Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Control The Parental Urge To Splurge

As parents, we want our kids to have the best possible. If there’s a problem, we want to be able to turn to our trusty kit and have a solution to hand. For every ailment, every cut, every scrape, everything we can possibly conceive of - we want to be the mom who already has the solution before the problem even arises.

This is all well and good, and all part of the protective instinct that goes hand-in-hand with parenthood. However, there is a catch, and it’s generally found in your family finances. You might want to have the solution to everything, but that doesn’t mean you have all the available funds to do so. And there is some argument that trying to preempt every bad situation isn’t going to work anyway - you just know the rules of the universe won’t allow that to happen! 

So the first way your expenses can rack up as a parent is with the protective need. The second is somewhat less necessary, but it doesn’t stop the desire. Let’s admit it: baby and toddler clothes are cute. They’re adorable in and of themselves, as perfect little replica-of-adulthood garments, and they’re even cuter when on your child. With babies particularly growing so quickly, there’s a never-ending excuse for a parade of fashionable items and the desire for a new outfit every day. No, it’s not sensible, but when have wonderful things ever been sensible? 

However, there has to be a reality check somewhere along the line. The urge to splurge as a parent comes in these two branches, both understandable, both justifiable - and both incredibly expensive. So how do you rein in the need to spend, ensuring your child gets everything they need - but you don’t bankrupt yourself? 

Rule 1: Don’t Shop Incessantly 

If you allow yourself to shop “as and when”, then you’re giving yourself permission for an endless round of shopping. The fun never stops - and nor does the stress on your wallet. You can end up spending far more than you ever intended, solely because it happens in bits and pieces and is thus harder to keep track of.

It’s far more reliable to allow yourself shopping times of the year. Four times a year is sufficient for health items you just want to have a stock of but don’t often use (like cough medicine), and it also works for clothes. Set aside time four times a year to scour malls, look for discount codes, hit up Baby Time shows and gather together everything you need. By lining these shopping times up with the change in season, you can always guarantee you have the right items for the right time.

Rule 2: Set A Budget For When Rule 1 Doesn’t Work

There are always inevitable upsets with planning ahead, so be ready for them. Give yourself a contingency budget, but only use it if you absolutely have to. This is for items like a new coat if there’s an unseasonable cold snap or healthcare products you couldn’t have foreseen when you did your seasonal shopping trip! 

These two simple rules could make all the difference to how you manage your finances and quell the urge to spend every penny you have. Good luck! 

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