Hands up if you're having a sales spending spree this week? I always find no matter what my good intentions, come The Sales my budget and sense go out of the window. Not only do I force my children to hit the high street at the busiest time of year (cue epic meltdowns) but I also find myself shopping for a whole load of 'necessary' sale items, which I'm convinced we can't live without.
Interestingly my seven year old made two good points while being dragged round The Sales with me last week. She wisely asked, "Why do you need it now if you didn't need it when it was full price?" And followed it up with the annoying "Shouldn't you be delaying gratification Mum?" It got me thinking how, despite what I think, she's pretty clued up about just how much unnecessary shopping goes on in our house.
At VoucherCodes.co.uk, we recently surveyed British kids and families and found that while many of us parents feel we're sheltering their kids from our financial concerns, nearly 90 per cent of kids know what's going on.
Now, unless you've cried at the cash point, had screaming rows about money or set fire to your bills in a fit of hysteria you probably think you've done a good job of sheltering your kids from the less pleasant side of those months where money drains from your bank account faster than you can blink. But not so...
The research shows 16 per cent of kids have seen their parent's bank statement, 13 per cent have picked up negative messages about money from the TV and nine per cent have overheard a phone call about money that gives them cause for concern. So, parents, here's another thing to add to your list of concerns - those astute little people we think we're protecting have a way of absorbing all the messages you don't intend them to.
Now back to my shopping trip - this isn't a post about how The Sales are rubbish, because my wardrobe is testament to the fact there are some great bargains to be had. Nor is it a post suggesting you never speak about money again. It's more of a heads up to suggest it's worth considering the messages you're giving your children next time a splurge threatens.
Personally, I think Britain's oft maligned kids have quite a lot of sense when it comes to family spending. If you don't believe me show them a tin of Quality Street versus a packet of gum and ask which one they'd rather buy with their own money - the groundings for great financial sense are already there. So if you can't leave the kids at home when you hit The Sales make sure you explain to them that you've budgeted to afford the items you're grabbing and listen to their thoughts.
Alternatively, if self-control is too much, just adopt your child's money habits. I might follow my seven year old's example and save everything I get, spend none of my own money and pester someone else to buy things for me. Now where's that husband of mine.