Thursday, August 19, 2010

Have You Had "The Talk" WIth Your Kids?

No, not that talk. My kids are only 4, 2, and 4 months! I mean the talk about money. This is also a BIG one. And one that needs to be repeated.

Let me tell you about how this all came about.

Last night after church we stopped by our old neighbor's house to chat for a couple of minutes on our way home from church. We miss them terribly and haven't connected in awhile. Our old yard looks...awful. Seriously, the place looks like it has been foreclosed on and that no one lives there. That bad. The lawn is not mowed, the flower garden has not been weeded (think several feet tall weeds), there are weeds growing up between all the cracks in the sidewalk/driveway. The gate to the privacy fence is never closed, and there are some vertical blinds missing in the big front window...that they have hung a princess themed sheet over the gap. My little ornamental weeping cherry tree that I always trimmed so carefully...a mess. A complete mess. (We had bought the house from someone I used to work with and the tree had been a gift when her grandfather passed...I always remembered that and tried to honor his memory.)

Some yard work has been done. The new owner had two HUGE beautiful maple trees removed. But didn't plant grass over where they were. It is just so sick.

Upon returning home, I remembered that some of the bushes in our new front yard needed to be trimmed. I was going to wait for fall and cooler weather...but I took vengeance for my old yard upon my new one today.

I (stupidly) got out my pruning sheers and pruned the daylights out of the first overgrown bush. Then when I noticed that the woody stems were really hard to cut through and that I had given myself no less than five large blisters, I went for the lopping sheers and finished the job. There was a TON of debris left in my wake.

Snug was running around outside and I made him a deal. If he'd load all of the debris into his wagon and dispose of it (some to the mulch pile, some to the yard waste bag) I'd pay him. He agreed. It is in the nineties today, and the work took him close to forty minutes (filled the wagon two times). I paid him four quarters.

Ever since we did Financial Peace University we have been trying to instill the same money values in our kids. One of the first things we do with them is to give them three banks. One is labeled "Give" one "Save" and one "Spend". Monkey Man will be getting his "give" and "save" banks here soon. We use empty Parmesan cheese jars for this, we keep it simple people.

When they earn money (pennies for little jobs, dimes for medium jobs, quarters for hour-long-hot-in-the-sun jobs) we have taught Snug to put the money in the three banks and say "Give to someone who needs it" "Save for something you need" "Spend on something I want". I'm not sure why we never divvy out nickles...I never have nickels hanging around. Why is that? They don't get paid for everything they help out with around the house, many jobs are done because we are a family and families work together.

Today we went a step further. Although Snug has spent some of his money in the past (saved up birthday money for a toy, given money to Operation Christmas Child and missions) he has never just went to his "spend" jar and spent it because he has it. I asked Snug if he'd like an ice cream cone, and he decided that he would. Before he put the two remaining quarters into his "spend" bank I told him that an ice cream at McDonald's cost fifty cents, and that is what two quarters is.

When Monkey Man and Rosebud went down for a nap, daddy stayed home and mommy and Snug went on a "date". He ordered, payed for, and ate his hard earned treat. As we sat at the table I decided to talk to him more about money. He has wanted to do some things this summer that we didn't have money to do, and we have simply told him "we don't have the money". Don't feel too bad for the little guy, he's had a fun-filled summer.

As we sat there enjoying each other's company we talked about where money comes from he showed me he already knows that God gave daddy his job and that is how we have a house to live in and food to eat. Today's topic was more specific about how he likes to turn on the light in his bedroom or that we get to have gas in the van. I told him that we have money we give, save, and spend also. But spending money isn't just for things you want like ice cream. First of all you have to pay bills and such like.

He noted that I had recently gotten a new rug for the living room, and I told him that indeed I had, but that I had saved for literally months to be able to buy it. Oh, I will SOOO have to post pictures of the rug too, I L O V E it. That is totally not part of the story, sorry.

Anyway, then he asked where our money was. Did I have a penny bank (that is what he calls his piggy banks, and in all fairness when some of the banks look like pigs and some like empty recycled food containers...penny bank is a better word) and where was it? I then explained that we use a bank building to put our money in. Next month when I go and fill envelopes (another Financial Peace thing) I'll have to make sure he is included in the process.

One thing that he said that cracked me up was he asked why we put our money in a bank. I told him because some people would sin against us and steal money if we just had it all sitting around. He said "like litterbugs! They'd steal our money and THEN put their trash on the ground!" I have to remember that he is only four.

Litterbugs aside, I really feel that our "date" and fifty cent ice cream made an impact on him. I think that the money talk needs to be made with all kids, and made whenever the opportunity arises. Our society is a "give it to me now and I'll spend even what I don't have" mess. Being smart with money, not buying what you can't afford, and finding ways to save money/be frugal are Biblical values to teach your children.

Go ahead, have the talk!


Laura Johnston said...

Awesome Jenney! What a great life skill to learn when you are young. I'm a little jealous, ice cream here is a whole dollar!

nancy said...

You are a great Mom!