Spending money on stuff to keep up with our friends is so pre-recession. These days, most of us know that emergency funds are the new extravagance.
And yet, when it comes to our kids, most of us are still overspending big time, hemorrhaging money by mistaking luxuries for necessities and doling out more dollars than we save. Why? Because we’re afraid that cheaping out on our kids means they’ll fall behind in school. And in a high-pressure parenting climate, there’s no room for error: Academic admissions are competitive, and, down the road, jobs are scarce. We’re terrified our kids won’t get into college and will later wind up living in our homes.