While at an event for my sons school this week, I made an observation that got me thinking. I was in charge of purchasing, pricing and selling concessions for a fundraiser. One of the parents pointed out that I had marked an item considerably higher than it should have been. We agreed to lower the price and reimburse students who paid the higher price. At this time only a few purchases had been made. Instead of taking the refund, one student decided he would simply have twice as many items. It seems he didn’t feel that the price was out of line and was thrilled to have gotten twice as much for the same price. Of course you can probably guess that the item was candy. Although I anticipated this would happen, I was trying to encourage students to purchase healthier items at a lower price and priced candy higher hoping to discourage their selection.
So is this a case of pricing appropriately or understanding the value of money. When do kids learn the value of money? How do we as parents help them make that connection? Why is it that my daughter has already spent money she hasn’t earned and my son won’t spend a single cent for fear he may never earn more?
We have never had much luck with giving our children an allowance. We firmly believe that our household operates best when we think of it as a team effort. We all need to contribute to chores in order to keep things running smoothly. Both kids have savings accounts and are encouraged to contribute 1/2 of the money they receive from gifts to savings and are allowed to keep the other half for things they might want to purchase. My daughter has a really hard time with this since the list of things she “needs” is a mile long. It was only recently that I saw the lightbulb go off for her during a trip to Target. I had given her $150 to redecorate her room. In the past I would have held on to the money and we would have added things up; however, this time I gave her a Visa gift card and she was in control. She really had to consider a $60 bed-skirt. It was a real eye opener for me and for her too.
As we start to enter the dog-days of winter, I find myself purging closets and have made multiple trips to consignment stores, thrift shops and the dump. I aim to focus on helping my children to realize that less is more. Make good choices and choose well-made items that will stand the test of time. We don’t need to have more to be happy, even if we do love a bargain. And that space in our closets…let’s just leave it there for now.