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Teachable Money Moments

First came the foreclosures. Lots and lots of them. Then the price of oil shot through the roof. Now, the whole financial sector's on shaky ground, and our lawmakers are talking intricacies of bailout and how it affects taxpayers.

This whole monetary crisis seems like as good a time as any to talk money with our kids. In a series that has been running in The Post's Sunday Business section for several weeks, Kiplinger's Janet Bodnar writes about how to teach kids about money, something we've also tackled here before. Start them on an allowance at age 6 to 7, she says, giving them money equal to half their age. Tie the money to financial "chores" rather than household ones, she advises. That means they spend their own money on toys or collectibles that they want.

The bank account comes somewhere between ages 8 and 10, Bodnar says, noting that it's hard for children to understand that money going into an account in a bank is still their's. Next comes allowance expansion and more spending rules, around ages 11 to 13. By 14 or 15, you may be tempted to switch from cash to prepaid debit cards. Bodnar's advice: Don't. Kids still need the lessons afforded by cold, hard cash.

All this allowance talk, though, is only scratching the surface. The real point of all this is to teach our offspring how to manage their money properly when they're all grown up. And that means grabbing onto teachable moments. One I've used in the past few months is having the kids predict the total dollar amount of gas that will fill up the car. We talk with the boys about how much it was last time, or the most its ever been. And we show them where the price per gallon is listed at the station. Another is showing the difference between purchasing toys at a yard sale and how much those same toys cost new at the store.

And you know that dreaded ice cream truck? The one with overpriced junk that hits the park right at dinnertime with its enticing music? A mom friend told me she cured the ice cream demands by showing her son how much one ice cream cost at the truck. She took him to the store and spent that same money on a big box of ice cream so he could see how much more he got for his money.

How have you been teaching your children the value of a dollar? And how much has our current financial state factored into your family chatter? Are you using the news of the past week to teach them about the stock market, for instance?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  September 24, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Family Finances , Newsmakers
Previous: Got Lice? Get the Facts | Next: 6 Food Myths for Parents to Debunk

Comments


When they demand money for doing things like making their bed, dishes, etc that need to be done around the house ask them to pay for their dinner, snacks and maid service.

Posted by: Me | September 24, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Didn't we do this topic before?

Posted by: ? | September 24, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Ah Stacey, you forgot the most important lesson of all. The lesson about setting a good example. Every parent needs to show every child how to respect money. How to live within your means. How doing without leads to a more secure future down the road. How there is more to life than keeping up with the Joneses. And, finally, how to treat those less fortunate than you with the same respect you show those in your "class".

If we all did that, just think how different our world would be.

Posted by: jen | September 24, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse


I have my kids help me plant the money tree every spring. They become disappointed when it doesn't bloom later on in the year. In the fall, I teach them money doesn't grow on trees!

Posted by: horticulturist | September 24, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

jen - i respectfully disagree. i have 2 cousins who have opposite spending habits. they were brought up with the same "values" but reacted to them in different ways. in the case of one cousin he got a high paying job in the computer field right outta school. his sister got a much lower paying job in the academic field.

my son has an allowance. he also has a bank acct. i think he understands that the money is his. he's had an allowance since he was 3 or so. in those early years, yes, he spent his money foolishly but now that he's older he is learning to delay gratification.

Posted by: quark | September 24, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

quark - I guess I was trying to make a point here, not to suggest that setting a good example would teach every child about money. I just think that to try to teach a child something without following those principles yourself is a mistake.

Posted by: jen | September 24, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I just think that to try to teach a child something without following those principles yourself is a mistake.

Posted by: jen | September 24, 2008 8:34 AM

True that!

Posted by: Whacky | September 24, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

What do mean by different spending habits? You only provide details of their different methods of earning money.

Posted by: to quark | September 24, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Did any of you have parents like mine? When I was a teenager, I asked them how much they paid for their house and I got the "None of your damned business" line. I was just curious, it's not like I was going to rush over to my friend's place and announce that my parents paid $65,250 for the house with a 30 year mortgage, 20% down at 6 and a quarter percent with an eight year balloon.

