Mother May I Follow Your Advice

2017-05-12   minute read

Leah Drewcock

Lifestyle Debt

​​​​​​ ​​​With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I am reminded of some of life’s lessons my mother taught me about spending and shopping. There are many books, websites and games available to teach your kids about money, but some of the simplest lessons I learned from my mother and have stuck with me. Like many children, I often heard that adage ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’ from my mother, but it was mostly in frustration when I was asking her to buy me something I wanted but didn’t really need!Make a list I learned at an early age the importance of need vs want when it came to spending and shopping. I can remember many trips to the local mall running behind my quick-footed mother who was, as usual, on a mission to buy the items on her list and then quickly get out of the store before my brother and I could get too distracted by all the toys and candy. Having a list was of utmost importance to ensure we didn’t forget what we came for, to keep us on task and ensure we left with our needs met.Buy gently used My mother is a bargain shopper. She loves thrift stores and often finds brand new or very gently used items for sale at significantly reduced prices. To this day I will call my mother and ask her to watch for specific items when she is perusing the shelves of the local second hand stores. My kids have been very lucky to have many quality items in their closets from thrift stores.Spread the cost of gift giving I can remember when I was a kid we weren’t allowed in my mother’s closet because she always had things hidden in there for special occasions. She would buy our birthday and Christmas presents throughout the year when items were on sale so that when the time came it wasn’t a large burden on the budget. We didn’t get the latest trendy toys but we got gifts that were meaningful yet affordable. I’ve learned through my children “fad” gifts tend to get played with and tossed aside quicker than the classics. Barbie and Lego never go out of style, but rarely go on sale, so when they do, I snatch them up!Stock up on the staple items at end of season sales I buy extra school supplies, Christmas wrap and tape at the end of season when everything is on clearance. Inevitably, the kids use up their paper, pencils erasers and glue before the school year is out and I like to have some on hand. These items don’t go out of style or expire and there will always be a need for them, so buying extra when on sale is good planning.If you really want it, save for it My mom calls this ‘burning a hole in your pocket.’ When I was a child I often suffered from this syndrome. If I had coins in my pocket, it seemed they were calling to me to be spent on candy or other small cheap items. I often had buyer’s remorse because I wasted my money on something I didn’t need and then didn’t have money for the bigger items I was saving for.​ My children often ask me ‘mommy can you please buy me that, I’ll pay you back, or I’ll work it off.’ I learned my lesson the hard way that kids are lazy. Once they’ve got the item in hand, they will find every excuse in the book not to do the work to pay off what they owe. So, now they save their money first and they don’t buy until they have the cash in hand. My oldest is 13 years old now and has a bank card. I can transfer money into his when he has earned it and he can use the debit card to pay for his purchases. When we go to the store, I make him leave his wallet at home so his money isn’t ‘burning a hole in his pocket.’ He only brings his wallet now when he has a specific purchase in mind and we have discussed it in advance. This saves a lot of arguments over impulsive buys in the grocery store. If he has money with him, he will spend it all on gum, candy or trading cards and then complain when he doesn’t have enough for the latest video game he wants to purchase. Put some of these tips into practice and your children may find themselves spending smart - and they won’t be alone in saving you money, too! Leah Drewcock is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee and MNP Vice President serving the Prince George area. To learn more about how MNP can help, contact our local office at 250.596.8321.​

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