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<<The main thing I am after is appriciate and value.>>

Hi singlemamawa,

I am also a single mom and so can relate to your struggles. My kids wanted the brands and we couldn't afford them. But I had a plan. ;)

When my older kids were about your kids' ages, we went to the .99 store. I told them if they came with me they could pick one item for free (this was at a time when things were so tight we didn't buy anything extra so one item free was a real treat). They were exposed to bargain hunting. They worked hard at the .99 store, to get the most they could for their dollar, walking up and down the isles, comparing sizes. As they grew older we would go to the thrift stores. If they bought clothing in the regular store, they paid for it. If they bought it in the thrift store, I paid for it. They caught on real fast. ;) My 17 year old son shops for most, if not all of his clothes at thrift stores and gets all the latest styles. He even buys his shoes there (we all do, actually-my 13 yo got a pair of almost brand new Converse for $7.95, a pair he had been wanting me to buy new).

As far as other expenses, I never liked the idea of allowance but instead I like to teach my kids they should work for what they get. I always offered them work for pay if they wanted something. And I never inflated the value of their work (they never got $5 for taking out the trash kind of thing). Sometimes they were willing, sometimes not. But they associated having things with work.

Don't be discouraged. Your kids are young and it takes time for them to learn to appreciate and value things. My kids range in age from 13-23. The 13 year old doesn't quite get it yet, still working with him, but the other 3 do. But it took years. So just hang in there. Teach them mostly by your example and make it something fun to do, to get the most value from their money.

Best wishes!
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