As I noted in the previous post, my daughter is starting to develop a concept of money. She understands that you spend money to get things and that there are different amounts of money. She also understands that you need more money to pay for some things than others. As I’ve written, I’ve started developing a strategy for teaching her about spending habits – that you need to consider your purchase carefully and fully comprehend that once you buy something, you have less money to use to buy something else.
This weekend, a family friend gave our daughter a homemade wallet which was crafted out of duct tape. My daughter was thrilled! The first thing she said was that she needed a purse to put it into. The second thing she said was that she needed money to put in it. My husband gladly pulled a dollar out of his wallet and put it in hers. She immediately turned to me gleefully and said, “Mommy, can we go to the museum tomorrow so I can buy something else?” (the local children’s museum is where she made her first purchase).
I realized this, too, was a teachable moment. I responded, “Yes, sure, if you want to we can do that – we can go to the museum and spend your dollar, if you want.” “YAY!!!,” was her response. I continued, “However, if you want, you might consider putting your dollar into your piggy bank. If you put your dollar into the piggy bank, then every day it stays there, you’ll get a new penny.”
We had to review the logic of this several times. Up until this moment, I don’t think she was aware she had a piggy bank. I took the beautiful Eastern European clay painted pig down from a shelf in the living room and showed it to her. I explained that when we save our money in a bank, we get more money. After a review of the situation, she decided, at least for the night, to put her dollar in the piggy bank. I made a big deal of congratulating her on a great decision and showed her how to fold the dollar to fit in the slot.
The subject of the dollar has come up a few times and I’ve reminded her about the pennies. I put a penny in every day, but I usually do it at night. I don’t want her to think it’s like the tooth fairy or anything else magical, just that it’s not about money coming from Mommy and Daddy. I want her to understand that this is just what happens when you save your money – you get more.
Sometime down the road she’ll remember the dollar and decide she wants to buy something and I think that’s great. I just hope enough time will have gone by for there to be a meaningful amount of pennies in the bank so when we withdraw the dollar, she can see that her money has grown!