When Your Kid Shows More Financial Responsibility Than You


Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever had one of those moments where as a parent you just hang your head in shame, because your son or daughter showed more responsibility you? Yeah, I had that happen to me just this weekend.

My son got his Xbox360 a few years ago, and instantly wanted to take advantage of the console’s ability to play games online with his friends. In order to make that happen, we had to purchase an Xbox Live membership. We gave him a year’s subscription as a birthday present, and to pay for it we attached our checking account to the membership.   Each year when the membership was about to expire, we would either give him another year’s subscription for a present, or he’d give us the money to pay for it.

As his interest in PC gaming has grown, his use of his Xbox has diminished to almost nothing. I happened to ask him recently if he was going to keep his Xbox Live membership, to which he rolled his eyes and managed to sputter a, “No way. Why would I pay for Xbox Live when I can play with my friends for free on my PC?”

Certainly sounded like a good course of action to me.

I mentioned that we should figure out when his membership was up, and ensure that we set it to not auto renew. Otherwise we’d automatically get charged the $60 for the yearly membership. He said he’d check and let me know. Given he’s a teenager and being responsible isn’t always in his skill set,  I wrote “Xbox Live” on my list of things to do so that I’d remember to look into it.

Unfortunately, I never got to looking into it, of which I was reminded of when I saw an email from Microsoft in my inbox. I instantly knew I had forgotten to cancel the membership, or set it to not auto renew. I assumed the email was telling me that my account had been charged for a year’s membership that my son would not use.

I then noticed the subject line said, “Confirmation of cancellation of Gold – 12 Month.”

I had forgotten to change the settings of the membership, but my son had not. Had the membership renewed, it would have been MY fault, not his. It would have been MY money wasted, not his. After all, he had told me no longer wanted the membership.

He had looked into it, just as he said he would, and saved his forgetful father $60.

Have you ever had an experience where a kid showed more financial responsibility than you?

About Travis

40 Responses to “When Your Kid Shows More Financial Responsibility Than You”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Haha that’s awesome that he set his account to expire! I’ve definitely had some bone-headed moves where I forget to cancel something and get charged for something I don’t even use. I don’t have kids but I think these situations are almost inevitable.

    • Travis says:

      I’ve had more than one of those “trial offer” things expire and end up paying a full month’s price…now I don’t even sign up for them anymore because I KNOW I’ll forget. I’m certainly glad he remembered…I feel like I should almost give him a bonus on his allowance or something!

  2. That’s awesome! You must be proud. Even though you forgot on this one occasion, I’m sure he learned that behavior from you =)

    • Travis says:

      I’d certainly like to think so, Holly….we actually talked about it several times – so maybe my hounding him more than once drove him to do it. 😉

  3. Good stuff! Can’t think of any examples recently, but my son did show me his frugal side this weekend. He went to the movies with some friends, before the movie they walk to the dollar store and pick up snacks instead of buy them at the movie theater.

    • Travis says:

      Awwwwww yeah! We do the same thing…we actually stop by Walmart which is on the way to our closest movie theater. They have movie theater boxes of candy for $1 – the same thing costs $3 or $4 at the theater, and it’s the SAME BOX! Good for your son!

  4. I have been burned too many times by automatic renewals. Good for your son. Though beware the PC games, they are frighteningly addictive. I’ve seen the damage it can do first hand.

    • Travis says:

      Yeah, I know my son is addicted…I can’t even fathom staring at the screen as much as he does. Now that the nicer weather is showing up I need to make sure we get him outside and doing other things. Thanks for your comment, Stefanie!

  5. Michelle says:

    Kudos to your son! My three year old nephew is actually all about saving. He got an allowance the last time I was visiting and I asked him what he was going to do with it. He said he was going to put it in the bank so it “could grow more money!”

    • Travis says:

      SO COOL! The younger kids start learning good financial habits the better – I remember when was young (although older than 3!) I had a paper route in which I earned $5.35 every two weeks. My mom made me put $3 in my bank account every time – I just wish those kinds of habits would have stuck better with me!

  6. That is awesome, Travis!!! My kids amaze me every day in this area. Isn’t it nice to know we’re training them up at least a little bit right? 🙂

  7. My seven year old has been worried about money every since he started at private school, because the private school is always strapped for funds. We’ve actually had a lot of the opposite kinds of talks, “Don’t worry, DC1, mommy and daddy make enough money that they can replace that textbook even though it’s expensive.”

    • Travis says:

      It’s good to hear that you’re reassuring your son, NicoleandMaggie. While it’s great to have our youngsters learning good financial habits and lessons, there’s no reason for them to have to worry about finances just yet. thanks for reading!

  8. Awe so cute! I don’t have kids, but I’m always forgetting to cancel auto renew subscriptions and end up kicking myself.

