What To Do If Your Child Loves Shopping In Just 3 Methods
Sometimes we as mothers get angry, upset, and shout a lot because our children cannot control their desires for buying things, especially girls. For me, when I take my children to a mall, let alone a toy store, although at first we only intend to buy a gift for schoolmates or for our neighbor’s birthday, in the end, they are busy shopping too.
I have 3 daughters who have completely different characters. My eldest is efficient and would rather buy, for example, a school bag of good quality (though admittedly more expensive) but which can be long-lasting. My middle child would prefer to buy a school bag that is not too expensive, the quality fair, but she likes to buy and change the style every year. My youngest daughter has yet to be taught to control her desire, especially when she sees cooking toys.
At what age should our children be trained about money? According to Neale Godfrey author of Money Does Not Grow On Trees, children can be taught a healthy attitude about money from 3-years of age.
So, how do we educate children to spend money more wisely? Here is what to do based on my own experience:
1. Do not lie
When our children ask to buy something, do not lie to them by saying ‘I don’t have any money,’ whereas our children know that we do have some money. We don’t want to teach them to lie. Just say ‘My budget is not for buying that’ or ‘It’s okay, but use your own savings if you really like that.’
2. Distinguish between ‘want’ and ‘need’ and save money for buying the desired item
For older children, we can encourage them to consider wisely if the item that they have sought is really needed. For example, when they see their friends have advanced smart phones, our children do not necessarily have to buy advanced mobile phones too when in actuality they only need basic mobile functions like calling and text messaging, and primarily when there is an urgent matter. Although they really want to purchase it, have them pause and try to educate them about saving money first and shopping for what they want using their savings. Or, if we want, we can decide how much the parent’s budget is, and if the price is more than our budget, have the children cover the rest of the cost using their own savings. Generally, they will think twice about it since they are unwilling to take from their own savings.
Finally, I tried to persuade her to set aside 5 Saudi Riyal (US$ 1.3) per day (as her reward if she behaves) and buy the toy she proposed when she has enough money. It turns out that this way has been successful enough, at least until today. We also have to realize that our kids’ desires can change and saving money will help them to control their ‘wants.’ Like my youngest daughter, at first she said she planned to buy a Pony set that she saw months ago, but after a few weeks, her dream to buy a Pony set changed and she wanted to buy a scooter like our next-door neighbor with 3 wheels that can go fast. When I took her to find a scooter, however, she changed her mind when she saw a pretty Barbie doll set with a mini baby bath and she decided to buy the Barbie rather than a scooter. On the next day, she said she wanted to buy another Barbie doll with a popcorn machine set. I tried to control myself and told her that her savings had not accumulated enough and that she had to save and wait until her money was sufficient.
3. Train the children to manage their own finances
Giving pocket money per week for grown up children is beneficial in training them about being more responsible with their own money. If they still have a small amount of money at the end of the week, they can put the rest of their money away for savings.
According to Teri Cettina, in Raise A Money-Smart Kid, the financial proportions are:
- 60 percent of their money goes into a savings pocket
- 30 percent goes into a “quick cash” (spend freely) pocket
- 10 percent goes into a “giving to charity” pocket (here we can include the 2.5% minimum of zakat)
If our children can control their unnecessary shopping, they are able to set aside some money and able to spend shodaqoh / zakat (charity) continually. In such instances, then in shaa Allah we have trained them to not live excessively and to be wise in managing their finances in the future.