Have you ever been stressed out about money?
Haha. Just kidding. That, of course, is a trick question. We’ve all been stressed about money at various points in our life.
Overall, I feel I’ve been fairly diligent about saving money, investing in government sponsored plans like work pensions and RESPs (Registered Educational Savings Program), paying off debt and not accumulating credit card debt. However, this time in my life happens to be a tricky one as my moolah doesn’t seem to be going as far these days with a lot of “gaping wounds” needing to be filled each month.
In any case, I’m trying to teach my children the art of compound interest and avoiding debt (beyond “good debt” of course such as a mortgage or business investment). They each have a small savings account and, now that one kid is a teenager and the other is very close to being one, I encourage (nay, insist!) using their own money to buy non-essentials like accessories, cool clothing items, movie tickets, etc.
I also have to take a hard look at my spending habits and stop throwing money at restaurant meals, movies (we saw Avengers: Endgame last night!), items for the home and gifts for myself and others. This week and weekend happened to be particularly onerous in terms of spending. Truthfully, sometimes at the end of a busy work day, I’m too tired to make dinner or we simply don’t have enough groceries in the house to make anything reasonable. Still, a quick stir fry with whatever veggies are hanging around or canned veggie soup & grilled cheese once in a while isn’t going to kill anyone!
As such, this morning, I proclaimed next month will be: “No Money May.” My birthday is next week and, as a gift to myself, I’m going to make a concerted effort not to spend funds on anything that isn’t necessary. So, of course I’m still going to buy groceries, pay bills and I have at least two good friends’ birthdays in May. But, I am going to do my best not to go above and beyond the basics.
I think if I instill good savings/interest/no debt values to my kids now, it will serve them in the future. There’s nothing wrong with children using their own money at the mall or to buy “extras.” In fact I think it teaches them to value each dollar and to seriously consider where those small sums of cash in their savings account are going to end up. Occasionally, I pay my kids to do chores around the house to earn extra dough but it’s not consistent – sometimes I pay them, sometimes I expect them to help out for no additional reward and sometimes I’m too tired to negotiate and just do it myself.
Interested in joining me in “No Money May”? Do you have your own yardstick for non-essentials? A household budget? Do you ask your kids to chip in to pay for the items they just want but don’t need? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic.
Happy No Money May!