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What is Money?

Another one from my archives that I do like, as it goes back to the things I like to write about: My Family and Money.

Michael James posted yesterday an interesting article about inheritances and how money can disappear or dissipate at least from generation to generation. I commented on it and then spoke to Michael James about it (while watching a Little League baseball game).

I see problems with what a lot of people view what money is to them and without a good understanding of what money’s value is, and what it actually means to you it is very easy to spend it without thinking about it.

The Value of Money

Scenes Series $20 – front / Billet de 20 $ de la série Scènes – recto
Now that is Money to Me!

My eldest daughter and I have been having talks (OK monologues mostly from me) about her spending habits now that she has a part time job. I have tried to get her to understand that just because you earn money, does not mean you have to increase your spending to compensate for this (yes, I know sometimes parents should listen to their own advice too). She doesn’t seem to understand this point, or forgets it a lot, but I think I made a good point with her a couple of days back.

I still have access to her bank account, so I can see where she is spending her money (she doesn’t usually carry cash, she uses her debit card, and that is another problem, but also for another post). I saw that she had spent $6.95 at Pizza Pizza (presumably for lunch), I remembered she had worked a very long shift at her job the previous night and when I drove her home, she complained about how her feet and back hurt, so I tried to use this to explain the value of money to her.

I pointed out that, the lunch she bought and snarfed down without thinking about it, was almost an hour on her feet, scanning food in the express line at Loblaws (where her job is). Did she really think her lunch was worth the hour of standing, scanning products and listening to customers either complain or ask questions about what she was doing? I hope this helps her understand the value of money, I am not sure, but if it causes her to think, before she spends, that is all I can hope for.

I remember when I was younger, and I had a paper route, I got paid 4 cents a paper, for a paper route of 35 papers, for 6 days a week (I got paid more for Saturday paper), but at the end of it, I made about $8.40 a week and then maybe some tips from my customers. I could have easily gone to a movie every week, but luckily I was socially inept, and really cheap, because I knew how hard I worked to make that money, so I didn’t want to just blow it on the first thing I saw.

Wonder when I lost that?

How do you value money? Do you see the work that went into buying that iPOD? All comments appreciated.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I have to admit I usually tend to overspend on food. I always use the reason that I work hard mainly because to be able to provide food for me and my family. But I know, I should consider also some saving ideas on my food spending. That is what I am working on right now.

  2. I don’t find the overspending on lunch depressing: I find that she bought it from Pizza Pizza hard to swallow. Their pizza is definitely not worth an hour’s work. : )

    I tried to convince my child to start working to save for a i-device. (EVERYone else has one.) Said child decided to remain technologically deprived. Now you’re pointing out when said child ever does start working, my job will just begin. Sigh.

    At least the floodwaters are receding….

  3. I’m unsure if they’re even listening :). Our daughter put something frivolous on her credit card last month, at a time when she didn’t have any spare cash. That necessitated a conversation about ‘credit cards are not instant bank loans’. Still, I was taken aback because I figured she wouldn’t have done that in the first place. So is that now a lesson learned, a mistake she should’ve known better, or a trend? I dunno, but one worries.

    I think on the reverse side it’s still important to let them spend some of their own money, in whatever fashion they like. If the pizza was discretionary money, then I probably wouldn’t have commented (much). We know someone who’s youngest child went to work to earn a cell phone. When they had enough money, the parents decided still no cell phone (i.e. controlled how they were spending their discretionary cash). The child went from excited from going to work to hating going to work. Conversely, my son just got his biggest paycheque ever and he was super excited – 1/3 to long term, 1/3 to school, and 1/3 for me! he doesn’t even have a plan to spend it, just knows that he can. And it’ll probably spend it on something I disapprove of…but at least I know the other 2/3’s are going somewhere correctly, and it seems he knows it too. Perhaps that’s about the best we can do? Get them to save some?

  4. I’ve been trying a similar approach with my older son — equating spending money on a certain item with some number of hours at his summer job. The results aren’t in yet, but I’m hopeful.

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