#941: Money issues, Part 1–Hey big spender

Like most, our kids have a bit of their own money stashed away for a rainy day. While both kids have received the typical mini-windfalls from grandparents on birthdays and holidays, it is the Girl who has a nice little amount tucked away from a few assignments.

For the longest time, we (mostly I) would urge her to spend some of her money on herself on something fun. But there was always a sense of hesitation. She had a great seriousness about her when it came to money and savings, and I felt that a young kid should enjoy some of it casually, rather than put it all in a bank and worry about building it up. But as her reluctance to spend it grew, I learned to drop the subject.

Then one day shortly after her birthday, she announced that she wanted to go to the bank. She had placed a certain book on her “birthday list” of things that she’d wanted, and her grandmother hadn’t picked up on the hint. So our Girl announced, “Mama, I’d like to take out $30 to buy a book.”

On that occasion, I was proud of her for two reasons: First, that the book she had chosen was such a wonderful, interesting choice, that would bring hours of entertainment as well as education; I was glad that her first choice of something to be bought with her own money, was a smart one. Second, and what was more important, she finally understood that money needn’t be this thing placed high on a pedestal— untouchable—and that it could be spent on herself. Money couldn’t buy happiness, but it certainly could buy little things that made you happy.