Over the Easter break my two youngest boys are visiting their elder brother in Western Australia. They both flew out last night and have arrived safely.
Their flights were booked several weeks ago at a time when my youngest son had just commenced his apprenticeship and would have had to return to work next Wednesday, while my middle son could stay until the following Sunday. Since then my youngest son quit his apprenticeship and therefore could have stayed longer on his holiday, except that it would have cost around $100 extra to change his flight so, being on a tight budget, we decided against changing it.
However, on Friday morning I awoke to the news that the airline he was booked to come home on had been issued a notice by Aviation Australia with regard to a series of serious safety and maintenance breaches. I deliberated with myself for several hours. I looked up flights with other airlines, airlines that had better safety records. It would cost around $200 to get him on another flight home.
In the end I booked his return flight on another airline, the cheapest I could find gave him another 5 days with his brother. Despite being a bit of a drain on our finances, there was no way I could have faced myself if I had ignored the warnings and anything had happened to him on the original airline.
The whole process got me thinking. What is the price we are willing to pay for our children? I’m not talking about heroics and laying our lives on the line because I’m sure that 99% of parents would do just that if they had to. I’m talking about the cost of living. How much do you allow yourself to spend on your children? Does the amount have any relation to your budget? Do you spend more on yourself or your children? Do you sacrifice buying things for yourself so you can spend more on your children?
I know that over the years I’ve had to work with fairly strict budgets and have often had to say “no” when it came to buying things my boys wanted. By the way, I’ve read numerous books on prosperity, most of which tell me not to tell my children I can’t afford something, as that promotes negativity. However, I’ve never quite worked out what it is I should be saying. Apparently its better to say “I’m broke” rather than “I’m poor” but just how you rephrase “we can’t afford it” without holding out hope that you might be able to afford it next week, is something I haven’t quite grasped.
There are a few things that I don’t compromise on when it comes to spending. I’ve always tried to buy good quality sports shoes for my boys. I believe it’s important to keep their feet healthy and looked after. So their running shoes and footy boots have always been the best quality and make I can afford. It’s the same with my shoes. I’d rather spend a bit more and get good quality leather shoes that will last me 1-2 years of continuous wear, rather than spend less and get shoes that hardly last six months. Another thing that I’m willing to pay a bit more on is food. I’d rather spend more on healthy, nutritious food than I would on junk. So we eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, grain or wholemeal bread, whole grain cereals and low fat milk. We don’t often have takeaway food as I’ve found it’s far less expensive to cook at home.
Where do you draw the line on spending for your children?