Back-to-School Needs vs Wants
Written by Dominique Jarry Shore
Tuesday, August 6th, 2019
Kids learn a lot about money from observing the way their parents handle their finances. Although back-to-school shopping isn't my favourite parental chore, I try to use it as an opportunity to teach my kids about responsible spending and balancing needs versus wants.
Here are some examples of how I do this:
Teaching About Compromise
I recently took my 4-year-old shopping for new running shoes. Though she told me what she really, really wanted was a pair of high heels, I explained they weren't practical (or even allowed) at daycare.
As a compromise, I let her pick whatever model of running shoe she wanted, as they were all within my price range. In this case, she didn't get what she wanted, she got what she needed. But giving her some control over choosing the running shoe was a good compromise for us. Hopefully the high heels are just a phase...
Teaching About Paying More for Better Quality
My son is going into Grade 2 and like many kids, brings a packed lunch every day. By the end of last year, his lunch bag was stinky and falling apart at the seams.
This year, I'm going to invest in a higher quality lunch bag that will hopefully withstand the wear and tear of the school year a little better. I'll take my son shopping with me and talk to him about the value of paying for quality. Sometimes it's worth paying more money for something you won't have to replace midway through the school year.
His backpack could probably last another year, but he really wants a new one. This is an example of a want, but one I'm willing to accommodate. In this case, I'll explain to my son that we'll try to buy a backpack that will last a couple of years and may also cost a little more.
Teaching About Budgeting
My 14-year-old daughter has started making some of her own money through babysitting and dog-sitting in our neighbourhood. She's learning how to budget her money, and back-to-school shopping is another chance for her to practice.
This year I'll ask her to estimate how much money she needs for all her school supplies, then give her the amount and challenge her to see if she can buy everything. This method also means a little less work for me, since I'm effectively outsourcing school supply shopping. Win-win!
My daughter also wants some fancy pens and stationery. Once she's bought everything she needs, we can either use any surplus for the extras she wants, or figure out another way to pay for them. Maybe I'll pay for half, and she can cover the rest with her babysitting money. Either way, she'll be learning to pay for her needs first, which is a really good habit to get into.
Getting My Kids Involved
Getting my kids involved in back-to-school shopping makes it more fun. Before your kids go back to school, consider using that school supply list as an opportunity to teach them some smart personal finance habits.
This article or video (the “Content”), as applicable, is provided by independent third parties that are not affiliated with Tangerine Bank or any of its affiliates. Tangerine Bank and its affiliates neither endorse or approve nor are liable for any third party Content, or investment or financial loss arising from any use of such Content....
The Content is provided for general information and educational purposes only, is not intended to be relied upon as, or provide, personal financial, tax or investment advice and does not take into account the specific objectives, personal, financial, legal or tax situation, or particular circumstances and needs of any specific person. No information contained in the Content constitutes, or should be construed as, a recommendation, offer or solicitation by Tangerine to buy, hold or sell any security, financial product or instrument discussed therein or to follow any particular investment or financial strategy. In making your financial and investment decisions, you will consult with and rely upon your own advisors and will seek your own professional advice regarding the appropriateness of implementing strategies before taking action. Any information, data, opinions, views, advice, recommendations or other content provided by any third party are solely those of such third party and not of Tangerine Bank or its affiliates, and Tangerine Bank and its affiliates accept no liability in respect thereof and do not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of any information in the third party Content. Any information contained in the Content, including information related to interest rates, market conditions, tax rules, and other investment factors, is subject to change without notice, and neither Tangerine Bank nor its affiliates are responsible for updating this information.
Tangerine Investment Funds are managed by Tangerine Investment Management Inc. and are only available by opening an Investment Fund Account with Tangerine Investment Funds Limited. These firms are wholly owned subsidiaries of Tangerine Bank. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.