Monday, March 28, 2011

Debit Cards vs. Cash


Over the past couple of weeks Jake and I have decided that Elisabeth is old enough to work for an allowance. We are chinsy... she gets a measly $1.00 a week to be paid in nickels. We have been having problems in our house with having toys put away after kids are done playing, with not flushing the toilet, and being too sassy. Ellie earns $1.00 for doing her assigned chores for the week. It costs a nickel if Mom or Dad had to pick up a discarded toy on the floor and put it in "The Store of Mom and Dad". If Ellie wants the toy back she has to pay us a nickel. She is also notorious for not flushing the toilet. In order to break this disgusting habit it will now cost her a dime for every time she forgets. Being sassy or back talking about doing chores makes it so that she cannot earn her dollar at all. She knows the drill and has had to pay up Mom and Dad for the things she has forgotten to do. Thankfully she also realized that she has the money to do it and having the toys picked up and the toilet flushed has become much easier for her!

So after several weeks of this, Elisabeth has earned enough money to purchase some sidewalk chalk and a mini paint set she has had her eyes on for a while. She took her money jar into Target with me on Saturday and after we picked out her purchases, she was very concerned.

Ellie: "Mom, are you sure that Target takes nickels and dollar bills? I mean, you ALWAYS use your debit card. I don't think they take cash!"

Me: "Its ok. Cash is better than a debit card any day."

Ellie: "Ok..." (I could tell she didn't believe me at all).

So we got up to the checkout line and she proudly handed her purchases over to pay for them. She pulls out her money and proceeds to count by 5's the correct amount of change. She eyed the checker very closely and said, "Mom says you take cash; its all I have. I'm too young for a debit card!"

But something magical happened at that checkout line. Ellie learned the value of money and hard work. She used her math skills to figure out what she could afford to buy and didn't ask for anything more than what she could afford by herself. She used her math skills to count the appropriate amount of change by herself and even if the cashier couldn't believe that it took so long to help Ellie, Ellie and I could have cared less.

Maybe for a month that it how I should choose to do my grocery shopping... maybe I could "relearn" the art of buying only what I need and can afford. It gets to be too easy sometimes to just swipe the card without truly thinking about the amount of money I just spent. Strange that a 6 year old could teach me a lesson like that.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

That little Elisabeth, she's a sharp one!

You're not that cheap. We do one dollar per year of their age each month (so Heidi gets $6 a month).

Heidi has flushing issues also! I'm gonna start charging her!

willie said...

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Susan

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