HOUSTON One of the joys of parenthood is seeing your children happy.You hate to deprive them of those things that make them smile.As a result you spend money lots of money including cash you didn t have to spend in the first place.

We always want our children to have better than what we had, said Alan Sandersen, a certified public accountant.

He understands the numbers as a part of his profession, but even more so as a father of two girls.

The biggest manipulators in the world are under four feet tall.So you really have to watch for them.They re master manipulators and you have to be really careful or they re going to have you spend more money before you re finished, Sandersen said.

It s never too late to take action to build back up the family bank account.Sandersen recommends changing your family activities.Try family movie night with an inexpensive Red Box rental, or go old school and head back to the library.Of course, there is always the great outdoors.

Once you ve cut your spending, Sandersen also recommends re-establishing your savings with an enforced savings plan.

We re going to increase our 401K contribution for x number of months or for the rest of the year, Sandersen said. That s going to force us not to be spending this money. Not only that, it s going to force us to budget and the money that we budget for goes into something that s actually going to benefit us in the future.

Sandersen said having a spending holiday is another alternative.

Say, Okay, there s not going to be any more manicures, pedicures, Starbucks or whatever the case may be.We re just not going to spend money and see just how long we can go without spending any money. Turn it almost into a contest.Who s going to spend the least you know?Kind of a cheap-skate award, Sandersen suggested.

The key is to get involved.It s not so much about the money spent, but the time had by all.
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