Needless to say, when I bought my first house, I was exceptionally clueless with anything that had to do with real estate. Equity? What's that? Tax deductions on interest payments? Buying points? Refinancing? Foreclosure? Deed insurance? Escroe? Market value? About the only term I knew was the word "assessment", and I learned that one from playing Monopoly.

In short, when I put my signature on 40 (or 140?) sheets of paper at "closing" time, I really had to trust the people I was dealing with that they weren't completely ripping me off. I'm glad I bought my house when I did and wasn't a 1st time house buyer back a few years ago when the predatory lending scandles were rampant. With so many parents with attitudes like mine, and the total lack of public education about property ownership, it's no mystery to me why the bottom fell out of our nation's housing markets. I'm lucky not to be a victim.

The small beans of balancing your kids' allowance with chores, work, savings, toys, and "teaching" your children to be charitable by forcing them to put their hard earned money in the collection plate is unavoidable for parents. There are about 1000 different ways of doing it, all good.

As for the big financial picture - loans, credit cards, mortgages, mutual funds, tax-defered retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, life insurance, investment portfolios, I say it's a good idea for parents to share their own personal information with their curious teenagers as teachable moments. If you wait till you surrender power of attorney to your kid because you are too weak in the head to teach them this stuff, it'll be way too late!

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 24, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Whacky Weasel

"Needless to say, when I bought my first house, I was exceptionally clueless with anything that had to do with real estate"

Why? Did someone hold a gun to your head to prevent you from learning stuff?

The price of your house is public record; your kids can look it up. And your bad credit.

Posted by: Huh | September 24, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Hooey! Tie the allowance to household chores (you don't get something for nothing). What exactly is a financial chore? Make the allowance small enough that the kids have to make choices rather than afford everything. No new toys every shopping trip (even if the parents do feel guilty for dumping the kids off in a daycare center). New toys for birthdays and major gift-giving holidays only. Sodas and candy from allowance funds only. All of this teaches budgeting and setting priorities with limited resources. ...and no pay for grades! They're SUPPOSED to get good grades.

Posted by: SpareTheRod | September 24, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

my female cousin is very trifty. saving her money. shops carefully. not materialistic. her brother is very live for the moment with his money. new car every couple of years. eating out at "in" resturants. starbucks lattes. does that help explain it?

some of that is a reflection of their different income levels but some of that is just their personalities. however, income level is only part of the picture. i see the same thing with my husband & his sisters. they have wal-mart type jobs yet spend like there is no tomorrow. my husband has a great job but saves much more than he spends.

i do agree that parental lifestyle can play a role in how kids view money. we try to model behavior that indicates our values.

wacky, i agree that parents should talk about money; not necessarily down to the last dollar but give your child some guidance. one month i had a very high visa bill. i talked about it with my son & told him that next month i would have to be more careful with my spending to balance it out. well, i wasn't as careful as i thought i was & i talked to my son about where i slipped up. we joke that i'm not allowed in target because it's those little purchases that add up quickly over time. this month i was very good & when my credit card bill came & my son asked about it i show it to him. we talked about it again.

Posted by: quark | September 24, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

you are silly. As are most of the comments that you post here. Frankly, I'd use stronger language but I'm trying hard to be nice.

I'm with the previous poster. I was a good student and did a lot on my own growing up. But, I knew very little about finances, mortgages, etc. These things were never discussed with me. Not by parents. Not in ANY school. I had barely heard the terms. Is that so hard for you to comprehend? If so, you are lucky. But, I know a lot of people who are like me.

Posted by: Huh . . . | September 24, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

this month i was very good & when my credit card bill came & my son asked about it i show it to him. we talked about it again.

Posted by: quark | September 24, 2008 9:48 AM

This month you were very good, huh? How old are you? How old is the kid? Do you have any adult friends?

Posted by: wow | September 24, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm with the previous poster. I was a good student and did a lot on my own growing up. But, I knew very little about finances, mortgages, etc. These things were never discussed with me. Not by parents. Not in ANY school. I had barely heard the terms. Is that so hard for you to comprehend? If so, you are lucky. But, I know a lot of people who are like me.

