Thursday, October 7, 2010

But I Neeeed It! - PASS week three

“But Moooom, I neeeed this!” Have you ever heard your teenager utter these words after you’ve told them that you won’t buy a certain item for them? How do you teach your children the difference between wants and needs? I continually talk to my kids about wants and needs. When they tell me they need something, I’ll ask them, “Are you sure you need this? Or do you just want it?” Usually, they take a minute to think about it and decide that they don’t in fact, need the new video game, the designer jeans, or the toy.

I have to admit that my kids have a decent understanding of the difference between wants and needs. Maybe it’s because we’ve rarely had extra cash to spend just for fun. When I told my teens that I couldn’t afford to send them to Washington DC with their classmates, sure they were disappointed, but they also understood that our financial situation was not the same as some of their friends. But honestly, even if I had more money than Oprah, I wouldn’t give my kids anything and everything they wanted. That, in my opinion, doesn’t teach them a thing about financial responsibility. How is a child (or even an adult, for that matter) supposed to learn the difference between things they need and things they simply want if everything is always given to them?

Before I got my teens the PASS card from American Express, I bought them what they needed (and occasionally, an inexpensive luxury they wanted like a couple songs on iTunes or a clothing item.) But now, I’m putting an allowance on their reloadable PASS cards and it’s totally up to them what they want to spend their money on. Now that they’re the ones responsible for deciding what to spend money on, they’ve become a lot more frugal about their spending. I see them weighing the pros and cons of each possible choice. The other night, my daughter was considering buying a song for her iPod. It was $1.29, not a purchase that would break the bank. Still, she thought about it and decided she didn’t really need it on her iPod since she could listen to it on YouTube whenever she was on her computer.

So far, I’m very glad I’ve given my teens the responsibility to handle their own money. And I like that PASS is letting me do so safely because I know my teens can only spend as much as we’ve put on the card. They can’t rack up a crazy debt and their money is protected if they lose the card. Plus, we can both easily manage their account online. To learn more about PASS from American Express, go HERE.

I am working with American Express on this project. As always, I'm writing my honest accounts and opinions.


V1nce said...

I wish they had the PASS card when I was a kid. Can you track your kids' purchases with this card? That might be a good thing for parents.

Meg said...

Another way to get that song - get the CD from the library. FREE!!! (unless the CD doesn't get returned on time)