The brunette twin told me she needed shirts. She had just a few that fit and she said she wore the same ones over and over. I asked her why she didn't say anything earlier. She said, "You're always saying we don't have extra money so I didn't want to say anything."
At that point the blond twin chimed in that she needed jeans. She had one pair that was too small.
I said, "We're not that poor. We can afford to buy you clothes. When I'm talking about not having extra money it's for things like a horse or a new Wii or going out to dinner every night. We can afford to buy you clothes."
The brunette twin said, "Oh good. I need another pair of gym shoes too. Mine are too small."
I smiled and then I sighed. In our efforts to teach the girls the differences between needs and wants they seem to have gotten the impression we're poor. While we're shopping we'll talk to them about what we're buying and why. We'll discuss waiting to buy things on sale rather then buying them at full price. We'll talk about how we budget and how spending, saving and investing all fall into that budget.
We thought we were just teaching them basic good money management. We wanted to explain how we manage money. Our goal was to make sure the girls understood that we work hard for our money and spend it wisely.
It turns out the girls think we're poor just because we don't buy them every crazy thing they want at the moment they want it. They come up with all kinds of crazy ideas from buying a horse to going to London to meet One Direction. Whenever we say no or later or you should save for it they seem to take it as a sign that we don't have enough money to buy them what they need.
I realize some of this is because they are so young. They don't have a grasp on what it means to have a thousand dollars as opposed to having a million dollars. For them it's all just the same as a $5 bill. I'm not sure we'll change our money education strategy, but I do think we'll try to put it into perspective a bit more. We want them to know how to manage their money without thinking that we don't have enough money to buy what is needed.