Remember when you were a kid opening presents and the cards were boring? Remember how much you wanted a present to open and not just a card? To me they were not much fun, but the reason was because any money I got went straight to my parents to put in a bank account for me for when I got older. Didn’t seem much fun. But, I do have to say when I got older it was wonderful! I admit I am very glad that I didn’t get all those presents to open!
So now here we are. I am the parent now taking the envelopes. Why doesn’t it seem as easy as it was back then? It worked for a few, maybe eight, nine years. But, then my kids started thinking. The ‘wants’ now are so much pricier. I would have been happy with a Blondie Album as a 10 year old. Now forget it. It is iPods and cell phones. They decided they wanted to start ‘saving’ for these things, since they know we won’t be buying them.
Now, reading this it seems so easy to just say, ‘tell them you need to save your money, teach them, and be done with it’. Not that easy (that is what I thought too, until now).
It is sort of a catch-22. We want them to learn the value of a dollar. We want them to appreciate things and not think they can get anything and everything. So how do we do this? Do we tell them to save for the future or for things they really want now (instead of 10 years down the road)?
My tendency is to tell them to save for the future (since it really worked out well for me) and I continue to try to do this. But, in a way I sort of see their point. They realize the expense of these things, they are not expecting us to buy them, and they are figuring out ways to save their money themselves. Will this make them appreciate these things more?
So what do you do? Do you immediately take all of your kid’s money and stash it away for when they are older? Do you let them figure it out for themselves? Do you let them buy things with it but only certain things? Funny, my kids get so frustrated with gift cards, because I am usually with them when they spend them…saying, don’t get that, that would be better, do you really want to spend your money on something like that…….I just can’t help it!