Affording a Child’s Want

Sometimes we really, really want something but are faced with the choice of either doing without it or racking up debt. I’m talking about something that is clearly a want and not a need. Our frugal selves may say to skip it altogether, but that isn’t completely fair, is it?

For most families, the biggest want usually come down to something that we want to get for our kids. The joy of fulfilling a wish is very tempting, especially if that wish has existed for a long time. The excitement on a child’s face is something every parent wants to see. Some of these items may be easy fulfill, and others not so much. The thing is, the sooner we, as families, can get out of debt, including house debt, the more money will be available for these types of big wants.

So, here are some of the ways that may make it possible to afford something your child really wants without going into debt or jeopardizing your financial security.

Buy Used

If you don’t mind getting a used version of your want you can save quite a bit on the price, turning the item from just a wish into reality. Look online or just spread your want through word of mouth. You might be surprised when the item you want becomes available. Since children outgrow toys, games and clothing, and since they often change interests, there is a good chance that the exact item you want is available pre-owned.

As for the stigma of giving your child something that is not new, as long as you carefully check the condition and the quality, it shouldn’t be a problem. No one outside the family would need to know, and buying used could mean the difference between having and not having the item.

Wait a Year

With electronics and even toys, just waiting a year on a want can lower the price significantly. As new models become available, the older ones become discounted. As long as you don’t want the latest and greatest version of your item, you should be able to save enough off of it to make it affordable, especially if you combine the wait strategy with saving and earning for the want.

If you are worried that your child would outgrown the item in a year, then you might want to rethink purchasing it in the first place, especially if it is an expensive item.

Buy It with Cash

When you buy something with cash, you don’t occur any debt at all (assuming that you aren’t taking out cash advances from your credit card or bank). This makes any want affordable, in a sense. You may also get an additional discount for using cash. Some stores will offer this while others will not. Either way, you know that you won’t be paying additional interest on the purchase as you would if you used a credit card.

Put it on a Family Wish List

The next time Grandma or Auntie ask what to get your child, be honest and tell them that a contribution toward the want would be most welcome. You can even make up a little chart showing how far along you’ve already come with saving up for the item.

Since friends and relatives often want to give something physical that can be opened, wrap up the chart and include a card or very inexpensive toy to go with the gift.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com

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