Kids are expensive.  But you might be spending money on some things that your children really don’t need.

Young parents might not realize that many expenses are optional, provided that you’re willing to be the Big, Bad Parent that denies certain creature comforts.

Here are a few purchases that might require a second look from R. J. Wilson.

First, Trendy Toys. A good rule of thumb: If your children want something, wait a month. Those trendy toys won’t be as irresistible when all of the other kids have moved on to a new fad.


Next, Playsets. Playsets are a classic children’s gift, but they’re also a ridiculous purchase in many households. If they’re indoors, you have to clean around them. If they’re outdoors, they can actually lower your property value.

Third, Computers. Consider starting out with a cheaper machine, at least until your teen has established good internet habits.

And Musical Instruments. Before you blow a fortune on a trumpet make sure that you’re getting something that your kid actually wants—and that he or she will stick with it.

Next, Expensive Clothes. Young kids don’t care whether their shirts are name brand. Up until 7th or 8th grade, kids will love whatever you can provide for them.

And finally, Smartphones. Sure, every kid on your block has a smartphone, but your job as a parent isn’t to make your child like every other child; it’s to do what’s best for him or her.

That might mean refusing a request for a new cellphone, at least until your child is responsible enough to carry one. The same is true for tablets and other mobile devices.

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