Posted by: Huh . . . | September 24, 2008 9:55 AM

Darwnism takes its course....

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The talk about money is a lot like the talk about sex. It has to be open, honest and on going.

But don't kid yourself, no matter what you "teach" them, your children will make their own choices as adults. The same parents can aid each one of their children with the same financial information and the adult children can make very different choices later on.

My daughter is still very little and doesn't really understand the financial transactions. But I think I would start small like an allowance tied to chores that go above and beyond the normal expected chores. The money would be used for "fun" purchases that we won't cover; like the ice cream man etc...

One idea that I liked a lot was a wish book. My friend kept a notebook for her daughter. When her daughter wanted an item or toy they pasted a copy of the picture in the wish book. She then wrote down the total cost of the item (with tax and shipping). Under that, she wrote how many weeks of allowance it would take to earn the item. Her daughter would then start saving part of her allowance into the long term savings acct (piggy bank). Sometimes by the time she had saved enough, she decided she no longer wanted the wish book item, sometimes they purchased it, and sometimes, they choose a different toy to buy. She also taught her that it is OK to just leave some wish book items as dream items. Like the $600 basket ball hoop or the $300 electric toy car. There is nothing wrong with dreaming.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 24, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Correction: Darwinism takes its course...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed Weasal's story about growing up with money secretive parents.

My parents were the opposite. My Dad was always ready to talk about and show me money, bills, investments, etc. Later he convinced me to open my IRA, etc.

Regarding all the complex financial stuff, the best advice for kids and all of us is to keep everything as simple as possible. Fixed rate mortgages after you have saved a down payment are the easiest to understand and the most advantageous.

Posted by: A Dad | September 24, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

As for the big financial picture - loans, credit cards, mortgages, mutual funds, tax-defered retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, life insurance, investment portfolios, I say it's a good idea for parents to share their own personal information with their curious teenagers as teachable moments. If you wait till you surrender power of attorney to your kid because you are too weak in the head to teach them this stuff, it'll be way too late!


Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 24, 2008 9:24 AM


Tell this to my mom. She lives with us, because she had a stroke last year. She's alert and competent now, but when the (untreated) post-stroke dementia had kicked in, she was very suspicious about her finances and refused to give me or my sibling power of attorney. Luckily, things worked themselves out and she improved. But the suspicion is still there. For now, she manages her money okay, but I dreading the day that she will need help. At that point, I'll have to step in legally and take over, since she is not being very forthcoming now.

I try to teach my kids to not expect toys all the time, or to desire a lot of expensive things. We make very good use of the dollar store and thrift store also. As for "class," that's really more of a state of mind than income level, isn't it? At least, that's what I was taught.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 24, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

My parents grew up during the Depression and WWII. They did without a lot of things; therefore, their children did without them, too. The first house I remember didn't have indoor plumbing, no TV, no telephone. We didn't get a phone until I was 15 years old. We had one car which Dad used to drive to work. Mom was left at home with the kids and no car. Out in the boonies, not within walking distance of anything. I worked two jobs to pay for my own college tuition along with all my living expenses. You'd be surprised how much you can do without if you really have to. You people are raising greedy little sponges who expect everything they want handed to them with no effort. I think we could all use a good belt-tightening and a little deprivation 'for old time's sake.'

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Much like sex-ed, we have age-appropriate discussions with our children about money. In the age of electronic banking, there are few times that we actually have 'money' in our pockets. So, we often have discussions about how credit works, how banks make money off of those who over-spend, etc. We also have our older children shadow us when we pay bills, stressing how money flows in and out of the household. This has become such a concern with one of my friends in CA that he formed a company to help parents teach their very young children financial management. Our kids are too old, but you may want to check out (shameless plug coming in 3..2..1) http://www.themoneymammals.com/ or google money mammals.

Posted by: bontster | September 24, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"I worked two jobs to pay for my own college tuition along with all my living expenses. You'd be surprised how much you can do without if you really have to."

No, I wouldn't.

"You people are raising greedy little sponges who expect everything they want handed to them with no effort. I think we could all use a good belt-tightening and a little deprivation 'for old time's sake.'

