Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kids and Money

How much money do you spend on your children's clothing?

When my daughter was in 4th grade she went through an Abercrombie phase. She could easily spend $200-$300 every time we went in, and it seemed like she wanted to go shopping every week.

I realized that I was raising a shop-a-holic. Obviously we are in the financial position where it is possible for us to buy her what she wants, but I did not think that this was a good way to raise her, and I worried that she would develop bad spending habits.

Just before her 10th birthday I sat her down and made her an offer. At the time she was getting $9 a week in pocket money, so I offered to give her $100 a month once she turned 10, but I would no longer buy her clothes. Of course being young and naive she took the offer!

The first month we went to Abercrombie and she spent that $100 so fast. By the third month she had discovered that you could find cute clothes at Forever XXI and Target!

I have raised her allowance by $20 each year so that now that she is 14 she gets $180 per month. I give her extra money at the beginning of the school year so that she can get a bookbag, winter coat and a couple of pairs of shoes, I pay for all of her activity expenses and clothing, but thats it.

She has great taste and a couple of the high school girls recently told her that she is the best dressed girl in 8th grade, which made her day! She has done so well with her money that several of her friends are now on the same allowance and they have all learned the value of a dollar as well as how to dress well on a budget.

Of all the lessons that you teach your children, learning how to live within their means has to be one of the most important.

When my son was about to turn 10 I sat him down and made him the same offer. He was so excited about it, but his sister who was in the room at the time said "Don't do it!!!!!" Of course he did, and for several months spent every penny on video games. He is now 11 and is already making good choices.

I am so proud of both of them.


  1. Wow thats are teacher her (and him) so many valuable lessons while instilling a sense of confidence and can do in each of them. One thing missing from so many in this generation. It teaches them to make responsible choices, to learn quick the value of a dollar and to see how resourceful they can become when its their own money. Fantastic post..we have it set up differently but our system is teaching him similiar things and I feel its so very vital to do this in this world we live in. Thanks for sharing this!!

  2. My parents always purchased everything for my sisters and I....and I think maybe we missed out on "the exchange of money" and knowing the value of a dollar. I think there mentality was they didn't want us to worry about those things, just focus on studies...But I feel we missed out on the most important lesson of all. Kudos to you.
    I hope to find a happy medium for my son (he is only 17 months so allowance isn't happening anytime soon.)
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. That is such a wonderful gift that you have given your children; they will use it for the rest of their lives. And it sounds like that gift has also reached out and inspired their friends!!xo HHL

  4. This sounds great to me. I was on a similar kind of budget when I was a teenager. One question, if your daughter buys something you don't approve of does it get returned? Do you have any say in what she buys? My daughter is 10 and any clothes shopping advice is appreciated. So far I've been lucky but some of the stuff out there for girls makes me cringe!

  5. Hi Clare,
    Sophie has great taste and I do trust her to shop on her own now, but at 10 I certainly had to approve everything that she bought.
    From about the time that she was 3 we have always had an agreement not to get anything unless we both like it, and that rule came in very handy during the Limited Too years. Some of the things that she wanted to buy then make her die now, and she is so thankful that I stopped her!!!!!
    Like you I was raised on a similar budget and I think it instills very valuable lessons.


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