Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Pint-Sized Economics

Like a lot of adult concepts, she has yet to grasp the concept of money.

Last week, on my - oh I can't believe I'm going to admit this, but 2 of the times were for 1 item only and the 3rd time was for a return - 4th trip to the store with the giant bullseye (you all know where I'm talking about), I forgot my wallet.

Talk about embarrassing.

Now, normally this would not stress me out, as the land of the giant red bullseye is only about 15 minutes from my house, but on that particular day I was on a schedule. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I had not even been to the grocery store for my rolls of pie crust or the cranberry sauce that comes in a can - you know the kind, it slides gracefully from it's encasement, every perfect ridge intact, and onto your finest china. It had been a very busy day and it was far from being over.

The hiccup caused by forgetting my wallet - because I'd had it out while trying to create an account to have my groceries delivered, which turned out couldn't happen anyway because the deliveries were booked solid until 3 days AFTER Thanksgiving (note to self: don't wait so long next time genius), and left it on my desk, next to the computer - was a big one.

If my daughter had been in charge, the person in line behind us (who I am sure was not all that thrilled with the fact that I had no means to pay or that my oldest was shoving a package of ear buds in my face asking if he could buy them with the 5 bucks that he'd brought) would have paid for our things and we'd be on our way.

"Sadly, it doesn't work that way honey."

"But why?"

"Because it just doesn't."

A few days later, she comes running up to me. She held her hands together, cupping them tightly and carefully so as not to accidentally drop the 5 pennies and 1 dime she had found.

"Look mom!"

"Wow, you have quite the treasure there."

"I know, I'M RICH!"

I smiled momentarily thinking how wonderful it would be to think I was rich if I had fifteen cents, then I went back to paying bills.

Yesterday in the car on the way home from school, Katie brings up money again. Only this time, she targets my debit card. I explain that a debit card is not the same as a credit card (oh, thank you media, for educating my child on what a credit card even is at such a tender young age, next thing you know she'll be getting a black American Express card in the mail). I tell her that in the olden days, people used to write checks, but that now most people use a debit card instead of a check - but that it is the same thing. It takes money right out of your checking account, just like magic!

(Unfortunately, but I leave that part out)

"Well mom, you'd better stop using your debit card - it's going to SPOIL!"

And that concludes our economics lesson for today.


Anonymous said...

Wise beyond her years, that one.


Back in the day when WAMU was in our supermarket and ATM's weren't on every corner, I forgot MY checkbook. They were more than happy to front me the grocery $$ (I think I got $200).
Later I learned that savings account had a
WITHDRAWAL minimum of $500 or more! Luckily Dad was understanding.......

Kendra said...

What a nightmare! I hope things went better after that.

I just had a long conversation the other day with my 6-year-old about debit vs. credit cards. We function mostly with cash, largely because that makes it easy to budget, so they're often with me when I make ATM withdrawals. So we've talked about how the bank just holds our money for us, how we get the money out (the machine or debit card), and how you actually do have to pay for things when you use a credit card.

I still have terrible money management skills, so I'm happy to have them learning anything this early!