I’m trying to teach my son to save money, but is he listening?

05/30/2014 3:11 PM

06/03/2014 2:23 PM

I consider myself frugal. I don’t spend a lot of money on things except for maybe airplane tickets. I always whip out my phone and search for coupons on retailmenot.com in hopes of saving a few bucks. I carry coupons and shop the clearance aisle.

Paying full price makes me cringe.

It’s obvious that our son does not share this same mentality, yet.

In second grade, one assignment was to keep a checkbook throughout the year. The students had to pay rent to the teacher, and there was even a “store” on Fridays where they could buy bubble gum, toys and little tchotchke sort of things. They even got to create their own store where the entire school was welcome to purchase items they made. Bo and his buddy sold looming products, bracelets, rings, key chains and such.

This helped him realize the value of a dollar. We’ve had conversations with Bo about how much things cost. He thought water was free. It should be, since it’s an essential for life, but it’s not.

He received money for his first communion a few weeks back, and before his wallet could catch on fire he wanted to go shopping.

Maybe he wanted to save some money for later? You know, he knew having a near zero balance in his “checkbook” was not a good thing … or was it?

He spent nearly $200 on: a first-baseman glove, Nike shoes, Adidas flip-flops, Nike socks, a few toy dragons and some baseball/basketball trading cards.

Of course ol’ mom had a coupon for nearly everything. Did I necessarily agree with spending almost $40 on plastic dragons and paper cards? No. But it was his money.

He spent every single dollar.

“Why do I have to pay taxes?”

“Because, kid, this is America.”

After purchasing the last item I asked him if he thought he spent his money wisely.

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Didn’t you want to save some for later?”

“No.”

“What if there’s something that’s really expensive that you can’t afford until you save your money?”

He shrugged.

This is a financial lesson we need to work on.

Just the other day I explained to him the difference between a debit and credit card.

I told him using the debit card was better. Spend the money you have, not the money you don’t have.

“Mom, can’t you just buy me stuff if I need it?”

“Not forever.”

To reach Tasha Fabela-Jonas, call 816-234-4886 or send email to tasha@inkkc.com.

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