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To not let my kids spend their Christmas money

(187 Posts)
Mintychoc1 Tue 16-Jan-18 07:02:27

I have 2 boys, age 12 and 8. They are pretty active, love football etc, but like many other kids they also like to spend ages on the bloody Xbox.

Now I always innocently believed that once you'd bought a game, that was it - you played the game. But no - there are seemingly infinite ways to spend more money, buying accessories for your character, new players for your team etc, and so the potential for spending is huge. These acquisitions enhance the game experience for about half a day as far as I can see, then the kids want more. It's a bottomless pit.

Both kids asked for some money for Christmas, which I duly gave them (as well as plenty of other stuff). Now we are arguing about spending it. I allowed them to spend a fair bit of it on these Xbox bonuses over Christmas, but now I'm being stricter. I can't bear the thought of them pissing away my hard-earned cash on such transient enjoyment. That money was meant to last them months, not weeks.

They think it's their money and they should be allowed to spend it as they choose. I think they're too young to make that decision, and in retrospect I wish I hadn't given it to them.

To put it in context, these Xbox bonuses cost plenty. One of their friends spent £250 in a week (without his parents' knowledge) on new kit for his character! My kids have nothing like that amount, but it goes to show how easily large sums can be frittered away.

So, AIBU to regulate how and when they spend their own money?

araiwa Tue 16-Jan-18 07:03:35


Their money, they choose how to spend it

Mumsymcmumface Tue 16-Jan-18 07:07:37

Their money , they spend it how they like.

When it’s gone they look at what they got in return and figure out whether it was worth it, hopefully learning a lesson about the value of money and how to keep hold of it along the way.

Ilovecamping Tue 16-Jan-18 07:07:46

You are right and wrong, I can understand you want to monitor your children spending habits, and it is their money. How about a compromise, put some of the money away in case they want to buy other stuff and the rest they can spend as they wish.

DonutCone Tue 16-Jan-18 07:07:55

It's not your money once you gave it as a gift.

Slartybartfast Tue 16-Jan-18 07:07:58

not really, depends what they want to buy, would you prefer they fritter it over months or spend it on one thing?

StuffAndNonsenseYes Tue 16-Jan-18 07:08:47

While it is transient enjoyment, isn't everything else? At that age I could read a book or comic in half a day and never touch it again. Sweets don't last long. What else do you want them to spend it on? At that age I imagine they're not interested in clothes (or at least buying their own!) and new xbox games would surely come with the same problem!

juddyrockingcloggs Tue 16-Jan-18 07:11:04

I don't 'do' money for Christmas for this exact reason! However, I think on this occasion you need to let them spend it as they see fit, especially if you didn't put conditions on the money when you gave it to them. Just remember in future any Christmas presents are just that, an actual present. Once it's gone it's gone and they'll have to do chores if they want any more money to spend on crap!

RadioGaGoo Tue 16-Jan-18 07:12:15

It is a shame, but I think that if you have given them money, it's up to them how try want to spend it. Maybe losing all their Christmas money so quickly this way will serve as a lesson for them, should they regret it.

SD1978 Tue 16-Jan-18 07:14:12

How would you feel if a gift given by family came with attachments with how you were permitted to spend/ use it? I understand they are children, but not ‘young’ children. It should be there’s to use as they see fit, not as you believe is reasonable. When it’s gone, it’s gone- which is a lesson itself. There will be other things they miss out on because of their decision, which may (hopefully) make them realise that there has to be a choice made with how you spend things, and instant gratification on game mods, means that there are other things you’ll miss out on. A gift with conditions is pointless. They should be entitled to spend (waste) it how they want and then the repercussions of that decision are felt later when something else can not be bought due to their choices. Otherwise, just don’t give cash presents.

Mintychoc1 Tue 16-Jan-18 07:14:50

The problem is that they would spend it all in a couple of weeks, then spend the next few months (until their respective birthdays) begging for more, because "there's a new player pack released that they MUST have", or there's a special offer on amazing new weapons or whatever. I'm trying to teach them to spend wisely.

Also, on many occasions when I've refused to let them spend the money, they've said a few hours later that they're glad I prevented them wasting it, because friends have bought xyz and it wasn't as a good as they thought it would be. They both admit they get caught up in the moment and want to spend spend spend, then realise later it would have been hasty.

These games are like slot machines - they make people feel like if they don't throw money at them now, they'll miss their chance for ever.

