Since they were little, we have encouraged the boys to keep a little piggy bank. Unfortunately, they aren’t that consistent with it. Lately, however, I have felt a need to place more emphasis on the piggy bank, saving money and working for it because Aristotle has been displaying some rather disturbing behaviours…
When he doesn’t like something, he says, “Throw it away.”
When I caution him about breaking his toys, he says, “We can get a new one.”
He has been wasteful and very cavalier about it. If my mother had heard me say some of the things he has said, she would have skinned me alive. He also used to be very good about not buying stuff from the shops. I used to feel so proud when he could put toys and books back and walk out of the shop without fussing. I’ve noticed this changing as well. So I felt it was time to do something about it.
I wanted to teach him about the value of money so he might appreciate his belongings more so I’ve put him to work. For all the things he hates doing that I want him to do without fussing, I offer him money for it. For example, “If you do “xyz”, I’ll pay you 50 sen.”
I’ve also told him that I refuse to buy anything for him that I feel he doesn’t need. If he wants to buy it, he has to save up enough money to buy it. He can buy whatever he wants with the money he earns and I won’t stop him, but he has to earn it. If I feel it is something useful or that it is something that he needs, I make an exception and get it for him.
To help motivate him, I took him to the shops and let him handle the toys he wanted to buy that I had refused to buy for him. Yes, evil Mummy, but I had to do something to get him to realise what he was working towards since he has never had to pay for anything himself. I needed him to see the price tag and have an idea of how much toys and books cost.
The side effect of this whole exercise is that it also teaches him Math and how to count money – not a bad thing, either.
In the end, he learns valuable life lessons – that money has to be earned and that you sometimes have to do things you don’t like to earn it; how to save money; the value of things so he learns to appreciate what he has – and he learns about the practicalities of Math which can seem abstract and useless otherwise. Win, win, win.