If you have kids, you’ve probably reached the conclusion that they are incredibly expensive.  After all, you have to provide them with food, clothing, and everyday essentials, in addition to the really expensive stuff- like daycare, shelter, and healthcare.

And as they get older, it only gets worse.  Instead of wanting a clown at their birthday party, they start wanting expensive game consoles, designer clothes and shoes, and even a smartphone.  And it doesn’t stop once they get to high school, because then you have to start planning for college and weddings, and even the prospect of grandkids.  Yikes.

4 Reasons Act Like You’re Poor

Geez, kids can consume a lot of your resources.  Fortunately, we all know that there are plenty of ways to keep the growing costs of our reproductive choices in check.  Think about it.  Kids may want fancy clothes, but do they need them?  No.  They may want a pool in the backyard, but is it necessary?  No.  They may even ask for $200 shoes at some point, and that might just be your defining moment.  Why?  Because the really smart parents are the ones who explain to their children that those flashy Jordan’s (Are those still popular?) just aren’t in the budget this month.

And no, I don’t mean that you should tell your kids that you’re broke when you’re really not.  That would be a lie.

Instead, I’m simply suggesting that we should all live a frugal lifestyle in order to save money for the things that are really important.

Want to know more?  Here are 4 reasons it pays to live like you’re poor when you have kids:

You Set Low Expectations

We’ve all seen that crazy show “My Super Sweet Sixteen” on MTV, right?  I would really like to know WTF happened there.  Obviously those kids have huge expectations for their stupid birthday parties, and it’s likely because they’ve been spoiled their whole lives.  Instead of setting the bar so high, consider setting it low.  Real low.  If you set it low enough, your kids will learn to be happy with less.

Your Kids Learn Not to Tie Their Self-Esteem to Material Possessions

When kids don’t always get the expensive toys their friends do, they have to define themselves in other ways.  In other words, their self-worth doesn’t get wrapped up into what they have and don’t have, or trying to compete with their friends.

The benefit of living like you’re poor can also extend into their adult lives as well.  Kids who have grown up without everything handed to them might be more likely to live within their means once they reach adulthood.  At the very least, they won’t know what it’s like to constantly fill their lives with more and more stuff.

You Can Save for More Experiences

This is what life should be about!

This is what life should be about!

My parents took us on an annual vacation when I was growing up, and I still have so many memories from those trips.  I remember playing in the ocean all day with my cousins and my siblings, and the carefree wonder I felt when we arrived.  On the other hand, I don’t have memories of any of the crap they bought me.  Not a single one.

I desperately want my kids to have the kinds of memories I had in childhood.  I want them to feel the sun on their faces as they try something new, and the wind in their hair as they embark on a new adventure.  And that’s what a frugal lifestyle can mean to your children.  It can mean having memories and experiences that will last a lifetime which, in my opinion, is far more valuable than stuff.

You Can Save for the Important Stuff

Still, living a frugal lifestyle means much more than having money to go on trips.  It can also mean having the extra cash to stash away for the important stuff, specifically college.  I can’t tell you how many people I know who shower their kids with expensive gifts yet fail to save anything for their higher education.  Saving something meaningful for your children’s college will mean so much more than those designer shoes or those stupid Beats by Dre headphones.

4 Tools to Live Rich While Acting Poor

Want to live like you’re rich while still acting like you’re poor? Here are 4 tools to help you do just that!

  • Personal Capital – Personal Capital is our all-time favorite money management tool. Wanna know the best part? It’s FREE! Track your net worth, monitor all your investments, search for hidden fees, use the retirement calculator, and track your spending all in one place. Click here to open your FREE Personal Capital Account today!
  • CIT Bank – Tired of earning next to nothing on your savings account? Try opening a high yield savings account with CIT Bank! While many banks are offering 0.01% on your savings, CIT’s current money market rate sits at over 100x more. And since you only need $100 to open an account, it seems like kind of a no-brainer. Follow the link to read our complete review.
  • Use Points and Miles – When it’s time to splurge on those meaningful experiences, be sure you take advantage of points and miles. Over the last 3 years, we’ve made about 30 international and domestic trips all for pennies on the dollar. It’s all been possible using points and miles. And, if you need help planning your points strategy, we’ll help you for free. Learn more about our FREE rewards advice here!

The Bottom Line

The truth is, kids don’t really need a lot.  They need to eat, of course, and they need a roof over their head.  They occasionally need new clothes and stuff for school.  Almost anything above and beyond that is optional.  And more than that, living a frugal lifestyle, or “pretending you’re poor” can mean more savings for the things that are really important.  And if you play your cards right, your kids might actually appreciate it one day.

What are the benefits of living a frugal lifestyle in your eyes?  Do you see anything wrong with pretending that you’re poor?