“But Mom, I NEED these $150 Lebrons!” “Mom, I need the 21 bundle from Kylie for $195!” “Sour gummy worms!” Sometimes, as parents, we’re torn between our need to do everything we can for our child and their nasty case of the “gimmies”. The gimme’s are when kids just HAVE to have the latest treat or toy that crosses their path. Saying no can be difficult, especially if you want to be the “good guy” or know that a tantrum might follow. BUT learning these 5 ways to just say no is important not only for your sanity, but their future as well.
With these quick tips, you should be well on your way to teaching your kids lifelong financial skills, as well as saving your own wallet!
1. Take a “Gimmiefast”
Almost like treating an addiction, you can attempt to slam the door on their “gimmie” habit cold turkey.
To start off, try taking a family “Gimmiefast” (whether you tell your kids or not is up to you). That means not buying anything your kids try to talk you into. This includes everything from, “Can we stop for fast food?” to, “I need a new Xbox.”
Remember, this isn’t just about the price of the items, but about starting good habits. Just cause it’s a small “gimmie” doesn’t mean it isn’t teaching your kids a bad lesson.
2. Set clear expectations.
Now that you’ve gotten the “gimmies” hopefully under control, tell your kids when a trip to the store is gonna be a “List Stop” or not.
At “List Stops”, you won’t buy anything that isn’t on the list you walked in with. This helps set their expectations BEFORE that action figure catches their eye. It also makes saying “no” much easier. “Can I have it?” “Is it on the list?” It also keeps you on task and on budget.
As your child learns good spending habits, the “List Stop” can be turned into a reward for good behavior. Maybe if they do their chores, the “List Stop” can include a treat at the end!
3. Communicate max price limits on items.
As your kids get older, discuss costs of items and set price limits to teach them the value of money. Set a maximum amount you’d like to spend on an item and tell your child what that is BEFORE you go in to buy it.
Let them pick which item they want as long as it stays inside your limit. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your kids understand this “controlled” freedom and start asking you how much they have to spend on an item before they even go in.
Your efforts train your children how to budget without them realizing it.
4. Teach them what “no” means.
“No” is something we all hate to hear, but we all have to accept from time to time. Telling your child “no” won’t harm them or crush their spirit. It is something they do need to hear. Teaching your child this valuable lesson is crucial to preparing them for the real world. Dealing with disappointment or delayed gratification are critical life lessons to teach your child.
Make sure to stand by your “no”. If your kids learn they can pester you into changing your mind, guess who’s gonna receive lots of pestering when they don’t get what they want?
Take a deep breath. And give it to them straight. Once you master 5 ways to just say no, they’ll get more used to the idea too.
5. Maintain a united front.
Of course, you won’t get far if your partner isn’t behind you. Make sure to discuss these tips with them beforehand to make sure you’re both on the same wavelength. Saying “no” isn’t much use if Dad just gets your kids what they want later.
If you have disagreements on how to proceed, it’s also important to discuss beforehand what compromises you can make. You don’t want to be hashing this out while your child’s throwing a tantrum in the ice cream aisle !
Remember a bad “gimmie” habit isn’t just bad for your wallet, it’s teaching your children bad lessons about how to spend their money.
“No” can be hard at first, but with these tips and a stiff upper lip, your kids will be shopping wisely in no time!
Have a story to share about a “no” victory as a parent? Leave us a comment below. Watch our video to hear how we’ve dealt with this – good and bad – in the past.
Make it happen!
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple