Giving Your Family the Gift of Time

Today's guest post is from Lisa Hendey of Productivity at Home.

I've been slightly stumped this week on blogging topics, so in a
moment of enlightenment I turned to a very erudite gentleman and asked
for his suggestion on a "family finance" topic.  His prompt response:

"Spend time with your family, not money."

Brilliant!  If you stop to think about it, much of the money we spend as families does indeed
go to entertainment type expenses.  In search of entertainment, we
eschew family board games in favor of ten dollars tickets to the
multiplex, where we purchase huge and overpriced tubs of food and drink
that are bad for us.   Looking for time together, we dine out at
restaurants with long lines and super sized portions rather than
throwing hot dogs on the grill and inviting the neighbors over for an
evening.  Hoping to create lifelong memories, we max out our credit
cards to cart our children to overcrowded amusement parks and spend
time and money purchasing stuff we hope will remind us of the trip rather than hiking at a local national park or swimming in a nearby lake.

We do these things with the best of intentions - we want to give our
families the best.  But we often do so at the expense of our peace of
mind and despite the knowledge that we are doing harm to our family
finances.  What our children want and need is our time, not another
stuffed animal mouse.  What we as parents crave is a relationship with
our children that will be nurtured into their adult years.  Look at any
close family and ask them the key to their happiness and it is doubtful
that they will tell you, "We stayed in four star hotels every summer
and ate out three nights a week." 

It's not wrong for us to want to give our children the world.  What
is wrong is for us to forget that we are supposed to be the "grown ups"
in the equation - the ones who teach our kids that living within our
means and not being overly reliant upon debt makes sense financially,
emotionally and spiritually.  So next time you are struggling with
balancing the family budget, remember these words of wisdom:

"Spend time with your family, not money."

FamilyMike StPierre