Some kids have no idea why parents say no to certain expenditures. Mom and Dad just tell them it's not in the budget. What is this budget thing? Why is it preventing kids from getting what they want? How can you make kids understand the concept of a family budget? Try making your bookwork public property. That way, kids can see the lack of funds in writing.
Treat the family budget like a business. Sit down once a month to work on it. Let the kids join you. Have everyone write down the things they would like to purchase or own. Calculate the cost of each item. Look at your budget to see if you have sufficient funds. Of course, in order to do that, you must first put your budget in writing.
Your local office supply store has ledgers especially for budgeting. If they're not in the budget, you can make your own. Sometimes customization is easier. Talk to your kids about the type of expenses you have. Let them suggest categories for your budget sheet. Write down every category you have expenses in. You may want to be very specific so kids can understand. For instance, instead of simply writing down entertainment, write movies or road trip.
Be honest with kids about your income. Put it down in black and white (or red) for them to see. This way, when they ask for something, you can go straight to the chart. Look up the category their request comes under. See if there's money left to spend on their wish. Visualization is your friend. Kids can't argue with the facts. A zero balance means they can't have it, no matter how hard they beg.
Take some pressure off yourself. When kids complain that their "needs" aren't being met, blaming it on the budget is truthful. It also stops them from placing the blame on your shoulders. It's right there on paper. You have 50.00 per month for entertainment. Once those dollars are spent, there's no choice but to say no. After all, you can't pull money out of a hat. You either have it, or you don't.
Sharing budget details with kids helps them as adults. They'll learn that being responsible with money is an investment in their future. By budgeting your money carefully, there will be plenty left to save for college tuition and other beneficial items for kids. Giving them a hand in writing the budget will also help them with their own budget when they have a family of their own.
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