Money Management – 3 Reasons to Negotiate Like Your Kids

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Kids and Money Management

money management

How money management can work with kids. Something happens to us as we age. We get soft. No, not around the middle, in our minds. In certain areas of our lives, we lose our edge. I realize that this is a blanket statement so this article will not apply to everyone. However, I do feel like there is something to be gained by all who continue reading. Recently, I have started getting up earlier than normal and getting my workout in before the sun comes up. Not only do I feel better for the rest of the day, but I actually have the whole day ahead of me to get my chores done without further distraction. I go to the gym, workout, hit the sauna for about 15 minutes and then shower up and head home. On my way back in, I grab the paper so that I can enjoy my post workout protein smoothie and a cup of coffee while I catch up on the daily happenings.

Typically, I don’t spend much time in the comics section other than to knock out the crossword puzzle, but today, the comics caught my eye. I saw the Family Circus comic posted above and the wheels began to spin. First, I laughed. Then I thought to myself, that sounds like my kids. Finally, I realized, these kids are masters of an art that we seem to forget shortly after college. Maybe it’s because kids don’t have the ability to get 90 days same as cash? Maybe it’s because they don’t yet have a sense of entitlement (maybe sometimes). What we do share in common is our general lack of ability to delay our sense of gratification. The difference? Kids negotiate to get what they want, or at least a middle ground.

Kids Negotiation Skills are Top Notch

Have you ever taken your kids to the store with you? I realize it’s a rhetorical question, but think about it for a second. What happens? Inevitably, if you are like us, you are up and down the aisles just praying that you can get out with your sanity. You are just about done with your trip when the first one starts “Can I get a cookie?” What happens next is absolutely remarkable. If you give the quick “yes,” you are already committed to at least one cookie so the bartering for a second or third has already entered your child’s mind. Before you know it, you have a box of popsicles, pack of oreos and a carton of those “special” juice boxes that we never get. How does this happen? It’s very simple: kids know how to negotiate and they aren’t afraid to do it.

As we age, we change our views on negotiation. It makes us feel uncomfortable. We don’t like the inconvenience. We have the money to buy it so why hassle with chipping away at a salesperson for a better price? Worst of all: we get embarrassed. As I sat down this morning and thought about all of the money I have wasted in my adult life due to a lack of effective money management negotiating, I realized that we all have something we can learn from the acts of our children. Yes, I learn something new from my boys every day. I boiled the whole thing down to three reasons you should negotiate like your kids. If none of these work, you could always look at how Scotwork’s negotiation solutions are tailored to better fit your specific negotiation needs.

Be More Like Kids with Your Money Management

Do you honestly think that there is anything in this world that your child would be scared to ask for? Seriously. My ten year old is already angling for his first car and it’s 6 years away. The first thing we can learn about negotiating for our kids is that they aren’t afraid to ask for what they want. Don’t believe me? Tell them it’s time for bed and see what comes out of their mouth.

Kids don’t stop at NO

I could probably stop with that statement, but I need to elaborate. When you are in the middle of making a purchase, a really good sales person will read your body language. They will watch your behavior and they will listen for hints in your conversation with your spouse. When it comes time for you to ask the question, they are ready to pounce on you with “no” right out of the box. At that point, you need to make a decision. Do you take no as your answer? or do you push back with a little more force so that you can actually get what you want? Most kids do not stop at the first no. All of our children know when they aren’t going to get any further but most of the time, they know how many times to push before it’s “too much.”


Kids walk away with more than they had in the beginning

This is probably the most important of the lessons we can learn. After they have asked the question and realized that the “no” they are getting seems to be pretty concrete, kids have the sense to reinvent their demands. Using the bedtime bargaining in our home as an example, kids eventually find a middle ground. My middle son, Landon, is a master of this. Landon operates in “minutes.” He has no clue what a “minute” really is, he just knows that it’s more time than what he has right now when you tell him to go to bed. If I start out and tell Landon it’s bed time, he will ask for more minutes. I will ask Landon how many “minutes” he wants and he will tell me 20 or 30. No way the kid’s staying up another 1/2 hour so I tell him no. Does Landon stop? NO! He comes back with a rebuttal. “What about 15?” So goes the conversation as we finally arrive at 5 extra minutes. Guess what? I may feel like I won, but I just got my negotiating butt kicked by a 6 year old. Landon gets exactly what he wanted, extra “minutes.”

In summation, there are three money management type things I want you to think about before you make your next major purchase: What is the question you are going to ask? Will you stop at no? Do you have a middle ground that you will accept? If you employ these three simple things into your financial life, you will realize success. While Landon considers a win by getting “minutes” that are of little meaning to him quantitatively, Daddy considers it a win when he saves “dollars.” You can be sure that I know exactly what those are worth.



  1. That is soo true & cute, lol. We were looking into getting a new mattress set as we hurt now every day we wake up. They didn’t want to negotiate the free t.v. size (they were out of stock & would have to wait a month for it) w/purchase & we decided to look around. I need to check a few other places & it may still be on hold for a few more months, but they called me back 2 days later wanting to negotiate & give us a deal w/an upgraded t.v. & price reduction on pillows. They knew what we (I) wanted & wanted to get that sale, but I’m too particular & want my monies worth at the best product at the cheapest price, lol.

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