Saturday, April 7, 2012

Life Lesson #5: The Value of a Dollar

In my house, the girls earn an allowance for doing things above and beyond what is already expected of them around the house.  They don’t get paid for chores that are a normal part of keeping the house running.  I want them to pitch in because it’s the right thing to do, not because they are getting paid.

At the same time, I want to instill in them a sense of responsibility and accountability when it comes to money so they do get money unexpectedly from time to time as reminders and as recognition for the good things that they do and how much that means to me as their mom.

Once they get the money, it is then split four ways, 25% for saving towards purchases they want to make in the future, like a cell phone or a computer, 25% investment for their college fund, 25% for charity, and then 25% is for spending money.  The money is split that way no matter how much it is so that they learn the value of the money they earn and not just in the short term by spending it but by seeing it grow over time in investments, saving towards a goal, giving to those who need it most, and the FUN by spending money when we go places. 

I picked up Taylor tonight for Easter and we stopped and got a milkshake before heading home.  The restaurant had a few games to play and she had gotten a few dollars while visiting her dad for the holiday and she spent the money quickly.  Walking over she sat down and her eyes widened.  I had placed a dollar’s worth of quarters in front of where she was sitting while she was playing and picking the four quarters up she said, “Are these for me?  Can I use them all here?”

“Of course.” I told her.  “Go play some more.”

“Thank you, mom!”  She practically squealed as she ran off to play a few more minutes. 

Driving home she asked me, “Mom, why did you give me those quarters tonight?  I didn’t do anything.”

I paused and looked at her in the rear view mirror, “Because sometimes it’s fun to play and with all the things you do to help me, I wanted to give it to you.  Mom’s get to do that sometimes.”

She replied, “Thank you  mom, but when we get home I want to pay you back because you do so much for me already.”

By this time we were home and I got out of the car and gave her a hug and said, “I don’t need you to give me any money back.  It was my treat.  I love you.”

She hugged me fiercely and headed upstairs to put her things away.  Ascending the stairs a few minutes after her I walked into my room and saw something on my bed…

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Reading her words, I couldn’t keep the tears from falling.  What a beautiful, gracious heart she has and how lucky I am that she is mine.  I found her and hugged her, still crying silent tears and I told her I’d keep the dollar always.  Worth more than anything it could buy, I can’t imagine ever spending it.