I keep reading about people who got into trouble through absolutely no fault of their own. How the big bad businesses are out to get them. People blaming everybody but themselves even though they are the only ones to be blamed. Those stories are blood curling and show how Martin Lewis’ financial education curriculum couldn’t come soon enough.
A mother borrows £1700 in the form of payday loans while in receipt of benefits. She spends it on “memorable” Christmas for her children. She cannot afford to repay it. Bad Wonga for giving her the money she applied for.
Parents complaining about sweets being placed next to the tills. What an underhand marketing ploy – tapping into children’s pester power and turning them against us. Of course, parents have no other choice than to buy the sweets.
A father decides to spend £450 on a photo of XBox One for his four-year-old son. Receives a photo of said console. Is outraged to receive goods as described – he thought he would get the real thing.
Ultimately, you have the choice. You can weigh the consequences and choose what is best for you. You do not have to have a six-foot Christmas tree standing atop a mountain of luxury presents. If you couldn’t afford to save for Christmas over the past twelve months, chances are you will not be able to repay twice as much within a month.
The supermarket temptations did not appear overnight. You can explain to your children before you go to the shop that they can add so many treats to the basket and no more. Or no treats at all this week – look, I am not buying treats for myself either. I know it’s hard but sometimes needs must. How about we spend an extra half an hour in the park instead? Explain your situation and show your understanding instead of snapping “no” with your hand raised ready to slap the poor thing while it dissolves into puddles of tears.
Sometimes, it’s also worth thinking whether it might be us creating the artificial need for more and more things. Faster, newer and ever shinier. I must have the new iPhone. I simply had to buy this dress. I bet you that the four-year-old in question will hate XBox for taking daddy’s attention away. Again, it’s not the console, dear boy, it’s the person making choices about buying and playing it. Think Cats in the Cradle and do not make the same mistakes.
Lead by example and stop blaming businesses for your inability to rein in your and your children’s wants. Teach your kids to read the small print and think just that wee bit ahead. Nobody can afford everything all of the time.