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May 14, 2015

You're the Reason Your Kids are So Expensive

When I was growing up, an American Girl doll was out of the question. 

I was 19 before I ever went to Disney World. 

I didn't get a new car for my sixteenth birthday. 

Why? 
Because these were not necessities. 

These were luxuries. These were extras. 

These things (or the lack thereof) had nothing to do with whether or not I had good parents who truly cared about me.
I understood that I was cared for and I felt that I was deeply loved. 
There was never a time when I felt deprived...or left wanting for anything.

You're the Reason Your Kids are So Expensive
Kids are So Expensive

Friends, your children do not NEED to attend "pre-school" from the time they are 12-weeks old.

They do not NEED coordinating smocked Easter outfits from your favorite boutique.

They do not NEED monogrammed Christmas stockings from Pottery Barn.

They do not NEED to be signed up for horseback riding lessons...and ballet...and swimming...and lacrosse...and private art lessons...all at the same time.

They do not NEED annual trips to Disney World. 

They do not NEED unlimited data plans...when they're seven years old.

They do not NEED a brand new car when they're sixteen...and then again when they go off to college at eighteen. 

They do not NEED you to fund the kind of lifestyle that many college students expect their parents to afford them. 

Is there anything wrong with these things?
Absolutely not! 

But we are raising children who feel that they deserve these things...they feel that they are entitled to all of these things, and it is completely our fault. 

As parents, we have fallen prey to the lie that it is in providing these kinds of luxurious extras that we are showing our children that we love them...that we care about them...that we will always be there for them.


No wonder people feel that having children is overwhelmingly expensive! 
The average American family simply can not keep up with this kind of lifestyle...without going in to debt to make it happen. Since when did the American Dream include mounds of debt? It doesn't.

Reality Check: There are some people who have the disposable income to afford such luxuries...yes, I continue to use the word luxuries...not needs...and then there are some people who simply don't. 
Life has always been this way. So if you don't have the means to afford the extras, quit trying to keep up with those who can. You are not doing your family any favors.

It is my goal for my children to go on to careers that will provide large incomes for them? No. In my eyes, this would not be the definition of success. Am I against such a thing? Definitely not. I believe that God works with individuals to personally work out His plan for each life. For some, this may mean monetary wealth. For others, it may mean living with very little in the eyes of the world. My heart longs for my children to be successful in ways that have nothing to do with money. I want them to know God...to love Him...to follow after all that He has called them to do - whether it brings a large paycheck or not. If they become doctors, I pray that they will not only minister to the physical needs of their patients, but also their souls. If they become teachers, my hope is that they will not only teach intellectual knowledge, but also inspire hearts. If they become lawyers, my desire is that they will seek to "do unto the least of these" - allowing God to be the ultimate judge of all things.

Thanks to my parents' willingness to be resourceful and thoughtful about their priorities, we had everything we needed...and a whole lot more (all on a minister's salary!).

We ate name-brand food...because my mom was willing to use coupons. 

We wore name-brand clothes...because my mom knew how to successfully find quality bargains.

How I Dress My Kids for Free

We took family vacations...because my mom planned ahead and budgeted carefully. 

We attended private Christian school...because my parents were passionate about faith-based education and were willing to make the sacrifices necessary in order to make that happen. 

Were we wealthy? Not by most Americans' standards...Remember, I said on a minister's salary...but our needs (and more) were consistently met thanks to Godly parents...who made wise choices (that did not involve a credit card...or loans)...and who were willing to make the necessary effort to be good stewards.

Wisely managing the finances of a household takes careful consideration - no matter how much money you have...or don't have.
In order to be a good steward, wisdom, resourcefulness, and effort is required.

Stockpiling Before Baby

What does this living with financial wisdom look like for your family?

"If you want to have what few have, do what few do."
- Craig Groeschel

Your specific family goals may differ from ours, 
but let me tell you how the finances work in our house:

We have chosen to live well below our means so that we are able to maintain a debt-free lifestyle...and so that we are able to save - save for those emergencies that can make life so stressful...save for those future expenses that most Americans easily acquire through loans...save for our kids' college educations...save for our retirement.

As we live below our means, yes, I'm couponing...I'm bargain-shopping...We're planning ahead...We're budgeting carefully

Why?

and
Because my wise mama taught me through her actions that it's not about how much money you have...

Forget the Joneses.
Unfortunately, they're getting ready to file for bankruptcy.