You badly need to get a sense of humor and to get thoroughly laid. You'll feel a lot better.

Posted by: Dr. Zhivago | September 24, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Foamgnome you said what I was going to say but better!

Posted by: Shandra | September 24, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

foamgnome: Love the wishbook idea. I did something similar with my Lego-loving son. The Lego magazine comes in the mail every month and he would go on and on about every single Lego he was going to buy. So, I had him cut them all out and paste them on construction paper. We researched and wrote down how much each one cost. He soon decided that he was going to run Legoland and charge all kids just $1 for all the Legos they wanted ;-)

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | September 24, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

10:18: We are all so thrilled to know that you will still be happy when we make deep cuts into your social security check and medicare remibursements. After all, it is for old times sake! :)

Posted by: foamgnome | September 24, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

My kids both have bank accounts that we opened when they were born. Half of any birthday or Christmas money, and also half of my son's allowance (daughter's too young), goes into the account, no discussion. The other half is theirs to spend on whatever. My son has chosen to save the reminder of his birthday/christmas/allowance money for the past year toward buying a computer and a car. He is not interested in buying much, although that would change if we allowed him to buy a GPS or a cell phone. Since we won't allow that, he simply deposits whatever he can.

I don't know if we're doing a good job teaching them about money. We don't have those discussions around them, although we have talked about the price of gas and the cost of food going up. We could do better, I suppose. My stepdaughter gets an annual allowance while she's at school and she is responsible for using it appropriately so she doesn't run out.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 24, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

and no pay for grades! They're SUPPOSED to get good grades.

I would argue that they are supposed to do their chores and contribute to the household. Tying the allowance to the chores certainly gives them the option to forgo the allowance and the chores. Our kids get allowance by our good grace and are expected to do their chores because they are a member of the household and we all do our part because we are a family, not because someone gets paid.

Posted by: Moxiemom | September 24, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"Darwinism takes its course..."

I would much rather you write "You are stupid" than drag me into it. "Darwinism" has nothing to do with being dumb, financial fortitude, or luck.

Posted by: Chuck D | September 24, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The Anonymous poster who grew up with no indoor plumbing, tv, or telephone sounds a lot like Childless by Choice. She just can't stay away, can she?

Posted by: long time lurker | September 24, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The Anonymous poster who grew up with no indoor plumbing, tv, or telephone sounds a lot like Childless by Choice. She just can't stay away, can she?

Posted by: long time lurker | September 24, 2008 11:24 AM

Was she the long-time mistress of a married man?

Posted by: Not sure | September 24, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Good article and a timely topic. Another great thing to try is setting goals. This teaches the all-important concept of delayed gratification. It works for kids as young as five. We cut out a picture of a scooter our daughter wanted and taped it to her Save jar. She saved her allowance for almost two months. The purchase afforded us two other teachable moments - the scooter was on sale when we bought it, so we pointed out how much she saved. Also, we pointed out that the scooters with characters plastered all over them were more expensive and of a lower quality. I know she got the latter point, because she reminded me of it a few months later.

Posted by: John | September 24, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

John

"We cut out a picture of a scooter our daughter wanted and taped it to her Save jar."

With this method work to get my fat wife to lose weight (picture of a hot girl on the fridge)?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Was she the long-time mistress of a married man?

Posted by: Not sure | September 24, 2008 11:28 AM

Bingo.

Posted by: long-time lurker | September 24, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"In short, when I put my signature on 40 (or 140?) sheets of paper at "closing" time, I really had to trust the people I was dealing with that they weren't completely ripping me off."

You mean you dumped off the responsibility for one of the more important transactions in your life to other adults. There's no excuse for blaming your parents for continuing ignorance. You could have taken a class at community college. You could have grabbed a book. You could have used your Internet time learning about how to buy a first home instead of posting on blogs.

It's not up to other people in a transaction to look out for your interests and it does not mean they are not trustworthy if you enter into a contract that is disadvantageous to you. Where is your wife in this picture?

