Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lessons in the Value of Money

Perhaps I should say lessons in the value of money and time. We've been giving the kids a commission for a few months now. They get a quarter for each job they complete. We keep a chart on the fridge and put a mark each time they do something. They get paid on the Sunday following pay day, so twice a month. They have spend, give, and save envelopes. We follow a rough 80/10/10 plan, rounding up since they are paid by the quarter.

The kids have been asking if they could take their spend envelopes to the store to choose something to buy. This past Sunday presented some free time, for me anyway, as Husband was golfing. My mom and dad were in town, so my mom went with me. And then our lives slowly drifted away.

I spent so much time in the toy section of Target that I'm fairly certain I could tell you the price of any item. The kids had different amounts of money, but none of them had more than $6.40, which wasn't going to buy them a lot. Still, I did not want to just show them what they could afford. I wanted them to start learning that we have to make choices with our money and that sometimes we have to wait for something we really want. So as they picked up the babies that do things and the big Buzz Lightyear, I explained again and again that they did not have enough money to buy it now, but that they could save their money and buy it later. Yeah right. Like that was going to happen.

Like winners of the lottery with so much money they don't know what to do with it, my kids went after the cheap stuff so they could take home something. So we ended up with coloring books and markers from the dollar spot. And they all have to save their money again for better toys. I'm not sure who is learning what lesson here. I know that I'll never get that time back. And yet, I was in Target again a mere two days later. The Bullseye has put a charm on me I fear.
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  1. Hey, Nicole, thanks for stopping by today! Looks like we're neighbors; I live in the Metroplex too.

    Don't worry. At some point your kids will see a bigger thing they want and you'll be able to say, "If you had saved your money instead of buying ____ (that cheap toy that broke long ago) you would be able to afford this now." They'll get it. It just takes time.

  2. They will get it, it will just take time.

  3. I'm learning lessons for future reference with my little ones...thanks!

  4. We're going through the same thing with our 5-year-old. It's just normal. I don't think they really grasp the concept of saving for later at this age, but they'll get it. I think letting your kids buy the cheaper things will help them to learn the lesson. They'll wonder later why it's taking them longer to save for something bigger, and then you can remind them about the coloring books, etc. Good luck!


I'm dying to know what you have to say, so talk already! Thanks!