100 Moms: The value of money

Dorothy is Shirley’s youngest daughter. She has two growing boys. Those little-not-so-little guys, have been teaching me what to hope for in a grandson. They’ve been modeling for my next generation, and they have had no idea.

I hope to be fortunate enough to hear how their young lives work out, as their foundation is solid. I just know they’ll be great family leaders, and maybe even strong money-managers!

Dorothy, “Teach them the value of money. Will make them more productive, and show good work ethic.Tip 9

When Michael was only six years old, my friend Chris (a banker) gave me a system which instilled in him the value of money. That same system continues to meet his needs to this day.

I needed three Tupperware containers (small, medium, and large), and a determined amount of money. For us, it was $5 per week.

The small dish was labelled “Quick Cash” and I had a little image on the front displaying stacks of coins. This would be used for things such as trips to the store, recess at school, or when the ice-cream truck came whizzing by. In this dish Michael would deposit $1/week.

The middle dish was “Short Term Savings,” also with a picture on it. In it he would deposit $2/week. This would be for a pre-determined item, a larger priced toy, a planned outing, something special he identified wanting to save for.

The largest dish, “Long Term Savings” was described as something he would want as an older teen. This would be a big ticket item, he understood would not be touched for many, many years. He determined it would be for a motorcycle. About two years later he announced it would be his college fund.

Michael had a clear understanding as to what his money would be used for, as well as the concrete knowledge he was responsible for establishing and achieving his goals. He understood if there was a shortage of funds, he would be required to go without or to wait.

I am forever thankful to Chris for having introduced us to this concept. I was fortunate to have had the peace of mind to organize this, as well as five dollars weekly, to support the learning. Michael still organizes his funds in this manner, almost 20 years later.

As Michael was an only child, we had to resist the strong urge to over-indulge him. We were deliberate in implementing teachable moments and an appreciation for practical items.

We often gave gifts of intention, purpose, and meaning. For example, I recall raising his allowance to $10/week. We strategically wanted to provide him enough to continue with his “Savings Plan,” while adding some as disposable income.

One Christmas, for a gift, we purchased an in-school “Healthy Lunch Card.” This was a gift he was very excited to get. Still, one of my favorite ideas!

Other gifts would include things like winter clothing, ski passes, youth camps, books, and theatre productions. Michael became astutely aware of the value, and before long the intention and thought became evident also.

Of course, Michael did get toys and useless, impractical things. Surprisingly, maybe not surprisingly, those items were often not as fun or as meaningful.

Since the early years, Michael independently bought presents for others on his own behalf. He quickly took responsibility for friendship gifts, and is extremely generous while holding a great respect for money. He is able to find the best gifts, the most thoughtful gifts, in unbelievable economical ways.

In our family, time and money were well spent.

Next week, Tina on staying yourself. For sneak peaks check out 100 Moms on Facebook.

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Patrick Healey
Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!