I have vivid memories of my parents' poverty and frugality during the early years of their marriage. (They were poor and frugal for a lot of years.) My husband and I got to a comfortable place financially much sooner in our marriage than my parents did in theirs. (In fact, I'm not sure they were ever comfortable, regardless of how much money they made.) I still have a reasonably frugal mindset. Not that I don't spend more than I think I ought to. But when I spend what I consider a large amount of money (>$50), I feel guilty, I second-guess myself, I assume there's frivolity there I can't really afford (even though I can, and even when there isn't). I think it goes back to me absorbing my parents' insecurity. My children have no sense of financial insecurity. Which one might think is a good thing, but I worry that they don't understand the value of money. I also worry that they're growing accustomed to a lifestyle they won't be able to afford when they're on their own. When I left home, I understood about living on the cheap. I don't think my children understand that at all.
I was going to comment back, but realized I should just make a longer post out of it because I have MUCH to say about this.
I know I've talked before about worrying about Sammy and his money attitudes, but it's becoming a bigger concern. Not really because of anything Sammy has done (or not done) but because he's getting older and his money concepts are solidifying.
We are doing better, financially, than either of our parents did while we were growing up. Period. And both of our parents had seven kids to our one. So there are some marked differences, here. I've discussed before, our overall philosophy with money and Sammy, though I'm noticing the minor details change from time to time. However, for now, he gets an allowance once a month. I'm debating whether to break it up to twice a month, but that's about as far as I usually get. I haven't debated the pros or cons, but I probably should. I also took the advice of some friends and let him pick up some of my chores for cash (he doesn't get paid for his chores...). I HATE sorting laundry. A week's worth pile is always unwelcome, but he'll do it happily for a fee. All of this together, he has a happy six year old bankroll going.
The deal we have is that he pays for any wants. I buy his clothes and books (because I will always buy him books and clothes), but anything else is on him to buy. It works lovely. Before, he would spend as soon as any money crossed his palm. Now he's getting a little more judicious. Just a couple of weeks ago, his wallet flush from the holidays, we took a trip south and he exited Target with nothing purchased. I was so proud. It seemed there was nothing he really loved and decided to keep saving. It was a happy little mama moment for sure. Since, he's chosen to buy two itunes apps, after playing with the free versions to make sure he liked them. It's times like this that I sit back and think - ok. We're doing ok. He's being wise with his money and he'll be ok. But then...
We go to a store. Usually the grocery store and I toss something I know he'll like into the basket, just because. He has taken to announcing, very loudly, that he "doesn't want me to waste all of our money on him!" very dramatically. We aren't struggling. I don't know that he's EVER heard the words "we can't afford that" because we try to talk about worth and value instead of in terms of "affording". But somehow he's decided that those two dollars I use for fish sticks (or whatever) are going to bankrupt us. So we talk and discuss and I think it's fine. Until his next outburst of despair. I'm guessing it's some sort of phase (please let it be a phase!), but man. His concern over cash is so weird.
Isaac and I are still frugal at heart. We want nothing more than to raise Sammy with a healthy respect for money and how to earn it. I am sometimes at a loss on how to maneuver it all, though. I know he has a lot of opportunities. I know he'll have more as he grows. He'll start out in his adult life with better footing than we had and while that is all a given, we still want to make sure he's grounded and grateful in the process. We are adamant that we don't withhold, just for the sake of withholding; neither of us feel that's fair. And I know we are helping with a great deal of grounded gratefulness by our money system. He certainly hears the word 'no' often and is not given into with his every whim. He works and works hard. But I'm always searching for ways to do more. And I'm nearly certain that with the coming (s.l.o.w.l.y.c.o.m.i.n.g) summer, we may lose the little momentum we have going. We do have a deal going that whatever toys he doesn't play with are getting sold on our towns classified, giving him the cash from each sale. But beyond that, I feel we'll need to change some things, again, soon. He's growing up so fast. Too fast. And I can't figure out everything I'm supposed to do quickly enough, it seems.
(money's too tight to mention, simply red)