Keeping up with the Joneses has never been easier!
…but at what cost?
I’ve been struggling holding off buying my kids a DS. My daughter is 7 and my son is 5. All their friends have one. I have a momentary flask back, “But Mum, I plead, all my friends have jeans”. (I was in Grade 6 and still wearing polyester pants). That was 1978. Oh how far we’ve come. Hmmm. Really. Today’s pleas would be “But Mum, all my friends have a DS, computer, ipod, cell phone, (fill in the blank).”
But alas, there’s something we have today that we didn’t have in 1978. Endless sources of credit. If the bank says no, don’t worry, there’s Finance Companies. If they refuse you, no problem, just about any store can give you some type of credit from a credit card to a no-payment no-interest deal. You can give your kids everything you never had. But at what cost?
Well, first there is the interest cost. The more difficult it is for you to get credit, the more interest you will pay. Then there’s the cost of having to upgrade the DS to the latest model when their friends do so. And let’s not ignore the costs of teaching your kids that they “should” have everything they want. No worries, our credit system will be there by their side as they get older and struggle to maintain their lifestyle on a meager wage and potentially high student loan debt.
Maybe its time to stop keeping up with the Joneses and evaluate our own family values. Me?! I’ve decided the hand-me-down Gameboys can last a bit longer and told my kids they can get a DS when they save up enough money. By then, two more versions will have come out and we should get a pretty sweet deal on Kijij, or, better yet, a hand-me-down from a more progressive friend.
And who knows, they just might learn a valuable financial lesson in the meantime.
Thanks Mum – for teaching me a “valuable lesson”, even though I whined and complained the whole time.
This is a wonderful article, Mary Anne! So often we get caught up trying to live like the Jones and loose sight of teaching our children the true value of money. It is difficult in a time where society values materials more than morals and where instant gratification pervails obtaining what we truly need.
Please keep sharing your insight!!!