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5 Reasons You Should Only Give A Small Amount Of Money To Your Kids

5 Reasons You Should Only Give A Small Amount Of Money To Your Kids

As parents, most of us want our kids to have nice things, and enjoy the benefits that money can bring.  For many of us, it is very tempting to offer our kids the sort of luxuries we might not have had the opportunity to experience when we were growing up.

Seeing the smile on your son or daughter’s face when you surprise them with the latest toy they have been talking about non-stop, or an excursion they have been dying to go on is a priceless feeling.   Nothing is better than spreading joy to a child.  However, is there such a thing as too much giving?

It’s understandable that parents would like to give the best to their kids, but when treating your children to gifts and surprises too often, potential problems can arise.  This is especially true when it comes to money.  Here are five reasons why you should only give a small amount of money at a time to your kids, even if you’re rich:

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1. Spoiling your kids can lead to poor behavior and attitudes later in life

David Bredehoft argues in his studies on Childhood Overindulgence and Young Adult Dispositions that overindulging your children by giving them too much money, or toys can result in dysfunctional attitudes as they transition into young adulthood.

In his studies, the more spoiled a child was, the more self righteous they were likely to believe themselves to be.  Furthermore, children that had been over indulged tended to see themselves as less effective than the children from other groups.

2. Teaching your kids about wants versus needs

Whenever kids have too much money at a time, it is all too easy for them to satisfy every desire on a whim.  Every child will naturally want the latest toys to come out, like a gaming console, or perhaps the new iPhone that just hit the market.

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This is normal behavior, as constant bombardment by the media practically trains our children to seek out these luxuries.  Because we live in a society that rewards instant gratification, it is important to instill in your kids the differences between wants and needs at a young age, so as to prevent bad spending habits later on in life.

One way put this concept into perspective is by explaining the amount of work required to obtain the money for a specific purchase.  For example, if your child learns that it takes an average of say 30 hours of work to buy a Playstation 4, ask them how willing they would be to work that many hours, on top of the amount of time it takes to pay for things like food and shelter.  This can help them to appreciate the amount of extra work necessary for the luxuries they desire.

3. Giving only small amounts of money imparts big lessons on savings

Building upon the last point, if a child is adamant about wanting something, giving it to them straight away might not be the best decision.

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By setting a weekly allowance, parents can teach big lessons about the importance of savings.  If your child wants a new item, they will have to save up to be able to afford it, which means limiting other purchases.  This will prevent your child from developing the bad financial habit of impulse spending.

Whether or not you require your child to complete chores to receive the allowance is up to you.

4. Kids don’t recognize the actual value of money

With the advent of the digital age, the value of money is becoming less and less recognizable for kids.  With the increased use of credit and debit cards, rare is the case anymore when money is actually changing hands during a purchase.  Without the tangible exchange of paper money, it can often be difficult for kids to realize the significance of the spending that is occurring.

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A recent survey by T. Rowe Price on brandable domain names reports that while 60% of kids say they participate in online shopping, almost 75% rarely, if ever, go to a bank.  This disconnect between the purchases our children are making, and the actual financial institutions that facilitate them is troubling, to say the least.

By making your kids give you real paper money in exchange for the use of your credit card for an online purchase, you can help them to realize the value of the money they are spending.

5. Giving your kids too much money can build the wrong sort of expectations

Giving your kids too much money may be setting them up for failure from the start.  Kids who have constant access to money will quickly become accustomed to a certain sort of lifestyle, and they may continue to expect it as they grow older without ever learning the action necessary to maintain their desired standard of living.

What happens when they are released into adulthood and no longer have an endless supply of money to support them?  Certainly the results are not pretty.  The best strategy is to limit the amount of money your kids have from the start.  This will prevent attitudes of entitlement from ever developing, and limit the false expectation that the gravy train will keep on rolling forever.  Your kids will learn that there is no free ride in the real world, and instill in them a work ethic that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Featured photo credit: Spc. Bobby Allen via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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