Maybe you're right, maybe I should let them blow £100 between them in a month, but I don't feel they're old enough to responsibly manage that kind of money. And I don't think they're mature enough to reflect on what they've done when they inevitably regret it. I wish I'd never given it to them. It's a learning curve isn't it, parenting!

kaytee87 Tue 16-Jan-18 07:15:41

I think yabu but I can understand why.

Nottheduchessofcambridge Tue 16-Jan-18 07:17:02

How about a compromise? Spend half, save half? It’s what we do with our DCs birthday and Christmas Money.

stickytoffeevodka Tue 16-Jan-18 07:18:14

I don't think it's fair to gift people money and then tell them what they can and can't spend it on.

They're young, nothing they buy at this age is going to be particularly long-lasting or meaningful anyway, so why not let them enjoy it?

If you wanted them to get sensible things then you shouldn't have given them money!

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 16-Jan-18 07:18:25

My mother always used to dictate what I spent my Christmas money on, and it was always a hardback, classic book. I remember once, going out with my Gran to spend my Christmas money, and buying a huge number of paperbacks from WH Smith. I got more joy out of them than Heidi, Wuthering Heights etc. Yes, I still have the (largely unread) classics collection, but I can still remember the books I bought with my money and how much pleasure I had from reading them. My Gran got it in the neck from my Mum when we got home, and I remember her saying that she didn’t see the problem, they were still books!

speakout Tue 16-Jan-18 07:20:23


HuskyMcClusky Tue 16-Jan-18 07:20:28


I wouldn’t let children blow large amounts of cash on something that’s such poor value for money, even if the money was a gift.

I get that we’re in the minority, but I’m 100% on-board with your thinking.

And I don't think they're mature enough to reflect on what they've done when they inevitably regret it.

I agree. I suspect this probably doesn’t come until they’re old enough to earn money themselves.

UniversityAlreadyQuestionMark Tue 16-Jan-18 07:28:39

YANBU. Similar argument ongoing in this household!

Etymology23 Tue 16-Jan-18 07:29:33

Also going against the majority but agree with you. I was always counselled against “frittering” - maybe they could have an allowance of part of it (the remainder - as if there weren’t rules for the first half it doesn’t seem fair to impose them retrospectively) for frittering and part for tangible things?

YellowMakesMeSmile Tue 16-Jan-18 07:30:44

YABVU, it's their money so they should be able to spend how they like. How will they learn otherwise about budgetting, effects of splurging etc.

Do they not have regular pocket money? If they only have access twice a year to their own money to spend its not hard to see why they go a little overboard as they don't get much opportunit.

Mine can spend theirs how they like, it was a gift to them and theirs not mine to control. I don't make them save any gift money into their savings account as it was in lieu of a present and not meant to be part of their uni fund etc.

ItsAllABitStrangeReally Tue 16-Jan-18 07:31:18

The government really needs to clamp down on this imo.

50 quid for a game and then constant ads for add ons to make it playable.......even Mario kart are at it ffs. It just puts more pressure on parents and almost encourages kids to gamble. Bloody disgusting.

LadyLapsang Tue 16-Jan-18 07:32:25

If you are giving money, I don't think it should come with conditions unless they are clearly understood by all concerned, e.g. a substantial amount for a holiday or driving lessons. How much money did you give them?

stickytoffeevodka Tue 16-Jan-18 07:32:44

What's that got to do with the government @ItsAllABitStrangeReally confused

Jaxtellerswife Tue 16-Jan-18 07:35:00

No, I agree with you op.
My stepson is always wanting money for invisible Xbox stuff. Not that he gets it. If they've already used some for Xbox, I'd maybe let them have a little more but then the rest gets used to buy something 'proper'.
Yes it's 'their money' but kids are useless at money and need adults to use a brain that understands to show them how it works.
If they spend it on nothing they won't think
'Oh dear that didn't go far, I'll be sensible next time'
They'll think
'Mum/ Dad/ whoever will give me some if I ask'
Which is totally normal but still annoying

Bekabeech Tue 16-Jan-18 07:35:12

£100 is too much money.
But yes let them blow it in a couple of weeks, and then when they moan say "well you could have had X if you hadn't spent your money on Y".
It is a useful lesson for them to learn, that money doesn't go on trees and when it's gone, it's gone. I might give them some advice first, but ultimately the decision would be theirs.
My DC only got money from relatives, and often most of this was saved in their long term savings. But actually they have had the sense to do this themselves.

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