It is natural to want to give your children a comfortable home and the material things you are expected to provide. Perhaps, with careful budgeting you have sufficient money to pay the bills and provide the basics. However, you stress because you are unable to spend lots of money on your children. You may feel they are missing out if they donít have everything advertisements suggest they must have. Perhaps you feel you are letting them down by not buying them toys, gadgets and treats. However, could there be advantages for children growing up in a home that is on a budget?
Learning to budget from an early age Children brought up in a home where budgeting is an everyday practice know they canít have everything they desire. They will pick up the attitude that you have to think before you spend and make careful choices.
Developing thrifty habits Children are likely to be aware that water shouldn't be wasted and lights and power points should be turned off when not needed..although, that doesnít mean they will always do it while they are living at home. When they move out of home and are paying the utility bills they will probably remember.
If there are discussions about running costs of electrical items, the car and so on, children are more likely to think of these things once they are paying their own way. Hopefully, they will have a greater appreciation of modern conveniences.
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They may have to live on a limited income at some stage in life Even if a child grows up in a home where there is plenty of money, they may face financially challenging times later in life. If they have no experience of making money stretch and their family can't give them practical advice they may find it very difficult to make ends meet. They may also feel a sense of failure and anxiety because they have no experience of coping on a restricted income.
Encouraging creativity and independence Owning fewer toys and devices may encourage a child to make greater use of their imagination. They may get more joy out of simple activities such as blowing bubbles, water play, building things from scraps of wood and painting. Having to think of ways to have fun on a limited budget may stimulate their creativity and this may continue into adulthood. Perhaps they will do their own home renovations instead of paying an 'expert' to do it. Being more independent and creative builds self confidence.
They will know a bargain when they see it Children who have been brought up to be aware of prices are more likely to spend wisely later in life. They will be in the habit of comparing prices and will know when the sales are on. They are also likely to be aware of what fruit and vegetables are in season and the cheapest places to buy them. Perhaps they will decide they don't need all the latest gadgets or they will wait until the latest model has been out for a while and drops in price.
Instead of always expecting to be able to buy things new, those used to budgeting will be aware of garage sales, op shops, and internet sites such as Gumtree and Freecycle. They are more likely to swap with friends and family.
They are used to living modestly Because they werenít brought up in an affluent lifestyle, they are more likely to be happy living in a basic house. Yes, they may feel pressure to keep up with others but there is more chance they will feel gratitude for what they do have.
If you are bringing up children on a limited income, think of the positive aspects. Also, if the limited income is due to a parent being at home rather than in the workforce, remember you are able to spend more time with your children. You are there for them when they need you and they will have memories of this precious time. This may be the biggest advantage of all.