This may just be a fancy phrase for describing the learning about money and spending, but it is a priority for me and Joe. We agree we don’t want to give allowance. But what else?? We recently set up (in 2016-yes!) savings accounts for the kids and tossed those ceramic pigs taking up space and haunting my memories. Yes. My house was broken into in first grade and I may have never fully recovered from seeing my smashed piggie bank-completely robbed at such a young age may leave scars.
Anyway, fast forward to being a parent of three and expecting my kids to help with the dishes and their room not because they are paid but because we are a family and this is what people do…work together. So my kids rarely have their own money and this creates a dilemma in teaching them the price and the cost and the choices that surround money. So when this year at Christmas they were sent cards with money and at Easter grammy might have given them money, we let them save some in their new bank accounts (half) and then keep some.
Paul and Olivine are true to their age and circumstance. They willing will raid the Dollar Tree or 7-11 with their father cheering them on. They are sad to realize their new toys have broken or how expensive candy and slurpees are.
But Henry is another story. He offered to give me the money to help pay for gas or laundry when he has overheard us budgeting. (yeah we are also having money meetings where we try to use cash after our identities were stolen twice in the last six months) He has also saved and spent sparingly. He recently counted up his 11 dollars and boasted to his siblings that he was rich (compared to them). They shrugged and he insisted on taking it all to baseball to buy treats that he promised to share from the snack shack. Except that is a crazy amount of money to spend when most candy costs a quarter. So I set a limit of two dollars. You should have seen his eyes when one dollar bought for boxes. That he quickly gave away and then Grammy insisted she give him a dollar for sharing. I had to try hard to deny him that money because he has years before moving out. I sometimes loose track of time and it feels like I have to teach him all the lessons in one setting.
Later that same day he had tucked his money into his shirt pocket and forgot until he saw the man selling cotton candy on a stick. He was over the moon to realize he had permission to leave the gate of the playground, go ask how much it was, and buy the candy if he could afford it. This is his face upon returning: pleased with his purchase and ready to share with those around him.
Yes he still has money in his sock drawer that this sister always wants him to bring on errands as she tries to convince him to spend it. She wants toys and treats all the time, but he is saving up. For what? He has yet to decide as he constantly asks about how much things cost. Lego Sets are $40 – what? bikes cost $100? Our car costs thousands of dollars? What in the world? His mind is being blown on a daily basis when he tallies up the cost.
Don’t hate me but I might have charged him $5 for loosing his water bottle last week. I went and bought a new one after looking high and low. As soon as I took his $5 the bottle was found the very next day. Was money part of the motivation? Maybe. I am still debating about paying him back. He’s asked. Thoughts?