We have food at home
We all know the line, “We have food at home!” The line every parent has to repeat at least 27 times while out and about with kids. Our kids were no different, when all they wanted was McDonalds and Pizza we had to remind them that there was always food at home. That was never the answer they liked. (Except for our one kid, he only ever wanted peanut butter sandwiches.) But it made saying yes every once in a while to eating out very rewarding.
We had many conversations with our kids explaining to them how restaurant prices were much higher than putting meals together at home. I can’t tell you how many times we explained that pop in a restaurant cost 5 times more than if you bought a flat of pop! Plus there were 5 of them!
No absent-minded spending
It was/is important to my wife and I to be honest with our kids about prices. To not leave them in the dark about how much essentials and treats cost. We wanted them to understand why we say no and why our priorities were the way they were. When our kids had money of their own and vehicles to take them to all the many places filled with takeout food and drinks they already had the desire to save more than spend, instilled in them. Of course they still ate/eat out with friends and buy Starbucks, but they do not do so absentmindedly. Thoughts of priorities and goals fill their mind whether they want them or not. Mwah ha ha ha haaaaa.
Budgets = financial freedom
Since their mobility and independence has only grown, we have strongly encouraged keeping to a budget. Reminding them that a budget isn’t just financial restriction, but financial freedom. When you know how much money you have available to spend on wants, you are free to do with those funds as you wish!
Everyone’s priorities, lifestyles and finances are different. So maybe restaurants are not worth cutting back on for you and your family. Something to consider though: What do your children see when they view your spending habits? How might they interpret income vs spending based on your actions and communications with them? If necessary, make changes to your spending habits, if not for the sake of your finances, but for your kids’ understanding of priorities and self control.
Conversations on wants vs needs were nearly constant in our household when our kids were younger. Just trying to teach them to ask themselves that question every time they want to make a purchase, or when they watched my wife and I shop: “Is this a want or a need?”
Did your parents always remind you “There’s food at home!”? Do you repeat the same line to your kids? We would love to hear your stories! Message me on social media or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.