Teaching the value of money
So we decided that, at six years old, it was high time DD learned about the value of money. We agreed that, along with her tooth fairy money, she would be given some sort of cash from DH and I so that she could learn about saving and spending.
The obvious answer is to get her to do chores around the house, like I did when I was young.
“I don’t want to pay her to do things she should do routinely, like tidy her room,” said DH.
He’s got a point. So how about washing up? Might break stuff. Washing the cars? Too hot outside, cars too big (two 4WDs in 44 degrees is hardly like me wrapped in an anorak running a sponge over my mum’s Vauxhall Nova, is it?) Ironing? Too dodgy – she’s only six. Gathering leaves (I used to get 50p a bucket at my granny’s)? The gardener does it. Cleaning the pool? She might drown.
I ran out of housework ideas. Really, I pay Gerlie to do all that stuff – I don’t want to pay my daughter to do it, too.
So then we hit on the idea that we would just ask her to do her best at school; to work as hard as she could and to do her homework nicely and read her school books every day and, if she was doing that, we’d give her money now and then, no matter what her scores were in class (it’s important to encourage the effort, not the results, I feel).
“Cool,” she said.
So today she’d saved the sum total of Dhs 45 and she wanted to go and spend it. I took her to the local shops, where there’s a small ELC. She wanted an electric guitar, price Dhs 189. What do I do, I wondered? Tell her she doesn’t have enough money, or silently stump up the difference?
“It’s not a very good toy,” I said diplomatically. “All you can do is press the buttons. You’ll get bored with it really quickly.”
So we rejected everything in ELC and headed to the local bookshop. There, DD decided she wanted a new pencil case, which her Dhs 45 easily covered.
“Yep,” she said, having scoured the entire shop. “I’ll buy this. It’s what I want more than anything.” She clutched it to her chest like it was a pair of 10-carat diamond earrings.
I took her to the till but could I let her pay for it? Could I hell!
“Darling, how about I get this for you and you save your money?” I said. How’s she ever going to learn?