June 30, 2009

Take it to the Bank

In some ways, Briton has a better grasp of economics than I do. For example, this spring we were standing in a toy store staring at a wall of playmobile when Briton turned to me and said "Mom, if I choose to buy the submarine instead of the bigger boat, that is my opportunity cost, because I'm deciding to buy something and then I wont have enough to buy the other."

Umm, OK. Yeah Public School?

Of course, in most ways, we're still a little more solid in out sense of finances then he is. Expecially since he has entered the "money burns a hole in your pocket" phase of life. I remember being that way myself. I actually remember my mother telling me that. I think I was standing in a toy store myself, trying to decide between two My Little Pony's. I so disliked the phrase that for a while I became the worst ten year old tight wad the world has ever seen. Sadly, explaining this phenomonan to my son has not had a similar effect. As a result, we have spent the last two months hearing about which playmobil he will buy next and what he can do to earn money and how much we would give him if he had saved up most of it and so on and so on. it got to the point that I thought my head was going to explode.

After Briton appeared by the side of our bed the other night at almost midnight to tell us that yet again, he had changed his mind on which toy he wanted and would we take him right now to the toy store because he was sure that it only cost the three dollars he already had saved up, we martched him back up to bed and decided something had to be done.

So the new plan is to not reward behavior with money, just with stars and surprises at our discretion. But we also realize that he will get money. He will do chores for someone or get birthday money or have a five dollar bill tucked into his pocket by his great grandmother. And since he is almost seven, it seems like it's time to start teaching him some lessons about when to save, when to spend and when to share. I've seen the banks around with three compartments, one for money to use now, one for saving and one for charity and I think they are fabulous. But being a cheapskate, I decided that we could make something like it with things I had lying around the house.

Briton is not totally sold on the idea, and I can see that that is something we'll have to keep working on, but he was more than happy to help make his new bank.

We started with three jars and the leftover scraps from the skateboarding pillow/book cozy project, some with iron on backing, some not. After I spent an hour last night cutting out the words "spend, save and share" I realized I could probably have done it mcuh faster with die cut letters and scrapbook paper. But as I said, I'm nothing if not cheap! I cut out tops with pinking shear cut slits and screwed on the rings and then this morning we ironed the letters onto the squares Briton helped cut out and used the last of my modge podge to decopage the background squares onto the three jars. Last of all we stapled some fabric around a scrap of wood for the jars to sit on. I had planned to hot glue the jars onto the wood but found that I dont seem to have a hot glue gun (what kind of a craft girl am I? No glue gun?) but I'll borrow, beg or buy one soon and finish it off. For now though, the jars can sit peacefully on their platform and with a little luck and a lot of coaxing, they will soon each be seeing some money slip thorough their tops. Fingers crossed that the "opportunity cost" side of the boy comes shining through.