Teach Your Child – Budgeting for Electronics

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 You can walk into any major retail store like Best Buy and be just overwhelmed by the rows and rows of technology that glares back at you. If you’re overwhelmed at a zillion different models just imagine how our kids feel when they walk in the store! But….maybe they don’t feel overwhelmed at all. They probably would love to have several of everything! For adults, that technology glaring at us is a newer concept for us – it wasn’t there when we were children. But our kids, however, that are growing up right now, this technology is all they’ve ever known! They haven’t had to learn anything new per se, it’s been there all along.

For younger kids there are systems like the LeapPad, MobiGo, and even the older Gameboy systems. For the older kids many are moving more digital to ipods although larger in home gaming systems like XBOX360 and Wii are highly popular. For each gaming system there are hundreds of games and accessories  not to mention varying models and features for different versions. How are we supposed to keep up with affording all of this? We can’t! You can literally spend thousands of dollars on electronics for your family, only to have something newer and better come out next year! It amazes me when I know families that say they have no money, but have several gaming systems, always have the newest cell phones and give their kids the best electronic gadgets costing hundreds of dollars per item. Children learn by watching others so if you have to have the newest electronic and have cords coming out of your ears – that’s what your children will want too.

Society is rapidly growing into technology – no one will deny that. But there is a very definitive line between NEED and WANT. I think adults need to determine their line between NEED and WANT otherwise their children can never be taught to determine what they really need. We decided as a family almost 4 years ago to purchase a Wii gaming system with our tax money. That is the only “at home” gaming system we have, or will have for a very long time. But even my 5 year old begs for more. He wants an ipad, he wants an iPod, heck he even wanted a cell phone! When he starts begging I give him “the look”, and he says “I know I know, it’s too expensive”. He has been taught that electronics come with a price and if he wants something he knows he has to save up for it. We live in a very small farming community where technology is quite a bit behind society and my kids still are grasping to have every electronic they see. Although my children are younger we have begun to teach them budgeting – and this includes electronics.

Sit down and talk to your child about the cost of the desired electronics.
 Pull up Amazon or Best Buy in a browser and search for the item your child wants. Talk about it’s features, why they want it, and how much it will cost. Teach them to be a savvy shopper and not just look in one store for the product they want to buy. Show them the price differences in at least 3 or 4 stores! Tell them they can buy that extra app, game, or accessory with their cost savings!

Explore other brands and options.
Browse with your child for other brands and similar products – noting the price. More than likely they want something because a friend has it or they saw a commercial for it. Chances are there are cheaper options than what they desire with the same features!

Come up with a saving plan.
Do NOT purchase the electronic and expect your child to pay your back. I HIGHLY discourage this as it’s much better to teach them to save their money and then purchase something when they have the cash in hand. Decide if they can work for money, save holiday or birthday gift cash, where they will put their savings, and what items they want to purchase.  

Don’t buy a new one if your child breaks it!
Sometimes lessons need to be learned the hard way. There are exceptions of course, but if your child breaks his/her new electronic because they were not taking care of it properly – don’t run out and buy them a new one. They must learn to take care of their things! If of course YOU break it you’d better run as quick as you can to the store and buy them some ice cream to go along with it! 🙂

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