One thing that gave me perspective growing up was giving to others. Each season, we would go through old toys and clothes and make sure what we weren't using went to charity (my parents took us along so we could see). At Christmas, we helped buy toys and stuff stockings for children who were less fortunate.

We didn't have a whole lot growing up, but making sure we helped those who had less than we did certainly made us appreciate what we had!