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Another small victory

blessedwithstress's picture

Back in the day when DH and I first got married, he was paying BM in cash for everything. The bookkeeper in me put a stop to that and everything has been done with checks ever since for tracking purposes. Another thing I put a stop to? Handing over a wad of cash for school clothes every season. Instead of BM demanding a certain dollar amount, we started taking the kids shopping ourselves so that we could have more control over how our money was spent – plus it was nice to be able to help the kids pick stuff out and know what came from us.

Fast forward 10 years and we are still doing our own shopping. Now it involves the kids giving us a wishlist from a specific store (mainly Old Navy because we have a store card and can use coupons to make the money stretch). So this year the skids gave us their wishlist and most of it was pretty normal; however, there were a few expensive things on it that were very clearly not necessities. Like a $50 jean jacket for SS who just got a rather expensive bomber jacket from us last year (that still fits) and a $25 pair of suede black flats for SD when I know that girl already has more shoes that The Shoe Dept.

So before hitting ‘Submit Order’, I headed out to the garage for a quick pow-wow with DH. I said, listen, new jeans I can understand. Even a couple of long sleeve shirts or a hoodie, but some of this stuff on their list is quite obviously just stuff they want and not stuff they need. I’m not digging it. Not to mention it chaps my ass a bit that these kids get everything brand spanking new every year and I can probably count the number of “new” things that our littles have in their drawers on 10 fingers or less. Can we pare this list down a bit, maybe ask them to only get a few new things and fill in the gaps at resale shops?

Well what do you know – DH actually agreed with me! He even said that some of the stuff on their lists were ridiculous and we can get it cheaper going second-hand. If that’s not wonderful enough, he even volunteered to lead the conversation with the skids that evening to lay down the law and he TOTALLY followed through and supported me. I think he may be starting to realize that I’m not just being a b*tch about watching what we spend on the skids. There’s actually logic behind it.

So I’m counting this as a small win for me – and us as a couple. We’ve been having so many uncomfortable conversations about money lately. It was nice to have one go in a positive direction for a change.


ESMOD's picture

This is actually a great opportunity for your DH to discuss these lists with his kids.  Obviously kids are going to "want" stuff.  There are a few ways that this can be handled.

One way, if the kids are old enough, is to give them a budget... how they spend it?  their business.. but there will be no more from mom or dad if they choose poorly. 

Alternately, you can tell them that you are going to be providing them "basics".. maybe one pair of new sneakers.. two long sleeve shirts.. one pair pants.. one skirt.. pack of underwear etc... 

They want more than the basics.. they need to work... or use money they get for christmas/birthdays/chores to purchase the things they want.  If it's a fancy jacket.. then perhaps they need to pay the difference between what you were willing to spend and the upgrade. 

I will say that when my OSD was a teen and "had" to have a black north face jacket.. she all of a sudden couldn't bring herself to spend her own money on it when we went to the store.. lol.

Cover1W's picture

I agree with this!

When I was a teen and started wanting things I didn't 'need' my parents would allow me ONE thing during school shopping I wanted (within a reasonable price).  Anything else I had to put in more $ for or do extra chores to earn.



blessedwithstress's picture

The skids were seemed to understand and didn't complain. I don't think they meant to go overboard...they just got carried away and forgot to keep their priorities in check. SD17 understands the value of a good deal but also loves to buy new stuff (like every other teenage girl spending someone else's money). They're both clothes-hounds and their BM is allergic to laundry so it has bred a lifelong dependency on having a large wardrobe to ensure they actually have clean clothes to wear.  

When I reached 16-17yo, my parents only bought clothes if my old ones wore out and maybe one or two new outfits to start the school year. The rest I bought myself because I had a job and no other expenses beyond gas money and a small car payment. Kids these days just aren't being taught independence the same way we were. There is a huge sense of entitlement. I'm trying very hard to squeeze in lessons on this wherever DH will let me. I'm getting less and less respect as a step-parent as they get older. It's one of those "I'll smile and listen to you and act like I agree but really I'm just waiting for you to stop talking because BM has the final say on everything"

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I'm not a fan of store c.c.s as many of them have high interest rates. 

Have you considered transferring high interest balances to a lower interest card?