The Long Term Rewards of Under Indulgence

Is under indulgence the same thing as deprivation?  We think not!  Buying fewer, thoughtful gifts and treats for your child will allow him or her to have an enhanced sense of appreciation, plus you’ll be helping lighten the load on our planet and your pocketbook.  But beyond the immediate rewards, you’ll also reap benefits for years to csaving money and environment by under indulgingome.

  • Less financial stress: The leading cause of arguments between spouses is money.  When you co-commit to set more aside for the future, you’re also giving your baby a family with less conflicts.
  • More educational opportunities: Tucking away even small sums each month in these first few years will create a robust college fund and may even pay for preschool in the short run.
  • Less stuff: At the end of the day, you’ll have fewer items to trip over on the living room floor and your child will have more space to play and less stuff to manage.
  • Better impulse control: A University of Pennsylvania study shows that self discipline is a better predictor of academic success than even IQ. Managing your money carefully and limiting purchases models self discipline for your child right from the start.
  • More travel: Being willing to buy used clothes and toys might help you sock enough away for a few more vacations. Family memories are a great investment that will last a lifetime for your children and it’s good to get them in before our little ones become teenagers who aren’t as interested in family time.

Are there other rewards we’ve forgotten?  Have you found that the benefits of under indulgence are worth it? Do you have friends and family who share your views?


  1. I find the friends and family piece is the hardest to manage. Family members that want to “spoil” my kids feel that I’m being too harsh when I ask them to limit gifts, or give more of the necessary items and fewer toys. This has created friction in our family, and I have finally decided it is just not worth fighting for. In general I don’t buy toys for my kids anymore because I know they are going to get so many (too many!) from family members.

  2. Hi! We loved your post over at KiwiLog and decided to feature it as part of our weekly mom blog round-up. Thanks!

  3. My children are actually GRATEFUL to recieve needed items, such as new socks, for Christmas. My then 3yo son gave me a huge hug last year and thanked me for his gifts. Both of my boys (then 3 and 5) were really excited to get new socks! All of my children asked for handkerchiefs (I made them some) and they were happy to receive them.

    Another benfit to less stuff is a quicker clean-up time, and less overall mess, which means less stress for children cleaning up and for parents asking their children to clean up.

  4. I could not agree with this more! At some point, we got the idea that we had to buy tons and tons of “stuff” with bells and whistles and all sorts of noises to constantly stimulate our children. My relatives send so much stuff for my 2 year old (which I appreciate)- but I put most of it away for her to enjoy on special days. With all the fancy toys she has- her favorite activity is to look through her books and go for walks.

  5. The junk-selling consumer corpotocracy has somehow confused people into thinking that constant stimulation (often of the most mediocre kind) is beneficial to our children.

    Yet, you step outside, preferably a creek, a beach, a meadow, a trail…and all the senses are engaged in a most unobtrusive and highly stimulating way!

    When we are outside, we listen, look, smell, hear, touch, compare, contrast, build, experiment, run, jump, climb, throw, pretend, create, build up, take down……all in an hour or hour and half’s time and often with no extra supplies. Much more if there is more time…..

    No single toy, no matter how many buttons, lights, beeps and features can give you that – and worse, they become bored of that piece of future landfill garbage anyway.

  6. Also, buying used and under-indulging can teach patience and planning. When you are looking for a used item, you have to think about what you need well before you need it – and then search yard sales, Craig’s List, etc until you find it! Sometimes it can take awhile, but the hunt can be fun and rewarding once you find the right thing.

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