this would mean that when shopping, as your child reaches for an expensive item
-- say, a pair of pants -- you could point out a less expensive pair of pants
and remind your child that if there is enough money left over, it can be used
to purchase the designer jacket he wants. Eventually, your child will reach for
the less expensive items himself, planning for the items on which he would rather
Of course, this means you actually have to follow
through on your word -- and the reward.
"No budget process
ever works without a reward," says Sander. "And it does work. Already
(my younger son) will look at two candy bars and say, 'This one is $1 and this
one is 69 cents,' and he'll get the cheaper one."
3. De-program before the trip
How will you get your child the name-brand items he wants while
staying under budget? You won't. Sander says that to avoid having
your child fall into a I-can't-possibly-wear-this-if-it-isn't-Nike
meltdown at the store, you need to de-program him from commercials.
teach our kids the 'disvalue' of brands. We point out commercials and say, 'They
are trying to get you to buy that. You can either buy it or think for yourself,'"
Sander also recommends buying your child one
luxury item per year.
my son one fancy pair of shoes a year. When those shoes wear out, he gets the
cheap ones. And he understands that," says Sander.
4. Buy more than books
Your child's school should send you a list of what you need
to purchase. Don't be surprised if it's quite a bit more than you remember buying
in your school days.
"The schools put a lot more of the burden
on the parents," says Sander. "I've seen some pretty long lists -- drinking
cups, all manner of art supplies. We once had '500 sheets of different-colored
construction paper' on a list. And then once they get to high school, computers
become an issue."
Victoria Jacobson, president of The
Foundation for Credit Education, agrees.
"Gone are the
days when school supplies consisted of a three-ring binder, notebook paper and
pencils. The academic and extracurricular demands on students today often involve
such costly items as personal computers, high-tech calculators, PDAs and uniforms,"
She recommends taking inventory of what's in
the house and recycling last year's school supplies before shopping.
your kids might cringe at the idea of 'hand-me-downs,' they may be far more receptive
to the concept of 'recycling' school supplies and clothing as a way to contribute
to the family's financial environment and save money toward other wants and needs,"