My wife and I took the kids to Costco today to load up on some of the necessities (namely toilet paper). As it is now fall, Costco has brought out some of their winter wear and my wife was a beautiful peacoat. My wife loves peacoats and has been saying that she would like something new because she's been loosing weight due to her new found passion for running. Like any husband I would love to get her the dress, but we have already bought her two other jackets in the last year plus a Scottevest that we got on sale two weeks ago.
We can't afford it. We haven't a need nor do we have any money in the budget for it.
My wife tries on a few and then sadly places the item back.
That's when my oldest daughter asks why.
I don't even think about it and say, "We don't have the money to buy it."
Instantly, my wife get's angry. Later on we talk about it briefly in the car and she tells me that I should have told our daughter about it in a different way.
"Should I have said, 'We can't afford it'?"
"No, you should say it in a way so she won't misunderstand and get picked on."
I let the subject drop because I'm frustrated. As far as I'm concerned, I told my daughter exactly why we couldn't buy the coat in a way that shouldn't make anyone feel offended. I think it's one of the most important financial lessons an adult (or any one else for that matter) should know. You don't buy things if you can't afford them. If I had learned this lesson earlier or taken it to heart years ago, I'd be in a different financial situation. I don't want my daughters to go down that path an I certainly don't want them to think that they are less because they can't get everything they want.
It's ok to know our limits.
But didn't I just say that I'm guilty of this as well?
I've decided to place myself on a spending diet. I've already paid most of my bills for this month. I'm going to set aside $200 for gas and other expenses and place that in a my new Golden1 checking account and see how things go from there. I'm hoping that it helps me realize that the money my family needs to survive is different then the money I use for wantsies.