March 27, 2019


Hey Nikki,

I’m just your average girl who wants to have fun just like everybody else! I mean, a trip to Disney World, an American Girl doll, or a cell phone would be nice, right? Especially since all of my friends have those things! But whenever I ask my parents for stuff like that, they always tell me I can’t have it due to “financial issues,” whatever that means. Why do they keep telling me NO, and how do I get them to change their minds?!

Feeling Frustrated

Hi Feeling Frustrated,

I get it. I swear, I was the last person I knew to get my own cell phone. It was TORTURE!!! And going to a private school when my family doesn’t have a ton of money, sometimes it seems like everyone around me has everything they want and I have nothing.

But, I think the words “SEEMS LIKE” are important there. Do ALL your friends have cell phones? Maybe. But all of them probably don’t have American Girl dolls or trips to Disney World. And even if they do have all those things, that doesn’t mean they’re happy. (I kinda learned that lesson when Mackenzie wrote in my diary for a while…)

It’s natural to want things, especially fun things that seem like they would make your life better. But I know your parents still care about you! I know mine do, even when they’re TOTALLY embarrassing and have to pick me up in a van with a GIANT ROACH on the top!!! Like, I’m sure my dad would rather pick me up in an awesome sports car. But he works hard at his bug extermination business, and the roach-mobile is all he has, and it gets us where we need to go. So even when I’m SUPER embarrassed, I try hard to be grateful for what we do have.

I know you want to change your parents’ minds. But the thing is, it sounds like they don’t have enough money to afford what you want right now. It’s not like letting you hang out with your friends or go outside to play. Those things are free, but American Girl dolls, cell phones, and trips to Disney World aren’t.

When we don’t understand stuff like “Financial issues,” it can be hard to take seriously. When parents say that they have financial issues, it means they might be worried they don’t have enough money to for stuff that’s important, like having a place to live and enough food to eat.

For example, I asked my parents about all the stuff they have to pay for. This is what they came up with: our house, clothes, groceries, gas, Brianna’s dance lessons, phone bills, and medical bills. Then I asked my dad if that’s everything. After he laughed for about an hour, he started listing more things they pay for: car insurance, car payments, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, medical insurance, internet, electricity, water, sewage (ew), garbage pick-up, birthday presents, vet bills, and more! (He was still listing stuff when I left the room.)

It’s not our job to worry about how our parents pay for all of those things. But we can help by not demanding all kinds of extra stuff they can’t afford. If there’s something you really want that’s reasonable – because honestly, a trip to Disneyworld is out of reach for lots of families – think about what YOU could do to help get it!

Like, take an American Girl doll for example. On the website, it costs $115 for the doll and book, no extra accessories. Whoa! So what could you do to get that doll? Here are a few ideas:

  1. For your birthday and holidays, you could ask your parents and grandparents to give you money so you can save it up to buy the doll yourself.
  2. Consider if you own anything valuable that you could sell to earn the money. Please remember to your parents’ permission first!
  3. Consider getting a used doll. I looked at some online sites that sell used stuff and found American Girl dolls for $50 and $60! That’s still expensive for a doll, but it’s half the price of buying a new one.

I think you need to show your parents you’re grateful for what you have and want to learn to be responsible with money. Then, when they have the chance, they’re more likely to help you get the things you want.

Are your parents always saying “no” to things because it costs too much money? How do you handle it? Tell us in the comments.