Neither my husband or I grew up with a very good understanding of the value of money. I didn't have my first job until I was out of high school (and engaged to be married.) John had to get a job to pay for many of the things he wanted, but he never really learned to save or budget. Together we made a lot of mistakes with money. Too often, my in-laws bailed him (and later us) out, when we really needed to learn a lesson about money.
We want to help our children have a better understanding of money. Our oldest is 10 now. We've tried allowance off and on. But we just started getting consistent. Dave Ramsey is big on letting kids learn about money--sometimes with hard consequences. For example, if he forgets his money and I loan him the money until we get home, he isn't learning to be responsible. If I always chip in an extra dollar or two when he comes up short, he doesn't learn to save and plan. If I pay the taxes on items, he's not really learning to budget.
Yesterday was payday. Which means allowance day for Chewie. He gets $10 (his age) for each week (total of $20). Last pay day, he spent most of his money on his younger brother and sister. (Very proud Mommy moment!) Today, he asked to go to Target while we were out. He didn't have anything in particular in mind--he just had money burning a hole in his wallet. And, like most 10 year old, he doesn't think he has enough toys. We stopped at Target and waited while Chewie checked out EVERY toy in the aisle (or so it seemed). He rejected a few things because he realized at 19.99, his few cents left over from last week wouldn't cover the tax. He finally (after being told his time was up) selected 2 toys that totaled about $16 before tax. Then came the hard lesson....
At the register, he realized, "I left my wallet in the car!" Daddy and I had to make a quick decision. Do we bail him out (again!)? or do we allow him to face the logical consequences of his irresponsibility? We chose the latter. We reminded him that the stop at Target was specifically for him to buy a toy, so he should have been extra careful to make sure he had his wallet. He cried, 'But I'm just a kid". I replied, "Yes. But some day you'll be a grown up. I'd rather you learn these lessons now than as an adult when it's not just a toy." He cried. No, he wailed, all the way home. I held held John's hand for reassurance.
Now, he is in the living room, playing very nicely with his brother and sister. He seems to have recovered from the wound.