Thursday, December 03, 2009

Kids and Money...

may they never mix...

Well, no that's not what I mean. The story for today is focused on whether and when do kids grasp the concept of money and it not growing on trees. To this end, my husband has been giving the girls an allowance -- for years now. The idea being that they pay for all their extra expenses. That through this exercise they will learn about the value of a dollar and how to budget. I have disagreed since day one and I still disagree. Even after hearing a financial expert on a radio program outline the same program we have at home (Who knew my husband was a financial genius?).

Case in hand, two days ago I escorted the young ones to the local school book fair. Plastic in hand, I let them pick out books, but I would not put out for the $2 eraser or the $5 invisible ink pen (How do you know it is works if the ink is invisible?). The next day the little one informs me her class is going to the book fair. I stated, "But you went." She came back with, "The whole class has to go," and she asked to take some money with her. I knew she was angling for some of the junkie pens and erasers that were by the check out. I reminded her she was saving her money for our next family trip. She took her money anyway -- all of her savings and spent over $18 on crap.

Of course I was disgusted. I am the woman who bends over to pick up the penny off the street. One hundred of those will make a dollar I didn't have. And my children (for both little ones are guilty of this) spend like there is no tomorrow. If it is plastic and it's pink, it's theirs.

The middle one seeing the new bought bounty of the little one asked me for money this morning. For what I asked back. "Something at the book sale, but I forget what," was her answer. Can you believe that? I couldn't. And the purse strings remained tightly drawn despite her sulking.

Growing up I can remember bringing my meager savings to the bank and getting my pass book stamped. I would go after the first of each month just so see how much interest I had earned. Call me a tightwad, a miser, a spend thrift... and maybe I am an extreme, but how can one family gain balance?

I have already informed the big spenders that there is no reprieve on vacation. They will spend only what they have saved. Maybe a lesson will be learned.

1 comment:

Tammy H. said...

It is a difficult lesson to learn and your children are not alone. I used to cringe at every piece of plastic crap that I had to pick up, knowing that someone's good hard earned money was spent to buy it and it was cast aside as the garbage it is by ungrateful children when they grew tired of it.

I totally agree with you and hope that you stick to your guns. Let me know any lessons that I can pass along, I'd be anxious to hear. My boys do not get an allowance because our thoughts are that no one pays us to cook, clean, do laundry for them and chauffeur. We do however pay them if they pitch in for a big project and are willing to hand over money for a movie and popcorn here and there. My oldest worked alongside the contractor for a few days during the summer and we paid him minimum wage to do it, but I guess that that just didn't make much of an impression, since they still are not happy or even civil when asked to perform simple extra tasks - geez, they even moan and groan like mad at regular old chores.