Google+ Authentic Parenting: Money Matters... But Not Too Much

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Money Matters... But Not Too Much

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Ah Money... another one of those topics that can bring many a parent to a cringe. Because how do you approach the subject with your child? How do you ensure they don’t become spoiled or wasteful?

For our family, something we really want to avoid in our parenting is to overvalue money. Money is such a big thing in Western Society, and tends to become overvalued. Instead of happiness or joy, people seek monetary success. So much general speech is already value or money laden, think only about sayings like : “if the price is right”, “money makes the world go round”... To counter all that artificial value placed on money, we deliberately avoid phrases like: “that was expensive” when our child is being wasteful. Instead, we talk about emotional value of objects or the impact of being wasteful on the environment and the scarcity of things, maybe even the difficulty we had to acquire it (and believe me, here in DRC, everything is difficult to acquire.
But the way your child learns to think about money isn’t only about what you say about it, it’s also how you act about it.

Our living situation largely helps in our vision on monetary issues, as we live really really remotely, money isn’t a big part of our daily lives. We don’t go on buy nothing days, we can go for weeks without spending any cash. We use insurance comparison shopping to save money. We get some supplies once a month and harvest the rest from our garden. Sometimes we get lucky and we can buy a banana alongside the road.

Our daughter also gets the benefit of seeing that there lies labor behind monetary transactions - in a very direct way. Most often, we have our clothes made, so she is aware that clothes don’t just grow in stores, but that it takes our tailor a couple of days to finish, and we first have to pick a fabric etc.

Now that she’s three, she gets to ‘purchase’ and pay for certain things when we happen to be in a store (mostly when we’re away on holiday). She’ll be able to pick out something she likes and then we’ll give her the money to give to the store clerk.

All things put together, I think as a family we try to put little value on money. We don’t live frugally, but we can’t be called wasteful either. I think it’s more important to instill economical values on my child for environmental reasons than for budgetary reasons.

photo credit: Mukumbura via photopin cc


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo
Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit
Code Name: Mama and Hobo
to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Money Matter$ — Jenny at I'm a full-time
    shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
  • A different kind of life... — Mrs Green from Little Green
    shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
  • Show Me The Money! — Arpita of Up, Down &
    shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the
    financial aspect of infertility treatments.
  • Material v Spiritual
    Wealth - Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids
    — Amy at Peace 4
    shares her family's realizations about the differences between material and
    spiritual wealth.
  • If I Had a Money Tree — Sheila at A Gift
    lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
  • Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income
    — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the
    importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the "real cost" of
    working outside of the home.
  • Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial — Christine at
    African Babies Don't Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of
    money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
  • Confessions of a Cheapskate — Adrienne at
    Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present
    pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
  • Money MattersWitch
    hates money; here's why.
  • Money? What Money?! — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she's made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
  • What matters. — Laura at Our Messy Messy
    might worry about spending too much money on the grocery budget, but she will
    not sacrifice quality to save a dollar.
  • Making Ends
    — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares about being a
    working mom and natural parent.
  • Poor People, Wealthy Ways — Sylvia at
    MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an
    example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
  • The Green Stuff — Amyables at Toddler In
    shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget - and her perspective on
    creating and mothering.
  • Jemma's Money — Take a sneak peek at That Mama
    monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
  • 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier
    Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at
    Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life
    (and budget) easier.
  • Belonging in the Countryside — Lack of money led Phoebe at
    Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also hinders her from
    realizing her dream.
  • Total Disclosure and Total
    — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets
    down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget
    under control.
  • Save Money by Using What You Have — Gaby at
    Tmuffin is only good with money because she's lazy, has trouble throwing
    things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit
    her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
  • Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in Budgeting
    MudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a
    recent zoo outing.
  • ABBA said it — Laura from A Pug in the
    ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes
    for her children's financial future.
  • Money vs. TimeMomma Jorje writes about
    cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater
    value: Time.
  • An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at
    MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about
    planning for parenthood.
  • 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at
    I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend
    as little money as possible.
  • Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World
    shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family's lives at the same
  • Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at
    TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her
    family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
  • Money, Sex and Having it All — Patti at Jazzy
    explains how she's willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun,
    she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
  • Money could buy me ... a clone? — With no local family to help
    out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can
    take care of her health.
  • Spending IntentionallyCatholicMommy
    loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to
  • New lessons from an allowance — Lauren at Hobo
    welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their
    four-year-old's learned from having his own spending money.
  • How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — Deb
    Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources
    for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
  • It's Not a Baby Crisis. It's Not Even a Professional Crisis.
    Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has
    some answers.
  • "Making" Money — Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at
    Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little
  • Money On My Mind — Luschka at Diary of a First
    has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it
    impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
  • Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance — Melissa at
    The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family
    have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
  • Accounting for Taste — Cassie at There's a Pickle in
    My Life
    shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most
    important item to budget for.
  • Money Matters... But Not Too Much — Mamapoekie at
    Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting
    too much of a focus onto it.
  • Parenting While Owning a Home Business — In a guest post at
    Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out
    the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
  • Crunchy Living is SO Expensive...Or Is It? — Kelly at
    Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living - and her
    surprise at what she learned.
  • Mo' Money, Mo' Problems — Sarah at Parenting God's
    shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family's
  • The Importance of Food Planning — Amanda at Let's
    Take the Metro
    discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if
    she doesn't always do it.
  • Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers
    Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family's approach and
    experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.