Posted by: to whacky | September 24, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

You mean you dumped off the responsibility for one of the more important transactions in your life to other adults. There's no excuse for blaming your parents for continuing ignorance. You could have taken a class at community college. You could have grabbed a book. You could have used your Internet time learning about how to buy a first home instead of posting on blogs.

Posted by: to whacky | September 24, 2008 11:49 AM

No, no, no! If Whacky accepts responsibilty for his life, the professional victim/martyr act goes right out the window!

Posted by: No can do | September 24, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Hi Stacey – Excellent blog entry! I think it’s great that you are starting the money talks young. The best way for young children to learn is through incorporating lessens into every day activities, and it sounds like that is exactly what you are doing! Another helpful math activity you could do with your kids is opening savings accounts for them. Let them have the happy experience of seeing their deposits grow, watch as interest payments increase the amount, and realize that their purchase goals -- a new bike, new sports equipment, spending money for next summer's vacation -- are becoming more realistic. This also is a values lesson about financial responsibility, savings, telling the difference between wants and needs, and spending priorities. It's never too early to develop the skills, habits, and attitudes that will serve your kids for their lifetimes. And for more math tips, check out my blog entry on the topic at http://www.drrickblog.com/post/2008/08/12/Teaching-Math-To-Your-Children.aspx. – Dr. Rick

Posted by: Dr. Rick | September 24, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Rick

Stacey is middle-aged. Ratch up the pep talk.

Posted by: Ha,ha | September 24, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

No can do, "If Whacky accepts responsibilty"

If you are going to talk about responsibility, at least spell it correctly.

What a dope!

Posted by: You just exposed your stupidity | September 24, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

No can do, "If Whacky accepts responsibilty"

If you are going to talk about responsibility, at least spell it correctly.

What a dope!

Posted by: You just exposed your stupidity | September 24, 2008 12:55 PM


I stand corrected.

Posted by: No can do | September 24, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how much the boys have been paying attention to DH's and my recent discussions of the economy. We aren't trying to leave them out, but if they aren't interested...

Mostly, I've been reassuring DH that we're still going to be okay. I work for a major financial services company, and all the bad news is scary! Fortunately, I work for one of the companies that's in good shape, and is likely to be buying up assets from the ones which are in trouble. Our CEO was recently quoted as saying he felt "like a kid in a candy store."

Our kids don't get allowances, as such. They have regular household chores, laundry, taking out garbage, sorting recycling, feeding pets, etc. which are simply expected as being part of the family. They pay for their own toys and video games by earning the money doing extra jobs around the house, mostly. They're both pretty flush right now because we just built a new backyard fence and they got paid for their work on it. Older son is a saver, but younger son's money is always burning a hole in his pocket.

Most of my extended family consults me for financial advice - but then they don't follow it! My dad will be admitting (again!) soon that he should have bought stock in the company I work for back in '92. Every few years when the market dips and his investments lose value, we have the same conversation.

Posted by: Sue | September 24, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Most of my extended family consults me for financial advice - but then they don't follow it!

Sue

The Druids put a curse on your family in the old country.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Nope - wrong part of Europe, it would have been the Saxons.

Posted by: Sue | September 24, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I, too, grew up with parents who refused to talk about money. I feel like when I was in college and thinking about what to study and what career path to take, I didn't think at all about how much a job paid and how it would impact my lifestyle. Now I regret all the things I didn't know about money -- not having started saving earlier and so forth. We have lots of talks about money with our kids and I hope they won't repeat my mistakes

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"I feel like when I was in college and thinking about what to study and what career path to take, I didn't think at all about how much a job paid and how it would impact my lifestyle."

Oh, brother. There are no guarantees in life.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

My parents talked about money a lot - we don't have money to afford XYZ, turn off the lights, who do you think pays the electric bill? blahblahblah.

So, as soon as I could, I started to earn money, to pay for things that I wanted that my parents wouldn't buy for me. (I grew up in a very wealthy neighborhood, and we just didn't have the right clothes/etc - now not such a big deal, but when trying to fit in as a teenager...).

I was always fearful that we were going to lose the house, that we couldn't afford food next week, etc. That was hardly the case, but the way my parents talked, that was how it made me feel. As I said, I always had at least one, typically two or three, sources of income at any given time. (except now, when I'm a bonbon eating, oprah watching, housewife...;).

