I read a great blog this morning by Man vs. Debt, and I have to say I am inspired. If you haven’t read it yet, you definitely need to! So many of us run into a wall of frustration, and too often we deal with it in ways that make it worse rather than better.
This is especially true for me with money. All too often, I find myself between a rock and a hard place. Say I had to make a car repair this month and it used up money I didn’t have to spend. That means something else gets cut.
I would try to make the least painful cut possible and then within hours or a day, something else happens. My daughter comes to me and needs basketball shoes $50, or I have to pay a school athletic fee for her to play $50, or its time to pay for school lunches again at $30. Then my son wants to know if he can have this new video game he saw on tv for $30. There is an endless sea of expenses that crop up, some are necessary (shoes, lunches, etc.) and some are not (games), but it hits like a sledge hammer every time.
I don’t like to tell them “No” because they are only children for a short time, and I want them to enjoy the experience. At the same time, I am torn between what I know I can and can’t afford, and the realization that I need to teach them some wisdom when it comes to spending money. Sometimes that has to mean saying “No”, but sometimes it can also mean having them help me with the choices of what to say “No” too.
For example, my daughter wanted to go see the movie “2012” this past weekend and had already made plans to see “New Moon” this Saturday. As soon as she brought up the “2012” movie I was instantly ticked. I slipped into the “hulk mode” immediately (as mentioned in Man vs. Debt’s blog), and I felt pressured because I knew there was no way the money would stretch for her to see both movies.
Feeling the pulsing anger about being put into a position of having to say “No”, I did what Man vs. Debt suggested. I shrugged off the “hulk mode” (before it got the better of me) and slipped into a “lets think about the alternatives” mode. I told her outright, you can’t do both because the money isn’t there. So you choose, which one is it going to be? Considering how badly she wanted to see “New Moon”, there wasn’t much of a contest, “2012” lost and went down in flames. But at least she decided what to say “No” to for herself; and I learned that the “hulk mode” is better to remain in hiding!