Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Money Week (Part II)

Money 101

While I firmly believe in equality between women and men, it seems that I established yesterday that women and men view the world a little differently sometimes. While Varuzh loves hanging out at the electronics department, I would much rather spend my time checking out the new Mark Jacobs spring collection. Meanwhile, Varuzh is always gets dumbfolded as to how I can spend so much time in a shoe department and not get bored. Okay, so while we may want to spend our money on different things, we still need to learn how to budget, how to divide money between necessities, entertainment and saving for the future.

I have to post a disclaimer though: I am somewhat lousy with my finances. I do not have much money saved for a bad day, but I do have my Channel pumps which I love dearly… and hope that I won’t have a bad day. This, however, does not necessarily mean that I don’t know what’s right or wrong.

Well, when I was growing up, the word money was not a part of conversation between adults and kids. It was not customary. Apparently, we were supposed to figure it out on our own, and, sooner or later, we did. Life and reality taught us and, depending on our personalities, we would have an easier time or more difficult time with it since some of us have personalities of savers, some of investors, some of bargain seekers, and some would rather be dead than seen near sales racks.

Trying to stay away from the old fashion traditions, I thought it is important to be open to teaching our kids, girls and boys, all about money. We , rich or poor, should take them to work with us to show what we do to earn money; we should take them to the bank, to the stores, to the movies’ box office. Then, once they learn how money works, they have to learn patiently collect the money for things they chose.

“I want to get a Fish Game,” Alex told me after he earned and saved his first dollar. Our deal is that he earns a quarter per day if he completes number of chores and keeps his body calm for at least two hours each day. 

“Sure you can! After you earn enough, of course,” I said knowing that the game costs $6.99.

After we calculated how many days he needed to work to earn the money for the game, Alex asked me if he could get the game now and if I could just not pay him until he paid off the amount.

“Nice try, Alex,” I said. “But you have been working for money for only four days so far. How do I know if you will keep working well?”

Alex knew I had a point. After thinking a little, he asked to purchase ringtones for his alarm for “only 99 cents”.

“Are you sure you want to spend your money on something like that? Don’t you want to save for the game?”

“No,” he said. “I really want the ringtones I think.”

Believe me, while I am willing to pay $500 for a pair of shoes, I had a very hard time to let Alex spend a dollar on such a silly purchase! But it was not my place to decide, and was not my money either. So when the purchase was complete through my credit card, Alex paid me his dollar and I gave him one penny back.

The next day I found him no longer interested in the ringtones and regretting that he spent four days worth of earnings on that. Lesson is learned! And better at seven than later.

I felt very proud of myself for letting Alex spend that dollar and for not giving in and not buying him the fish game he originally wanted, when later I saw his disappointed face.  I hope that one day he will truly benefit from this, because, just like me, it looks like he has a personality of a… spender...

With love always,
xo Zuma A.

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