Even the best kids can get a case of the gimmies. It is hard, especially, when their friends and peers start sporting things that they don’t have. One of the little girls in my daughter’s kindergarten class owns a Balckberry phone. And most of the kids in my son’s fourth grade class also have a combination of Blackberry phones, iPhones, iPods and more. Kind of crazy if you ask me.
I think it is important to keep the kids in check with material possessions, both for their own good and the good of the family’s financial stability. if your kids wind up with a temporary case of the gimmies or the need it nows, try the following strategies.
Find out why they want it
This one worked recently for my eldest child. He wanted an iPad. We asked him why he wanted it, and it turned out that all he really wanted was to be able to play a particular game. Fortunately, I found out that the game will be available on a game system that we already have. Problem solved.
Help them earn and save
Remember that game system that we already have? Well the reason we have it is because our son earned half of the money for it. We did put up the rest. By allowing him to earn and save for the thing that he wanted, he learned quite a few lessons.
The most important one, I think is that it took time and effort to earn the money. This helped him decide if he really wanted and needed the item. Many times kids (and adults, too) can be impulsive with purchases. Slowing down helps you spend less.
Tell them to pay the difference
Another way to help curb the out of control wants is to ask them to pay the difference. For example, if your teenager needs the trendiest pair of $100 jeans, tell her that you are willing to pay a reasonable amount ($15-30) for jeans, and she is welcome to come up with the difference. Remind her that the trend may have a short shelf life, so she should make sure that the item can be easily incorporated into her wardrobe when the trend ends.