So far Bella seems to be a numbers girl and part of that might be due to her interest in money. Mark and I are both really careful with our money. We only buy things we can logically afford and have agreed that our money is best spent on things which benefit the health of our bodies, minds, and spirits. That being said, we don’t buy a lot of unnecessary stuff for ourselves or for the girls. Bella and Callee pretty much know that unless it’s their birthday or Christmas they shouldn’t bother asking because the answer will be “no.” Often when they do ask that “no” is followed by “we don’t have the money for that.” When Mark says it, he’s joking in his not so funny way. When I say it, it means I don’t have the cash for it and I won’t buy it with the card. Either way, Bella has become very interested in money, how much things cost, and whether we can afford them.
Since Bella is getting ready to start Kindergarten, I have been scoping out backpacks. I want to get her a good quality one but recently noticed that Jansports cost $40 at JCPenny’s. I was at a bit of a loss until the L.L. Bean catalogue arrived and I saw that the basic backpack that would be just right for Bella cost $27.95. I decided I’d order her one from them and gave her the catalogue so she could choose the color. Wouldn’t you know that she flipped past the page I had given her and found one she wanted more and wouldn’t you know it cost $40. When I insisted that we get the less expensive backpack, she insisted that she would pay for the more expensive one herself. (She has a piggy bank with at least $80 in it and she knows this because she has sat with her daddy and counted the money more than once.)
The compromise I have come to is that I will pay $30 and she will pay the rest. I am currently trying to figure out what lesson, if any, she is learning from this. By not agreeing to just pay for the more expensive one, I think I am teaching her a little responsibility and accountability. But, by making such a big deal out of it, am I teaching her to be miserly? And then what about my whole view on “material things,” what happens when the backpack becomes the shoes or the cell phone? I’d love your thoughts on this matter and any personal experiences you have. (Also, I totally get that I am over-analyzing something that’s really no big deal…but hey if you can’t do that on a blog where can you do it!)