$4.00 = Save + Charity + Spend like a Crazy Person

Carrying on a tradition from Bryan’s grandmother, Declan’s Grandma has been sending him cards with bits of cash in them for the past year or so. Lately, it’s been 4 dollars since Declan is, well, 4 years old. The only problem with this is now every time Declan gets anything in the mail – he holds it up in the air and shakes it, expecting money to whimsically float past his eyes like a capitalist’s wet dream.

At first, I will admit we approached the problem the wrong way. We asked Grandma to slow down the money train. Not only did that hurt her feelings, but hello. It stopped the money train.

A few weeks ago, I noticed an article about teaching your child to be money-savvy. And since Bryan and are the furthest thing in the world from money-savvy, I figured we could teach Declan, and in turn he could teach us.

And there were various tips and tricks, to my surprise many of which we already do, but one jumped out of the page at me, given our recent dilemma with Grandma (and other well-meaning and generous relatives who certainly should also continue to contribute to the money train).

The article suggested that you set up 3 jars in a visible place for your child. One marked “Save,” one marked “Charity,” and one marked “Spend.” And any time your child receives money, put 1/2 in Save, 1/4 in Charity and 1/4 in Spend.

When we proposed this plan to our little Greedy Capitalist, I was expecting resistance. But seeing as he gets just as excited over 4 pennies as 4 dollars, now must have been the perfect time to hatch our plan. He was totally fine with the savings plan. And even surprised me by showing me what “half” of the 4 dollars I laid on the table were. (I guess the school is good for something, even if they can’t fill out a calendar for shit). And when we explained “charity,” he nearly peed his pants with excitement over all the wild animals and “environments” he could preserve with his money. (That’s my boy!)

And as for the “Spend” money? The list is long. LONG. Because one does not become a reformed Greedy Capitalist overnight, I suppose.

This article has 9 comments

  1. Tree

    That is a wonderful idea! We may borrow it!

  2. Christina

    It is a great idea, and one we’ve been planning to use for Cordy when she gets older.

    I found this and thought it was too cute: http://www.msgen.com/assembled/money_savvy_pig.html

    It’s a piggy bank that helps you put everything into categories. Three jars work just as well, but if he likes the idea of a piggy bank, this could help him save.

  3. aimee / greeblemonkey

    That’s perfect! Since Grandma likes to send him banks!

  4. Diane C

    We love this idea and we have 3 piggy banks for Christopher so when he gets older, he can contribute to all 3 of them!
    Have fun!

  5. metro mama

    What a great idea! I just need two more piggy banks.

  6. nobaddays

    Good going, Mama! I’m impressed.

  7. MPPs Mom

    we so need to do this. I heard about the concept a year or so ago but never put it into practice. And greedy little capitalist is such a good description. MPP totally doesn’t get it yet. When we tell me he can’t have something (when we say we don’t have money with us – good excuse huh?), he just says, well go get some out of the machine……

    Keep us posted on how it works!!

  8. aimee / greeblemonkey

    Well, one of the other suggestions they said (that we *do* do already, not sure where I read this) is to never say “we can’t afford it” or “we don’t have the money” because you send mixed messages when you go buy something else. That you should say “it is not in our budget right now” and start explaining (age dependent of course) how, why, when something gets into the budget (like we need food all the time to live but we don’t need a toy, so it a lower priority, etc… and that we save up for big ticket items like a new TV, etc)… it has seemed to work with Declan and him asking for things at the store. (…as if Bryan and I actually have a real budget, that is! …LOL)

  9. Gretchen

    Very good idea!

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