Friday, September 12, 2008

Because I want an iPhone like a fat kid wants cake

(Especially if it's store bought white cake with buttercream frosting, so sugary it makes you want to pass out. And you get a corner piece with lots of that frosting.)

(Mmm. Frosting.)

Anyway - over at The Parent Bloggers Network they're having a contest! With help from Capitol One! And the prize is an iPhone! And all I have to do is tell you how I'm teaching little AM about money.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, right? I mean, come on - just look at what I've already posted this week! It's destiny!

So here's the question: when do you start teaching kids about money?

My answer: as soon as you get the hospital bill.

Kidding! I'm kidding! But I do think that the earlier, the better.

I've already discussed how I have to choose my words around Anna Marie. She, like most kids, doesn't understand the concept of money very well. For instance, I can't tell you how many times she's asked why we haven't gone to Walt Disney World. And my answer is always the same - because we haven't saved enough money. And her answer is always the same: then why don't I go to work, and make some more?

Oh, if only it were that simple.

Just like it's difficult to teach kids that having a checkbook full of pieces of paper with your routing number on them doesn't guarantee sufficient funds to buy stuff, it's difficult to make them understand that just because you earned some money, doesn't mean you can spend it willy-nilly.

There are wee small roadblocks to that philosophy, and around these parts we call them food, shelter, and clothes.

We've already made her start saving for things she wants that are extra (like Webkinz or Build-A-Bear). And now, I'm going to follow Karen's suggestion that she save for that Nintendo DS she wants.

This morning, I had a talk with her about saving. Because when I wanted an iPod, I had to save for it. And when her dad wanted a Zune (and for the love of Pete I can't figure out why he did) he saved for it. So if she wants that video game, she's going to save for it.

Her birthday is in a couple of weeks, so she's going to ask for money and/or Target cards. In fact, I have a $5 Target card I got for buying a bunch of Kashi stuff this week, so I may give that to her for seed money.

During football season, the cheerleaders come around selling ribbons and tattoos. And if she stays on "green" enough during the week, she gets money for that. But now, she's got the option of using that money to save for her DS. And, she thought that was a great idea!

(Let's see, though, how she felt when the other kids were getting stuff this morning and she wasn't.)

Instead of telling her we're broke all the time, I try to couch it in terms of "priorities." Because I could take the rent money to buy an X-Box, but then we'd have a little trouble the next time it rained. Shelter is a priority!

And, I could take my tithe money each week and buy her something with it, but one of our priorities is honoring God with our finances.

It's hard to teach her about priorities when SpongeBob is sponsored by the Evil Toy Conglomerate and her friends are getting iPod Nanos and cell phones for Christmas in kindergarten. But I think that's the best way to teach kids about money - not scaring them into thinking that they won't know where their next meal is coming from if that isn't an issue, but letting them know what your family values and chooses to spend its money on.

(And it doesn't hurt to teach them about the possibility of winning those things we want either, does it?)


Lissete said...

I hope you win! I really want an iPhone too. I don't know why, I usually don't use my regular phone. But the iPhone is sooo cool! Good Luck!

Garrett Jay said...

Great post. I just posted a related topic yesterday, "Allowance is for Wimps". Even though the title is meant to grab your attention, I think we're on the same page.


Garrett Jay

PicaboMama said...

Can I give you a prize for best title? I love a good title. I have title envy now...

Hip Mom's Guide said...

Your title had me laughing out loud! And I have to agree that shortly after the hospital bill arrives is not too soon to think about (at least) teaching kids about money.