Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Pursuit of Money

My 9 y.o. was looking to spend money recently. It’s a common thing. When he gets a little bit of money (birthday, Christmas, grandparents, etc.), he immediately wants to head for Target or WalMart and look for something to buy.

We’ve told him often that he needs to save his money for something he really wants, but he never seems to listen. His older brother is patient and knows how to save. He often picks out something he wants, counts his dollars from gifts and chores, and sticks to his plan. The lectures work on him.

But for my younger son, the money is burning the proverbial hole in his pocket. If it’s there, he can’t wait to spend it.

And such was the recent chain of events. Having received cash gifts for a once-in-a lifetime religious event (First Holy Communion), he looked forward to the things he could by. He picked up a Jackie Chan double feature and a couple of Beyblades, leaving himself with $30. My wife and I told him he should wait until something special came along.

Two days later it did. A new Wii game for major league baseball.

The price was $50.

He knew then he was done for and he was despondent. The Wii game was it.

My wife and I told him he had no one to blame but himself. For once, he admitted we were right. He begged us to help him get it.

We refused. We figured it was a good lesson for him. If the game meant something, he would figure out a way.

And he pursued this goal with vigor. The video was unopened. He returned it. One of the Beyblades was still unopened. He returned that as well. It got him beyond $45 but left him short of $50 (not including tax). We figured out a way to get him 5% off and told him he could use it. He still didn’t have enough. He even tried to sell the open Beyblade to his older brother. That didn’t work.

He begged for extra chores. He begged for an allowance. My wife told him he could earn 25 cents a day if he kept his room clean and his toys picked up. He’s still nine though and that one was beyond him. He didn’t make any progress.

And just when he’d given up, it happened.

A tooth began wiggling.

One gap-toothed smile later, he had the money he needed. The game was purchased. He’s been playing it ever since.

My wife and I don’t know if he’s learned his lesson. But for a brief time, he actually learned to save.

Until the next time.


Lydia K said...

What a great story! I hope he didn't learn that the next time he needs a loan to yank all his teeth out!

Walt Mussell said...

Well, he;s actually thought about it, but he knows he's running out of teeth.

His biggest thing is wondering what the tooth fairy does with all those teeth. He figures there's a profit margin he's missing somewhere and wants to cut out the middleman.

Aron White said...

Good stuff! It's amazing when we're young how large something like $50 seems. I guess price tags are relative. Even as adults our desired toys like cars, boats, etc. still seem be just a bit out of reach sometimes.