Back in early November I wrote about our family’s decision to introduce financial literacy skills for Miss Oh Waily. As two months worth of pocket money, or allowance, have now passed I thought I would do a short update on our progress to date.
In December I sat down with Miss Oh Waily and explained that she would now be receiving money of her own. I went through the different money boxes and what they were for. Then I doled out the change into piles for her to drop into each tub. This part she understood well and enjoyed doing.
Fast forward a few days and, with a small coin purse in my bag, Miss Oh asks to be able to use her pocket money to buy something. So I take her to where I know she will be able to buy two or three things with her $6. We walk up and down aisles with Miss Oh asking, can I buy this, can I buy this, while I have to tell her “No honey, you don’t have enough money for that. See this number, that’s how much you have to pay. You have $6 and that is $8.” We do this routine for several aisles while I try to show her small things that will fall within the $6 range, and that she will get maximum enjoyment out of buying.
Eventually we manage to get some things that don’t suck up the entire $6 and she gets to pay for her purchases out of her own money.
Here is one of the items that Miss Oh chose, with a little suggestion and help from me.
As you can see, I was working on the idea of getting things she could use for her art and crafting. Preferably something that would do more than one use too. Despite Miss Oh’s penchant for cramming as many butterflies on to her art as she can manage, we still have about a third of this bag some two months later. So a very good buy, it turned out.
Now on to the second month of pocket money.
We do the same as the first. We sit down together, I explain (again) about the different money boxes and what they mean. I separate the money into piles and they are dutifully dropped into the home made boxes. And there ends the story of month two.
About half way through January I ask Miss Oh, “Honey, do you remember you have pocket money that you can spend?” To which I receive this answer, “I know.”
Well that was like a red rag to a bull. In this world of consumer-driven kids, I was all a-flummox. What was going on here?
So, I followed up with, “Oh, you know? Well, what were you planning on doing?”
To which my little financial planner said, “I’m saving so I can get something I really want.”
A slightly amazed mother replied, “Oh, so you have decided to keep some of this month’s money until next month so you can buy something that costs more?”
Small financial whizz just nods.
So, apparently my explanations about keeping some of the spending money aside so she could buy something a little more expensive did not fall on apparently deaf ears after all. Still, I am slightly amazed at the speed with which she seems to have cottoned on. I was sure she was still too little to have the ability to delay gratification. I may just have proven myself wrong.
And here was me thinking that she was just a master negotiator, who was quite comfortable in her skin asking for things, and more things, from random strangers. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so impressed by the fact that at just short of four and one half years old my precious first born child can count her way to one hundred and can add together three simple numbers* with what appears to be relative ease.
I will let you know what happens when she does get her February pocket money. I have a suspicion that maybe she does listen to me. I told her she could take it and her “savings” box money for her trip to Fiji at the end of the month. I do wonder if she’s not just hanging out for a good massage on the beach or to pay for her own beads or mehndhi.**
* Miss Oh has always loved numbers. She has been wanting, of her own volition, to count to 100 for the best part of a year now. About six months ago she managed with only a tiny bit of help, and for the most part can do it on her own entirely now. As for the adding, she can easily do three numbers – say 2 + 2 + 2 = 6, or similar. I don’t know where she gets it, but she gets it.
** not quite as silly as it sounds. Well. Actually it sounds silly and doesn’t improve when it comes out of a small person’s mouth either. She actually said to me that she would like to get beads in her hair again and maybe a massage too. My goodness, she’s four going on forty !!