  1. That's a great way to parenting!

    Now, this is not to say we should consider money as very important, but you know I read an article recently (printed on one of our major daily newspaper) that they did a survey asking a number of children and youngsters and they actually found out that these respondents does not know where money comes from. It's like they get used to being given money by their parents and they don't realize the hard work that goes behind making those money.

    Btw thanks for dropping by and commenting on my post. I do agree with you on how ppl could have bad perception on using hand-me-down items, I get weird looks lots of times when I told them the stuff we used are given by other ppl..

  2. I really appreciate the language you've chosen to use for talking about money with your daughter. I've been trying to avoid using emotionally loaded language or falling back into the way my parents talked about finances (or refused to talk about money at all!). It's really interesting to hear your perspective as you live in a remote location and have fewer avenues for purchasing thing as well — must cut down on a lot of the junk buys!

  3. Sounds like you have a wonderful lifestyle. We live semi rural and I agree it's easier to go on no spend weeks, esp if you can grow your own. Thanks for such an inspiring and upbeat post which shows how delayed gratification can be such a wonderful thing!

  4. I love that you all have your clothes made! Kieran and I have talked about that before in reading Little House on the Prairie and other period books - but he's never had anything really made for him (just decorated by me!).

  5. Your life in DRC sounds fascinating and it certainly reminds me not to take that bunch of bananas on my counter for granted.

    We try not to make money very important in our lives, either. But I have to admit that I approach money from a place of privilege: I have never had to choose between transportation and food, for example. We try to teach our children generosity by being generous with them. They each have money jars and they can spend or save or pool their money as they wish. It is, perhaps, an organic approach to money.

  6. Fabulous post, I so agree! And your lifestyle and attitudes towards money sounds fabulous! I will admit it's quite different here, unfortunately. I love the idea of framing waste in an environmental way, and know we could do a lot better at both talking about and enacting this belief. It sounds like your daughter has a great foundation in the concept of money and what it is used for. I think it's great you let her choose and pay for some things, too -- my oldest has really enjoyed doing that, and it's a good way to learn how the system works!

  7. I loved this part: "Instead, we talk about emotional value of objects..." That seems to be a point that many people forget. It sounds like you are teaching your daughter to truly value objects and services!

  8. what a nice gift you are giving your daughter! I grew up constantly hearing my parents discuss and stress over money and things being "too expensive" and money matters stress me out. I make a really conscious effort to not pass on this kind of money stress while still modeling wise budgeting and decision making to my children. My oldestloves paying and then counting his change.

  9. Thank you all for your lovely comments!
    @mudpiemama: I grew up quite the same, everything was 'expensive' and blah, while my parents could well afford it. I ended up wearing my brothers hand me down glasses and I was so embarrassed about that that I have not one picture with glasses on, and I preferred going out, not seeing than wearing them (I got my eyes lasered to solve the shame issue)
    @Dionna: it's so cool to see her pick up a store bought item and have her ask: who made this? Then you tell her: some child in china. Then she frowns: why would the child make clothes?
    @Lauren: you are right, we buy very few items that haven't been thought through. We buy things online twice a year, and spend a couple of days in shops. We tend to not be frugal at those times, but everything we buy has been on a list for quite some time before we do.

  10. @I'm a full time mommy: we always say that daddy goes to work to earn money so we can buy food and clothes and toys, so I think she pretty much gets it. SHe often accompanies my husband when he goes to pick up his salary, so she know he gets paid for his services. Money is much more of a tangible thing here, since there are no credit cards etc.


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