Friday, October 31st, 2008
Discuss: Are your kids recession-resistant?
Here's a pair of dueling news reports:
1. The Associated Press says: Spending on kids is often the hardest expense to cut. It claims that in the declining US economy, parents will curtail their own luxuries before cutting back on their kids' clothes and toys.
2. The New York Times says: As yard sales boom in hard times, sentiment is the first thing to go. The article is about the boom in garage sales as people lose their homes, but the first paragraph focuses on a mother selling her 3-year-old's tricycle for $3 while the child is still riding it.
I doubt young children realize most of the time when Mom and Dad are cutting back on them. Short of not having enough food to eat, kids accept their situation as normal and adapt. But as adults, we don't have the same luxury of being completely okay with our plight.
My own household is in a nebulous middle ground. My wife and I each went from full-time work to part-time so we could spend more time with our kids during their first few years. Our budget has been tight since then.
Don't get me wrong. If a super job came along for one of us, we'd take it, but when our first child was born, going part-time made sense for us.
I've become adept at garage sale scouting and monitoring thrift stores. But I think I was so frugal to begin with that I'd be balking at paying full retail for kids' clothes regardless of my salary. For toys we're doing okay and we're absolutely spoiled when it comes to books.
One thing that has changed is that I look at products I buy for my kids as important social or educational tools. However, if I buy, say, a movie on DVD for myself, I view it as unnecessary extravagance.
I'm curious about you, dear Thinga-readers…
Assuming you're watching your budget more closely these days, have you cut back on spending for your kids or shielded them from it? It's got to be especially hard if you have an under-1-year-old at home because the impulse to buy, buy, buy is strong.
Secondly, will your gift giving be different this holiday season?