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September 29, 2011

The Value of Money

It’s rare that I have cash in my wallet. For so many years now, my hubby and I have charged all our daily expenses, paying our balance in full at the end of the month. In addition to earning credit card rewards, it’s just so convenient.

Enter the girls, and convenience is more important than ever. Outside of the farmer’s market – where hubby handles the transactions, while I handle the girls – I can’t remember the last time I paid cash for something.

[And if I’m being completely honest, the thought of money is pretty gross to me, too. I know my credit card is far from clean, but cash and coins can be downright grimy!]

The girls and I talk about money on a regular basis. We look through the sale papers together, noting which fruits and veggies are on sale. They see me clipping coupons, and sing the little jingle I made up, “Clip some coupons…save some money!” with great fervor. As we do our grocery shopping, I comment (often ad nauseam) about what is a good price, and explaining why we’re not buying asparagus this week because it’s not a good price.

The girls were playing with some wooden puzzle pieces a week or so ago. They each put a big handful in their purses, declared it was “money”, and said they were going shopping.

[Under very strict supervision] I let them play with a tub of buttons yesterday. They were content to look at the colors and textures for a few minutes, but they were most excited about transferring the buttons from a pile on the floor to a bucket…and then they wanted to run off with their bucket full of “money”. [That was the end of my tolerance for playing with such tiny pieces…the buttons were promptly put away.]

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but those two exchanges actually amaze me. I don’t know where they picked it up, but the girls seem to have a sense for the physicality of money. And, although I know it’s a much larger concept, I think this presents an opportunity to continue to explore the value of money.

So…maybe it’s worth me putting away the plastic occasionally for the girls to see me paying with paper money and nickels and dimes.

Maybe they should have a piggy bank that’s more than just ornamental.

And maybe we’ll just invest in more wet wipes to bathe our hands after any such exchanges.


Just Another Mom of Twins said...

We are also the sans-cash couple...but I hear you about maybe re-thinking things. Ave & Bryce are still too young, I'm just looking forward to a few words to come....LOL!

I struggle all the time with how I am going to teach them about the value of gives me a headache just pondering it!

Good luck!

Beth said...

We also rarely carry cash. When Will was 2yo, he was with me at the store one day and took my credit card from my hand to try to swipe it through the machine on his own. He knew how that thing worked! It kind of freaked me out. Also in my past life(when i worked outside of the home) I was a credit manager. I purchased sales finance accounts. This meant I looked at people's financial lives every day. I was often blown away by how poorly people are trained in proper money management. Well educated people with good jobs making a lot of money who seem to have no idea how to handle it.

Anyway, I have every intention of teaching our children about money. I still think that our quads are a bit young to handle money of their own. When Will was five years old, he started getting 'allowance.' He got $3/wk. One $ went straight into his savings account. One $ was to be donated (I absolutely love how proud he is to put his dollar in the collection basket at mass each week!) The third $ goes into his piggy bank. I encourage him to set short term saving goals with that money. Right now he is saving up for a new Lego set he wants.

At your girls' age, I think you're doing a great job. Just talking about money. Spending wisely. letting them see you clip coupons to get the best deal.

Sorry about the super long comment, but this is something that I feel really strongly about. Glad to see that you are already thinking about it!

Barbara Manatee said...

I also use my credit card far more often than cash (but also pay the balance each month). So much so that when J&S were learning about money and value this summer in preschool, Sarah INSISTED to her teacher that I didn't know anything about money. When Leah corrected her and said I did but maybe I just hadn't talked to her about it, she said "No. She doesn't know anything about money" very sternly! ha!

Ironically...she did then admit that I'd had to go to "2 banks" (ATMs) that week to get money so we could go to the Farmer's Market (1 ATM was out of cash so we had to go to a 2nd one). ha!

My BIL got the kids each a cheap piggy bank this last Christmas and my MIL brings envelopes full of change each time she stops by for them to fill their pigs with. We don't have a chore chart but if the kids are being especially helpful or good, we'll reward with some $$ so they can put them in. They all love putting $$ in their banks and cant' wait till they're full!

Julia said...

Your thoughts on how dirty money is made me laugh. I hardly ever have cash either, and I think I admitted in another post that I carry my own pen around with me to sign credit card receipts. Because I'm pretty sure the black plague could be lurking on those pens--eeks!

Isn't it so amazing what the babes pick up on?! I'm constantly amazed, and as I read all your posts, I know I'll be amazed probably for the rest of their lives. Anyway---love the whole idea of teaching your girls about the value of money. Such a great lesson that's never too early to teach.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

We use a good deal of cash b/c all of my tutoring is paid in cash and I love it.

The Crazies have piggy banks (actually, they're an elephant and giraffe, but we don't lose points for that, right?) and we give them coins. They have no concept of the value yet and think the quarters (because they're bigger) are better. It's just cute to get them involved. We have no intention of starting allowance until they're 5.