Anyone who has ever tried digging their way out of debt knows how frustrating of a process it can be. Doing it with kids in tow adds a whole new element of difficulty.
I mean, you still have the same concept of earn more, spend less, but you also have guilt of ALWAYS saying NO to your kids when you really would like to say YES.
Now, I’m a mom that says my fair share of “No”s to my kids. Who wants to raise a bunch of entitled brats? Not me. But there are times when always saying NO gets a little wearing on your soul. Especially when you are a spender at heart.
Since hopping on-board the Dave Ramsey train, I have joined a couple of group boards and this question comes up A LOT. Should parents in Baby Step 2 (Paying off debt) allow their children to participate in costly extracurriculars?
Dave and most hard-core followers give you a straight-up, unapologetic, resounding “NO”. And, frankly, many of them are super hateful, but I digress.
So, myself, wanting to be a good student and all, really tossed this one around. You see, I have 4 kids, 2 of which are involved in travel sports.
Anyone who has ever done travel-type sports will tell you that they are not cheap. Now, there are ways to make them cheaper, but overall, your debt snowball would speed up exponentially without them.
And our snowball is going to take us about 2 1/2- 3 years which could probably be cut in half if we just cut the sports.
But let me tell you why we didn’t.
Sports are not just sports.
Sports are a team. They are community. They teach dependability and dedication. Commitment. Perseverance.
My children have learned to put aside differences with others for the betterment of their team.
They have learned to work hard to achieve a goal despite not feeling like it some days.
Choosing practice over fun with friends because they are committed.
They have learned not to quit when the going gets tough.
They have also learned the importance of cheering on your fellow man and helping them get back up when they fall.
They have celebrated in success and learned to accept failure.
These are all important life lessons that are most effectively taught by experience.
We are still working hard. We have cut back on a lot of things to make this dream of living 100% debt-free happen for us, and, even though they complain, our kids see our efforts and will carry them through life (at least we hope).
And although I cannot wait for the day that I can have my “DEBT-FREE SCREAM”, I think I will have to disagree with Dave on this one.
The experiences that my kids are having now are building character traits that will serve them well in the future, and I can’t put a price tag on that.