    • Travis says:

      It’s amazing how often that happens, isn’t it? I wish they’d make auto renew be NOT the default action….but of course, the auto renew is likely how many businesses make a lot of money. People forget and pay for months before unsubscribing.

  9. That’s awesome Travis! I’ve been burned too many times to count by memberships like that, even after making it a point to remind myself like you did. It’s those small things, in my opinion, you see your kids do that is always encouraging as a parent to see.

    • Travis says:

      I definitely need to remember to give him a complement and acknowledge that he did it right in this instance…I got the email after everyone else had gone to bed, but I’m making a note to myself right now to make sure to talk to him about it first thing in the morning. thanks for dropping in, John!

  10. Kim says:

    I try not to sign up for auto subscribe options just for that reason. I hope my kiddo always is smarter than me when it comes to just about everything. You taught him well.

    • Travis says:

      Most of the time when I sign up for an auto renewal sort of thing, I make sure I disable it. But this time around I left it enabled on purpose, as I didn’t want his membership to lapse. It’s always that last time you forget….lol.

  11. Great story Travis! When the entire family pitches in to support family money goals, sure makes things easier.

    • Travis says:

      I do love some family teamwork, Kurt – It’s nice to know that my teenager actually listens to me occasionally! thanks for reading!

  12. Catherine says:

    My kid is still too young but thats great about your son. Like holly said he learned from you and your wife 😉 my daughter lovves putting change in her piggy banks and shaking them which is sort of fun.

    • Travis says:

      The more that’s in the piggy bank, the more noise it makes…..I’m sure it’s nice to see your daughter at least take some sort of interest in her piggy bank! 🙂 Great to hear from you Catherine!

  13. Not sure about showing more responsibility than me, but I recently told my daughter (3.5) that I didn’t have money, and she asked, “how come you don’t have money? Is it because your boss didn’t pay you?”

    I was speechless…

  14. I don’t have kids yet, but I can’t wait. You’ve got to be a pretty proud daddy! I know I would be! I hate having to remember to cancel things. I make the mistake of forgetting quite a bit.

  15. Love this, Travis! Like the others said, I’m sure he learned to be financial responsibly from watching you and Vonnie and all the hard work you two (and your kids as well) have done these past few years to get out of debt. I don’t know if Lauren and Taylor have shown more financial responsibility than me but I have no doubt that day is fast approaching. 🙂 And honestly, I can’t wait! What I do know is that often times they will jump in and defend a decision we made because we make big family decisions together. Or they surprise my husband and I when they don’t accept an offer to buy them something because it’ won’t make their heart happy long enough to justify the cost. Those are the days that I fist pump! 🙂

  16. Good for your son! I’m glad it worked out that way. He took ownership of the situation, and that will impact him more than your taking care of things would have. I hope that you tell him that the people who follow you are impressed. My eldest daughter is someone who is so much better at finances than I was. She graduated from her masters degree without student debt, and since starting her career has managed to save 15% of her gross income. I love being outdone by my children! I’m sure you do too.

    • Travis says:

      I’ll make sure I tell him, Prudence! Saving 15% of her gross income is awesome (as is graduating with no student debt!)…..I’m hoping to be in that range soon as well!

  17. Great responsibility shown there by your son Travis…if only more teens could learn to be like that. Don’t be too hard on yourself for forgetting to look into cancelling it. You are obviously teaching your son something right.

    • Travis says:

      I was surprised to see that he had remembered it….teenage brains are a scary place, and responsibility isn’t necessarily always their top priority. But, my son isn’t your usual teenager either. We always refer to him as being “easy.” He doesn’t get into trouble, he gets good grades, he does his homework on time, respectful, etc, etc. Watching him grow and mature is truly a blessing!

  18. My daughter who is a seven year old now, when I told her that I would buy her a new pair of shoes because she got a high grade and she is a top 5 of her class. But surprisingly, she refused it because she told me that her old shoes is still doing fine, so no need to buy a new pair of shoes.

    • Travis says:

      Sounds like your daughter has learned the value of a dollar, and the importance of using things up. Watch out though….when she is ready for new shoes she’ll likely try to convince you to buy the best pair of shoes she can find…you know, so they last longer. 🙂

  19. Bravo to your son! I did a little facepalm for ya when I read this haha

    • Travis says:

      Haha, yeah, there was definitely that slapping sound of the palm hitting the forehead when I first saw that email from Microsoft. Then I looked at it more closely….wait, what???? Proud of my son!

  20. bybee says:

    My son has always been more of a saver than a spender. He watches where his money is going very carefully. All the thrifty habits of his German ancestors have trickled down to him. I’m glad for him; this kind of thing doesn’t come naturally to me.

    • Travis says:

      Good for him, bybee – hopefully he can keep it up!!! I come from a German family and need those genes to trickle down to me too! 🙂

Leave a Comment...


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.