Who is in your wallet? Benjamin? Franklin? Your kids! You may not know what’s in there, but the chances are good that THEY DO. Here are a few of the surprising ways kids count your money. Readers are invited to chime in, comment and add your own observations. You can also get a free chapter of my new book, Lemonade Sold Out.
The Bean Counter
Children who like math like counting… including your money! At the cash register the little one sees you take out a $10.00 dollar bill and spend $2.00 on a beverage. Ca-ching, the $8.00 in change is somehow now available for general use – THEIR general use. The bean counter has witnessed a financial transaction and has counted your beans (a/k/a money) as they go back into the pot (your wallet). They know exactly what you have.
It’s great having a bean counter, because it is important to know exactly how much money you have available. It’s hard to take advantage of someone who knows exactly what they have (or should have). On the flip side, the bean counter can be taught the difference between your money and their money! A good place to start is with Nacho Money, a tale of friendship, trust and what happens when money gets in the middle!
Tag Along Shopper
Not spending enough time with your kids? Let them know you are going to the mall and the tag along shopper will rise from the ashes of an otherwise dull afternoon. This little one has figured out that your buy signal – by going to the mall, you have signaled that you are ready to make a purchase and they will tag along in case you see something that they might like. They assume that if you are in the mood to buy, you are probably feeling generous enough that day to buy them something too. Oh, and of course, they would just love to spend the day with you!
A tag along shopper can be turned into a savvy shopper. While tagging along on shopping trips, he/she can learning the value of a dollar, by making wise spending decisions. In no particular order, here are some of the questions adult shoppers process internally, and your child can too, depending on their age and financial maturity:
– Affordability: Can I afford this item? Do I have enough money to buy this now with feeling financial regret later?
– Cost: Is this item on sale, or going on sale soon? Is a lower/better price avaialable somewhere else? Is it worth spending on this item?
– Usefulness: Is this a staple item in the wardrobe? Is it a trend that will be outdated in a few weeks? Is it an ‘extra’ or an accessory that I can do without?
– Long-term value: Will I remember why I bought this next spring/summer? Will I get more use out of it in the future or is it a one and one item?
– Feelings:- How do I feel about this item? Do I WANT it, NEED it, LOVE it..? Or am I trying to buy it as a way of getting approval from ‘X’?
Do you have a bean counter or tag along shopper at home? I’d love to hear from you. There are so many surprising ways that kids count your money. I feel a series coming on…. Please add your comments and stay tuned for more value!
Candi Sparks is the author of children’s books about money “Can I Have Some Money?”, “Educating Children About Money”, “Max Gets It!” and Nacho Money. She is the Brooklyn mother of two and is on Facebook (Candi Sparks, author) and Twitter (Candi Sparks, author). Her website is http://www.candisparks.com.