Trial & Error- Tales From the Edge of Parenting – Kids Buy the Darndest Things
My mom was a stickler about money. The way she handled our family finances on an Air Force Sergeant's salary was commendable. It's just a shame I didn't pick up any of her ways. Regardless of the responsibility you may take with your budget as a parent, your kids are always there to bleed you dry.
I've made plenty of frivolous purchases over the years. I bought a ferret once in college because the girl I was with thought it was cute. That smelly ferret spent the next 6 months at my house (the girl did not) before I gave it away, flushing the $500 I'd spent on it down the drain. I can't help it. I love to spend money. The way I look at it, spend it having fun or spend it not having fun (bills). Either way the money is being spent. It's hard to save for retirement, considering radio DJs don't retire. We just get fired one final time before we give up.
Regardless of how much financial planning you do, kids are the wild card. Save all you want, but Junior's gonna need braces. Put extra away for that lake house you've dreamed of living in after retirement, but that band trip to Orlando just wiped you out. It's a never-ending money suck, thanks to those precious little ones.
The new trend in begging for money in my house is asking for gift cards so apps can be purchased on my older son's Kindle Fire. We totaled it up the other day as he was whining about "never getting anything" and being neglected. Over $200 since Christmas spent on that Kindle Fire. His argument died immediately, and he hasn't brought it up since. It appears I'm the lucky one.
Kids have apparently going hog-wild on their parents' devices. From iPhones to iPads to any smart phone on the market, there are ways to go through money REAL quickly. Apple has just been ordered to pay $100 million in a class-action lawsuit brought against the tech behemoth for purchases made within apps by children without the parents' permission. You can get up to $5 on an iTunes gift card if the total purchase(s) total below $30. If, you're like some fast-fingered children, that total reached in the thousands of dollars. Be careful out there. This problem first came to light in 2010.
Imagine having to wait three years for a refund on the $1,400 spent in a Smurfs app that your otherwise innocent daughter purchased. That's the hell these parents are going through. My 5-year old son, Logan, may not know how to read a whole lot just yet, but he knows F-R-E-E means he can get an app. What have you done to curtail spending on your devices? Have you had a "situation" arise after a child inadvertently purchased something in an app?
It should be noted that we've had only one incident of money being spent inappropriately in online gaming, and I'm the guilty party. I don't know why I thought I could just slip through $50 in purchases made over the course of 4-5 days, but I wasn't thinking clearly after so many days on Facebook's Oregon Trail. My family needed food if we wanted to make it through to Oregon territory. I'd do anything for my family, even if it's my fake family from the 1800s.