Posted on February 26, 2016
Spending Habits Start Young
When I originally came to the brilliant understanding that the way a adult spends is an indication of the way they spent when they were young, I was thinking of myself. I was making the shift from being thrifty to more minimalistic in my spending habits.
I was thinking about the way I don’t have a lot of trouble spending money on food items, versus the way I hesitate to spend a lot of money on most other items. How did that get started? I thought back to high school. That was the time when I was working a series of “real” jobs and I had more money in my pocket that I could decide how to spend. I remember saving some money for things like my cap and gown. I spent more money on junk food though. There was a convenience store and a few taquerias around the corner from my high school. It was a sign of I don’t know what to be able to leave campus and go to one or the other. There was a period of a few months when while waiting for my bus to arrive, that I spent many afternoons walking to and from the store. That came to an abrupt halt when I gained so much weight that it was necessary to go up a dress size. I refused to do that and opted instead to quit eating candy bars and drinking coke and decided walking the track was better than walking to and from the store. (It was amazing how effortless that weight loss was.)
Recently though, I have seen that spending habits can begin even younger than when one is a teenager. Try five years old! I have heard of advertising being aimed at children, but mostly I ignored those statistics since I do not have a tv in my home. Bean and I don’t hang out in stores much. When we do, Bean doesn’t often ask for things.
Bean received her first spending money when we went on vacation in December. She has had a few dollars here and there to spend as she wished, but that was the first time that she really asked for and received her own money. She loves spending money!
Since then, she has become focused on getting money and spending it. When we got back, she started a habit of raiding her piggy bank for all of the silver pieces so that she could use the snack machine at school. I asked her why she wanted to use the snack machine when she had so many snacks in her lunch. It was because the other kids were doing it. I forgot about the influence of others on our spending habits. That starts younger than I expected too. I had to put the piggy bank away and explain that she was saving money for a special item.
Now, we are at a point that if we go out on the weekend and I need to go to a store, Bean wants some money and she wants me to give her a dollar. I think it is time that I start giving her an allowance.
I suppose I didn’t think that it would happen so quickly or maybe, just not like this. I now must teach Bean the value of a dollar and about saving, spending, and giving. I am already tired thinking about it. However, since I am determined that she learns young how to manage money well, I will start immediately. She is an only child, so for me, it makes it even more necessary. I am continually surprised at all of the things that people give her, and she doesn’t need to share with siblings!
I must find a simple way to teach a child money management. Do you have any ideas? If you have been through this with your children, I would love to hear from you. If you haven’t faced this situation yet, but think you know what you would do, please share. Every little bit helps.