The wheels have been turning since I wrote my last post, If I Could Teach My Child Just One Financial Lesson, It Wouldn’t Be To Save (spoiler: it would be to spend wisely). And I really enjoyed doing a five part series on saving, so I thought, why not do another series on spending?
J and I have been going to various stores and doing some comparison shopping, so the first three posts will be the results of our research, including practical advice and lessons about spending. Specific topics will include buying generic vs. name-brand products, looking at price differences between stores and buying in bulk.
Post four will include other ideas for teaching your kids about spending, and the last post will be more philosophical in nature — do I really need to buy this?
Generic vs. Regular
When I first thought of this idea, I mentioned it to J and he said, “What does generic mean?”
I don’t normally go out on Black Friday, but my sister and her husband came home this past Thanksgiving, so a trip to Target was in order. While shopping, I stumbled on a magical game called Pay Day.
A quick scan of the box showed that it was a money management game, and I knew I had to have it. Plus it was the “retro” edition, which made it even more desirable. (Why is that?)
I bought the game (for a discount because the Cartwheel price was lower than the in-store price) and we played our first game that weekend.
The rules are easy. Everyone starts out with $325 (in the retro edition). The board is a month, and before the game starts, you decide how many months you want to play.
A few months ago, I had a parenting win. J received a gift that he couldn’t use, and instead of exchanging it for something right away, he returned the item and put the money aside for something he really wanted — The Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon Lego set.
This BIG set cost $99.99, and with 6% tax, he needed a total of $105.99.
He started on August 26, 2017 with $25.17 in a Target gift card.
By saving $8.00 every two weeks (of his $9.00 allowance), he calculated that he would reach his goal on or before January 19, 2018.
The Power of a Goal
Not only did he save part of his allowance, but J was inspired to do chores for extra money and also added in some gifts from relatives. Both accelerated his progress towards the goal.
On November 10 (2.5 months in), he had $90.67.
Welcome back to our five part series on making your money work harder! This series is part of a BIG conversation I had with J where we talked about other ways to invest his money beyond the Bank of Mom.
It sounds a little pretentious, doesn’t it? Keeping track of your “net worth.” Like something only rich people do.
But think about this. If you go on a diet, do you log your meals and calories? What about if you’re training for a marathon? Would you write down your runs and workouts? And if you want to cut back on social media? Would you track your time?