Wednesday, the girls and I made a “quick” trip to Costco, which begs the question, is there such a thing as a quick trip to Costco? All was going well. For the first 20 steps into the store.
As we walked, Caitlyn saw a huge stuffed bear. Like 53 inches tall stuffed bear. You know, only 4 inches shorter than her mother tall bear.
Next to that, was a bin of Pillow Chums (think Pillow Pets on growth hormones). The one right on top of that big cardboard box of chums? A brightly colored, beautiful unicorn. For $16.99.
Now, for those who have ever talked to Sue, or simply been in the same county as Sue, you now there is a serious love of unicorns in her heart. She saw that beautiful chum and I heard her heart skip a beat. And truly, this mama wanted to buy it for her on the spot. But there aren’t any gift giving holidays or big accomplishments to justify suck a LARGE purchase (and I couldn’t exactly smuggle it out for a future occasion), so away we walked. With a seriously sad, sad face.
Then her face brightened. What if she spent her own money on it? “We’ll see,” says the mama, futilely hoping she will forget the bed sized unicorn. She, who fights every moment of chore doing, started asking for tasks as soon as we got home. She had almost enough, but needed just a few dollars more.
She folded baskets of laundry and cleaned her sisters’ room. She had enough.
Much to mama’s chagrin.
The older girls have discovered the joy of being able to spend their own money on things. I love that they are beginning to grasp the concept of buying things, but worry they don’t quite understand that if you spend your money, it is gone. I try to limit shopping to the dollar bins at the store, or better yet, the dollar store.
I know how much I hate buyers’ remorse, and really dread them feeling it. Caitlyn has had a taste of it, thankfully from a little dollar store purchase. I hated to see Sue spend all of her money on the unicorn, but I can be very confident she will not regret it, which makes the process a bit easier.
Such was not the case with Caitlyn. That huge bear she saw that started this whole deal? $29.95. And when she looked, she discovered she did indeed have enough money for the purchase. The speed bump in this process? She’s really not that in to stuffed animals and has never expressed a desire for a teddy bear of any size. Don’t get me wrong, I think a 53 inch teddy bear is cool, but just not really her thing.
I stressed over it some. I know my daughter and did not want her to set herself up for disappointment. I talked to hubby about it and we agreed we had basically given Sue permission, but saw red flags all over Caitlyn’s purchase. I found a quick minute and talked to her about it.
“You know if you buy this, it will be ALL your money. And once you spend it is gone. I’m a little worried you will be bummed in a few days that you spent all of it on a teddy bear. You really aren’t a big stuffed animal person.”
“See, mama and daddy can be pretty okay with Sue buying the unicorn because EVERYBODY knows she is crazy about them. But you, you really seem to enjoy things you DO, Or things that are ‘real.'”
“You love your rainbow loom and roller blades and bike, you like to do and move and create. What if we look at other things they might have at Costco or we went to another store that has more of your kind of thing?”
“Yeah, I think I will look around.”
We started at the teddy bear, since it was right next to the unicorn. Not only did Caitlyn reject the big one, she poo-poo’d the smaller sizes they had as well. We headed to other parts of the store, and found some great drawing/coloring items, fun origami books and she even considered a movie, but in the end…she spent nary a nickel.
And mama breathed a sigh of relief.
Sue, proudly paid for her unicorn and Patrice her monkey (she is deeply devoted to monkeys).*
Again, mama thankfully saw Caitlyn walk out empty handed.
Daddy and I have decided it is now time to introduce the budget. I am sure the allowance they get will seem like a bonanza…until we show them the envelopes–one for giving, one for saving and one for spending. That might slow them up a bit. But, I still remember the happiness and satisfaction I got from seeing an electric pencil sharpener–it had a kitten with glasses on it and said, “I’m too smart to study and too cute to care”–saving my money and being able to purchase it. Many, many years later. I hope they will learn quickly and be able to find the same satisfaction of saving for something and purchasing it. Here’s hoping they will not only learn about money, but also (Sue) to take care of the things that matter to them.
What was the first thing you ever saved up your money to buy? Did that teach you lifelong good money habits? Are you a saver or a spender now?
*To clarify, Patrice used one of her dollars to pay for the monkey, the rest was taken care of. She is starting, younger than her sisters, but still, just starting to have any concept of money, at all.