The other day, I was in Target getting a few groceries we needed. My 2 year daughter was with me, and every time we passed something cute that caught her eye she said, “I want that, please get it” At first I ignored her request, but then she burst into tears: “Mommy, I want something new. I WANT SOMETHING NEW!” she sobbed loudly.
“Sweetie, today I am only getting a few groceries,” I told her. The water in her eyes began to roll down her cheeks and she seemed very hurt.
Unfortunately, I realized that I had made a habit of getting my children something new every time we went into the store. She had come to expect it. I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that while you are in the store, you should buy any and everything you want, just because you can. I want them to purchase things out of necessity and save the rest of the money they have.
Ironically, the next day I had the opportunity to hear Michelle Singletary, the author of “The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom.” The seminar was inspiring. Michelle poured open her heart about the passion she has for helping people become better stewards of their finances. She also incorporated humor and videos that helped the audience get a better understanding about the importance of managing money frugally.
Mrs. Singletary’s personal stories were some of the most profound for me because I could relate to what she was saying. She mentioned that while she was courting, before marriage, she fell in love with her now husband because he was not only intelligent, but also handy around he house; instead of the man that lavished her with lots of gifts and expensive things. Likewise, when my husband and I met in college, I admired the way he studied, worked hard, and managed his money. I also admired how he was eager to learn new things and was clean and tidy. I wanted to marry a man that was neat, clean, hard working, and knew how to obtain more knowledge when necessary; instead of a man that seemed head-over-heals about me but was messy and not good with his finances.
She also shared her desire to make sure that all 3 of children are able to go to college without having the need to take out student loans. Of course, this subject is close to my hear, as a mother of two children that will be required to go to college. We have started saving early, but now we realize that we should set aside as much as we can and decide if we want to pay most of their education or only some of it. We feel that working is vitally important for college students because it begins to set the foundation for later on in life. We also believe that if a child is bringing something to the table they will work harder and not take it for granted.
As a result of taking the seminar to heart, my husband and I joined the 21-day financial challenge. We are now committed to the principles that Mrs. Singletary outlines, such as mostly paying for things in cash. We have evaluated our spending and it is true; although we shop frugally, we spend more when we swipe our plastic cards, than if we had to physically hand over the cash to someone else. As we embark on this financial challenge I will keep you posted and share more of my notes from the seminar.