Balance Needs VS Wants
There is a ton of pier pressure around back to school clothing and supplies. Make a list of their “needs” and agree that the children will get one or two of their “wants” met and then allocate a set dollar amount that they are free to spend.
Set Budget in Advance of Shopping
Before you venture into any store with the wondering eyes of your children set a non-negotiable budget. This is not just for their purposes but it is to keep Mom and Dad from caving into those pleading eyes.
Make a detailed list before you hit the stores
We know we should not go grocery shopping when we are hungry and the same rule applies when taking the kids for “back to school” shopping. Way too many temptations for even the strong willed.
Set Budget for extracurricular activities before you sign up
After school activities are an important part of a child’s development and while we want them to be involved, we need to balance activities with our ability to pay. Set a budget per child that covers lessons, equipment etc and then engage in a conversation with them and the other parent about allocation of resources before you sign them up. Kids will also take more ownership of their schedule this way as well.
Empower kids financially
We give children an allowance for “extra” things but consider providing them enough money so that they can learn to budget for the things they need as well. One of the big stresses in divorced families is the loss/damage of things that go back and forth. If starting around age 11, your child is responsible for their clothing budget then they will take ownership and amazingly - things all of a sudden do not seem to go missing.