By: Kelsa Dickey

Often times when I meet with a couple or individual and we are going over their budget, we are taking a look at what we can take from one area and give to another. Maybe they want to get out of debt so we’re looking for more money to throw towards the debt. Or they want to put more money in savings, and we’re talking about all of the areas we can pull from and throw at their savings.

And when that decision impacts their kids, there are a few things I often hear:

“I don’t want them to go without.”

“All of their friends have it…”

“I don’t want them to suffer for my decisions.”

Here is my response:

There’s nothing more important for a child than to have a parent who is happy, healthy, and stress-free as possible. There’s nothing you can buy them that can ever trump the effect you have on their life.

When I was growing up money was tight in my house. And yet I rarely ever heard the word no. But what I do remember all of the times I could tell my mom was stressed about money.

I have reflected on that a lot as an adult, and I often think I would have given up all of those things as a kid if it meant my mom would have been a little less stressed or a little happier or a little more present. And I don’t want your kids to grow up feeling that way. I don’t want them to think that they somehow contributed to the stress you feel with your money.

So the next time you’re at a store and you think about buying something for your kid when maybe you can’t afford it – be it name brand clothing or the newest iPhone – set it down and give your son or daughter a big hug and kiss instead.

I know it’s hard, but it’s the right thing for you. And you’ll probably be pretty proud of yourself too.

For more lessons about kids and money, check out our Carmen’s Corner series.