Their wealth made it way too easy to create spoiled, entitled brats, and she really wanted to avoid that.
I personally never had that particular problem and had to say no to my kids aplenty out of sheer necessity. But I found her words and attitude very wise.
Understanding that just because we have enough money in our pocket or bank account to pay for something does not mean that we should do so is a very valuable life lesson to pass on to our kids.
It’s also something adults would be well advised to remember.
Or that we should buy lattes at the coffee shop that deplete our bank account without our even noticing it, or that extra pair of shoes or handbag we happen to see on display.
And yes, while you may have the cash or credit to join your friends for lunch or dinner at the local restaurant, doing so on a regular basis is a certain budget buster that easily adds up to hundreds, even thousands of dollars just in the course of one year.
To say nothing of the fact that restaurant meals are seldom the healthiest in terms of ingredients and portion sizes, and it’s way too easy to become habituated to having others do for you what you should be doing for yourself.
But renting something more modest in a less desirable building or neighborhood would make far more sense, since it would leave you with a substantial financial cushion and the savings to put towards buying your own place, or for travel, or for further education.
Related Article: Read more about some housing options others have chosen here.
This applies to the larger scale as well. Just because you qualify for a loan for a $25K+ car or a $350K+ house does not mean you should take one out for that amount. Ask yourself if you really need the bigger car or large house when a smaller one would do just fine.
Are granite countertops, top of the line appliances, and luxury bathrooms really worth several hundred dollars in extra monthly payments for rent or for a mortgage for the next 30 years?
And that "generous" student loan financing package being offered for the dream private college you want to attend? Rethink that as well. Is it worth the debt you will have to assume and pay off for 10-20 years after graduation, when other educational options are available for a fraction of the cost?
Consider how that repayment burden will impact your future plans for graduate school, or buying a home, or starting a family.
Don't get caught up in the marketing hype that surrounds us in our consumer driven culture today. Keep your needs simple and live not just within your means, but well beneath your means.
That’s the approach that my friend used when raising her children. I think it’s a sound approach to life and living for mental, physical, and fiscal health for all of us.