The Colour of Money.
My 6 year old daughter has become obsessed with how much things cost. In the past few weeks I’ve had to reel off the exact price of household items like the trampoline, a 6 pack of fromage frais, 3 litres of milk, a pair of new sandals, suncream, toothpaste, boxes of cereal, our mortgage repayments. If I round something off to £2.50, and she’s a label that actually it cost £2.49, I am reprimanded and told off. Most of my answers are met with a ‘hmmm’, or my favourite: “Well, that’s not very much. I could buy that with my money.” Yes, you read that correctly, her money. The spoils of a generous birthday gift from grandparents, plus some leftover Christmas and Easter money and a few coins from the tooth fairy. She’s decided now that she wants to spend it all on a piece of gymnastics equipment that can be used both indoors and outdoors. “But darling”, I say, “that costs £20 more than you have”. “Don’t worry Mummy”, she answers, “you can pay £10 and Daddy will pay £10.” And off she trots, confident in the fact that Mummy and Daddy will indeed cough up the extra to get her what she ‘needs’, despite the fact that Mummy and Daddy’s bank account is in serious need of some attention, largely due to the continuous and never ending costs of having children in the first place.
I’m not sure when she became so mercenary, but she really could buy and sell you. If I have to pick up a few groceries with the kids in tow, she’s started trying to barter her good behavior whilst in the shop in return for a blind bag, or ‘a small toy’. If you leave any coins lying around, they’ll be swept into her purse or deposited into a money box, and she’s started outright asking her grandfather for money when she visits. The icing on the cake was when she told me that I am buying her a tablet for her birthday, which is 4 months away, and her Daddy will be getting her another, separate present. (Mummy and Daddy are still married to each other and living in the same household, by the way, and will be buying her one present from both of them.)
My efforts so far to teach her about money and how hard we have to work to earn it have so far fallen on deaf ears. She doesn’t want to hear about how little is left after paying the winter gas bill, and is similarly uninterested in the increases to the weekly food bill due to Brexit. Her interest starts and ends with what she can have, and when she can have it.
So we have decided that we are going to introduce pocket money. She can save up to buy all the blind bags and LOL dolls and Squishies she wants. And she will learn how hard it is to save, and how patient you have to be sometimes when you really want something, and have to go without until you can afford it. And best of all, she’ll have to do some age-appropriate chores in order to get her weekly fix. Clothes will be folded and put away, wrappers will be put in the bin, and dishes will be put in the sink. That’s the plan anyway. Knowing her, she’ll have the chores sub-contracted out to some minions by the end of the week so that she can devote her time to counting her cash!