I’ve talked quite a bit about my frustration with my daughter and her lack of concern when it comes to money. She wouldn’t save money to save her life. If she gets 50 cents she will bring it to school and buy a pencil from the school store. Money just burns a hole in her pocket.
I’ve encouraged her for years to set a goal and save for it. But she’s the very definition of an impulse shopper. I think that’s part of why she doesn’t get a kick out of saving. She doesn’t focus on one want long enough to save for it. She wanted to buy a Hedwig doll forever. You know Hedwig, the owl from Harry Potter. I encouraged her to save up for it. But by the time she would have had enough saved she had moved on to ten other burning desires.
The other day as I was walking out the door to go to a meeting my daughter asked me to get her some envelopes. I was annoyed that she would ask me to do something for her when I literally had one foot out the door but I stopped and asked her why she needed envelopes.
“Because I want to put money in them. One for saving for a car. One for saving for college. One for saving for a house. And one for spending.”
WHAT?!!?! I was stunned. My daughter wants to put herself on the envelope system.
I congratulated her and said I would get them for her when I got home, which I did.
A few days later she said she was going to bring $5 to school because they were having a book fair and she saw a book she wanted to buy. I thought “Oh here we go again. They sold her something.” I talked to her about her goals and told her about impulse shopping. I told her it was up to her but she said she wanted to save for college, and a car, and house. ”Do you have $5 in your spending envelope?” She didn’t.
She went upstairs and got her $5 but she was feeling very conflicted about it. She realized she had to take away from her other goals in order to buy this book. I could see the struggle on her face.
She came home from school with her $5!! No book! The envelope system worked.
Note: Before anyone gets on my case about how a book is a great thing for a kid to want to buy I want to point out that we could start our own children’s library. My step-dad’s late wife was a school teacher and when he married my mom she sent us boxes and boxes and boxes of children’s books. Our kids also have Kindle Fires where we put every free kid’s book Amazon has to offer. So our kids have books. More books than they could ever read. My daughter needs a lesson in saving more than she needs another book.