Did You Give Your Inner Child a Credit Card?

No ConsequenceesMany things about being an adult come as a rude awakening:

  • I thought I would never go to the dentist when I grew up.  Now I go twice a year and make my kid go too!
  • I thought I would grow up and be able to eat Cheetos whenever I wanted, every day if possible!  My grown-up self fears the effects of that kind of eating.
  • If I had known our income today I would have thought it would be enough to live like the Drummonds in “Diff’rent Strokes”.  Reality is decidedly non-Park Avenue.

One other “unfair” part of being a grown-up is that while we are fortunate to be able to afford many things, we have to save our own money for them! Seriously disappointing!  Even being debt-free has not made a money tree grow in our backyard.  If we say we want something – be it Starbucks, or taking a special vacation – we have to come clean with ourselves and allocate money towards what we value.

That “coming clean” part of budgeting can be a little mentally painful, because my human nature wants all the pleasure with no pain.   This isn’t a pity party, but I want to capture the thoughts that go through my mind every week on Saturday when we update our weekly budget.   We confront our financial choices twice in our house – once when we enter the purchase into Quicken, and the next time when we close out our budget at the end of the week and see what we spent.  This “reality check” is what keeps our inner child from running away with our bank account.  Pout.

If you find expenses like lattes, drinks after work, eating out, or new clothes are busting your budget – or that you can’t commit to a budget – could it be that the kid part of your personality isn’t on board with the reality of adulthood – a reality where the consequences are all ours to enjoy?






17 thoughts on “Did You Give Your Inner Child a Credit Card?

    1. Jen @ HealthfulSaver Post author

      Yes, so much of life, financial or otherwise, is about whether you want to acknowledge the consequences of what you do. We all just want to get away with something 😉

  1. Jess

    Jen, great post! I have been thinking about my finances and debt a lot lately. And for me getting rid of debt is like cleaning out my financial closet and simplifying my life.
    I think I found the root of my problem, in that my inner child doesn’t agree with my adult self!

    1. Jen @ HealthfulSaver Post author

      Thank you, and with 6 kids you know how to talk to that kid inside you!
      I liken it to when I’m shopping with my daughter, and she wants something, but doesn’t want to spend her own money on it! I have already put her on notice that if she wants to buy cheap junk at the class end of the year roller skate party, she better hit her budget or do some chores. When we as adults operate without a budget it’s as if we are not wanting accept that we are spending our own money on things.

  2. BrokeTwentySomething (@OneMoreBroke)

    As a kid, I remember thinking more about what I WANTED to buy for myself – new toy, new book, candy, etc. Now, as an adult, I have to think about buying things for myself that I ACTUALLY NEED – toilet paper, electricity, rent, etc. I think the same process can be used when thinking about your own spending! Great post!

  3. Mel

    Haha, love this! I feel like I should agree more with the Cheetos approach, but as someone who had a can of soda and a carton of ice cream for dinner the other night… that might not be the case ;o) But I get the underlying statement you’re going for 100%.

  4. Shelley

    Now and then I have to have Cheetos. The salt and the cheese. MMmmmMMM! We are actually on a very strict budget as we don’t have pensions. We rely on investing and you never ever want to touch your principal or it’s back to work we go.

  5. Flo

    I think this is an excellent point, and makes me wonder if the reason so many more people seem to be having issues with spending and credit cards is because they had parents who didn’t let them grow up, even when they went off to college-aka “helicopter parenting”. I always say that growing up poor was a good thing–we didn’t go without, but we also knew that if we got into financial trouble, mom and dad weren’t going to bail us out quite simply because they couldn’t! This post also made me think of a friend who always said that when she grew up, she wanted a purse to match every pair of shoes she had. 🙂

    1. Jen @ HealthfulSaver Post author

      Flo, you make a great point here. I knew my mom took a part time job to pay for my college (which wasn’t a “designer” college). That was a huge leg up on our financial future. Yet we were a 1 car family (had to bus to college) and there were no spring break vacations or anything like that. This background of “enough” but not “everything” is training to give some balance as an adult.

      I am reading a book called “The Opposite of Spoiled” about kids and money. A favorite tidbit to kid: you can have any smartphone you want if you buy it and give me a $360. Deposit on the data for the first year, otherwise a regular phone is available at no charge to you. Kid waited till he was 21 to get a smartphone.

  6. moneypropeller

    Um, now I want cheesies.
    I remember what I could live on as a student… and where on earth did I get all the money to go to starbucks as a teenager?!
    Stupid adult expenses that I didn’t have, even as a student. Shoe protector, carpet cleaner, bear spray… these are all things I can see from where I’m sitting that I didn’t pay for as a university student!

    1. Jen @ HealthfulSaver Post author

      Bear spray?!?!

      In the book I am reading (see comment above) the dad took out his entire monthly salary in 1.00 bills. It was a massive pile of money. He gathered the family and proceeded to show the kids where it all went. In this case, it was a Mormon family and it gave all the kids and esp the boys an idea of what it cost to support a large family… Presumably that was something they would encounter if they married Mormon.

  7. Pingback: Did You Give Your Inner Child a Credit Card? - Personal Wealth Digest

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