I love being a father.  Being a parent is an amazing and challenging life adventure all at the same time.  Financial stuff becomes much trickier when you become a parent.  It’s expensive.  As a parent, one starts thinking of ways to trim expenses, attempting to run your family enterprise like a good business.  Or at least be able to support your family, build wealth, stay out of debt and try to have some fun along the way.  Speaking of fun, let’s talk about toys.  Too many toys!  Have you looked around lately?

I have my own list of “money mistakes”.  I certainly fall prey to the toy trap.  I actually enjoy buying my daughter toys sometimes.  We try to focus on ones that “add value” like Legos, books, etc. that have an educational or developmental component.  But many times, we will just pick up a $5 stuffed animal because it is cute!

The main point I want to make is that this needs to be kept under control.  When we over do the toys, I think it’s not only bad on the budget, but I don’t think the children learn to truly appreciate the value of the things we own.  My grandfather grew up during the depression and I do not think he had more than a single toy as a kid.  But he turned out just fine.  So feel free to sometimes tell your child no when you are at the store and they want something.  Or tie the acquisition of the toy to the child completing their chores.  I will try to do the same thing!

One more thing I’m concerned with.  When kids have too many toys it kind of programs them to be little consumers.  There is this current “unwrapping” craze on the internet for kids.  I think it is getting out of control.  Unwrapping pleasure is best during birthdays and Christmas or other holidays.  Otherwise our kids get on the same hedonic treadmill that most adults are on.  It is healthier for them to be outside, at a park, playing in the backyard, using their own imaginations.

Here are some ways to manage the toy craze:

  1. Tell the kids no sometimes.  Explain that toys cost money and we all have to live within a budget.

  2. Explain that earning money means time working.

  3. Encourage them to better manage the toys they have.  Keep them organized and taken care of.

  4. Have them spend their own money they have earned through chores on some of the toys.

  5. Limit the “unwrapping” craze videos on Youtube.

We can do better by our budgets and better by our kids by not giving them everything they “want.”  Plus, What will we say if there is no money to help with college in a few years, “sorry, we spent it on the 2017 toy craze piece of plastic crap of the month, there was nothing left to invest in your future.”

 

As always, these are our opinions and we are not child phycologists, consult a professional if you have specific questions about your children.

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