My husband and I aren't necessarily more well off than I was growing up - we would have been fine if we had lived in a different part of town, but my parents bought a house in the more expensive part, so their mortgage was higher and their taxes were higher. My husband and I both are very good with our money - and we were before we even met. (I truly don't understand not talking about money before getting married - it's important to know your spouse's values about everything, and it's strange to me how people don't discuss that).

So it's tough to get through to our 6 YO about money. If something breaks or he loses something or whatever, he says: oh, we can just go to the store and get a new one. I really don't want that to be his reaction - I want him to take care of his things, and not think we're just going to replace stuff if he loses it. We don't give him an allowance yet, but I'm thinking that we will soon. We have set up small accounts at our bank for both the kids, and soon maybe will discuss how they have interest in there, etc. We set up 529's as soon as they were born and all money for birthdays, whatever, goes in there.

We recently went thru the piggy bank for older son cause he's wanted pokemon cards forever. So we took money out, and gave him some to take to the store, so he could buy it with 'his' money. But then my husband buys him some stuff over and above that. I wasn't so angry...but still...

So he has his own piggy bank, and people put coins in there from time to time, and so do we, and if the kids find money anywhere they put it in. I think my son is starting to get it. We talk about why we are and aren't making certain purchases, how money gets in the bank, how we get it out, why we aren't buying -whatever- (i.e., I'll say: I'm saving for a vacation for the family, or my husband will say he's saving for the star wars wii game).

My parents never talked about mortgages/insurance/whatever. I took a business class in high school that covered some of it, I guess - but maybe I read a whole lot as a kid? Cause I was completely and totally into the whole saving/investing/buy a house as soon as possible thing. It was definitely in my head, and I was a saver (my sister spent every penny she had, she would never have food at home, always ate out, etc - other sister never ever had any money to her name). I was always a saver - my mom would borrow money from me from time to time if she needed cash (this was WELL before ATMs...when you had to write a check to the bank to withdraw money, and banks are never open...).

And when we went to college, my mom would send a check every month - she knew we were okay, cause we were on campus in the beginning, and so we wouldn't starve, but we were tasked with opening a checking account, getting the check from her, figuring out our expenses, etc. I knew people who had their parents pay all their bills for them in college, and it never made sense to me (how are the kids going to learn...?).


Posted by: atlmom | September 24, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

atlmom, that's what i mean when i say that the parents can set the tone but every kid is different. one of the things i've read is not to tell your child you can't afford something when you obviously can. that sends a mixed message to your child & can make your child resentful when they get older & realize that you could have afforded something. talk about why you choose to spend (or not) your money the way you do. tell me about pokemon cards! those have given my son some very good lessons in saving or spending. the quick gratification of the $4.99 pack or saving for the bigger $14.99 pack.

to wow - you mean you're not my friend. aren't all of this on this blog friends? disclaimer, since wow seems to be a little tightly wrapped; this is supposed to be facetious.

Posted by: quark | September 24, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Right, quark. Of course, we can afford more $4.99 pokemon cards...but then, ya know, I'd also like to go out to dinner sometime. Or eat nicer stuff. Or have a vacation.
My mom did some incredible penny pinching when we were kids (we all had our CSS educations paid for, though). Testament to her, really, since my dad always spent every penny he had. He never had access to the checkbook, she kept all the finances, etc. I think the first time I saw him write a check I was shocked, since I guess I figured he wasn't allowed to write checks or something.

It's funny, cause my kid will ask for something, and then I say; well, I can pay for that or send you to college (not a pony, per se, but same league?) - and he will inevitably pick the thing, rather than college. And I laugh inside, cause he can't get to choose everything, right, but ya know, in a few years, perhaps he MIGHT appreciate the college education...?

Posted by: atlmom | September 24, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I have my kids use dollar bills for toilet paper. They're cheaper than buying a pack of Charmin. They'll be even cheaper once we get that $700 billion bailout.

Posted by: Ben Bernanke | September 24, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I use toilet paper with Obama's face on it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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