Recently while traveling through Memphis, my husband and I stopped at a department store. It took 45 min. for me to purchase 1/2 yard of fabric because the employee working in the craft section could not figure out the price without using the machine which was out of order. Finally the manager came by and told her to just write down 50% of the price on the bolt. She could not do the math.
I started thinking of all the time our mother spent playing board games with us as we grew up. Maybe we need to play more games like Monopoly and Life to teach our kids how to earn and count money. In 1860 Milton bradley introduced the first popular "Parlor" game called, The Checkered Game of Life. Here is how Hasbro advertises the Game of Life now:
“Where will your choices take you? You made it through high school, so now what’s next? Go to college or start a career -it’s your choice. Think the family life is for you? Take that path and see how many kids you’ll have! Will you venture down the risky road where fortunes can be won… and lost? Do whatever it takes to retire in style with the most wealth at the end of the game. Spin the wheel of fate and take a drive along the twisting roads families have enjoyed for more than 50 years! Do good deeds as you go through the game to earn Life Tiles and more money down the road. "
Playing the game offers the opportunity for family discussions about how life choices affect the amount of money we earn. The person that chose college first usually made more money in their lifetime.
But it is a game of chance after all and a roll of dice can derail your cushy life pretty quickly. That may seem unfair but then real life can throw us a curve ball through no fault of our own. Maybe a family discussion concerning what you value most in life or how to be happy with what you have might help.
Of course Monopoly is the consummate real estate game. My brother pleaded with you to cut him a break when he landed on your property at the beginning of the game. But he never deviated from his plan of buying up the navy blocks. He then so enjoyed charging you every time you came by with no relief from what you owed to him. I fell for it every time. According to Wikia: "The Blue Properties are the most expensive and famous in Monopoly. While they are expensive, they are actually cheaper to build Hotels on than the Greens, even the Reds and Yellows are higher. The Blues rank 5th out of 10 in payoff percentage and 9th out of 10 in visitation frequency." How did my brother figure this out as a 7 year old.
The most important lesson learned from playing these games might just be how fun it is to spend family time together.
When we talk about money with our children I wonder what image comes to mind? I doubt the worth of a penny is one. When was the last time you saw or used a coin purse? I wonder if using debit and credit cards has altered our spending habits. Oh my gosh, do people get upset if someone in the grocery line digs through their purse to pay in cash. No longer touching, counting and watching the coins grow I think has altered our respect for the almighty penny.
In the movie, "Throw Mama From The Train", Danny Devito Owen) shows Billy Crystal (Larry) his hidden coin collection. One day the two are hanging out when Owen says he wants to show Larry his coin collection. This is what they said:
Owen: This one is a nickel. This one also is a nickel. And here’s a quarter. And another quarter. And a penny. Nickel. Nickel. Quarter. Quarter. Penny.
Larry: Are any of these coins worth anything?
Larry: Why do you have them?
Owen: What do you mean?
Larry: Well, the purpose of a coin collection is that the coins are worth something Owen.
Owen: Oh, but they are. This one here I got in change when my dad took me to see Peter, Paul, and Mary. And this one I got in change when I bought a hot dog at the circus. My daddy let me keep the change. He always let me keep the change.
IMBD says that Danny DeVito insisted this scene was included int the film. See a coin can be worth something.
Sometimes as parents, we just expect our kids to understand when we say, “No” to items they want us to purchase for them. We may give them an allowance or pay them for chores without helping them to understand how a budget works. I do not suggest explaining the details of your family finances with your children. I do suggest you help them to understand how a budget works.
Make a budget sheet. Make a copy for each family member. Start with the most important budget or largest item first (Usually the mortgage or rent). Gather up 100 pennies and put them in the middle of a table. Count out the number of pennies that represent the percentage of the hundred pennies. Continue down the list. After everything on the list has been deducted from the 100 pennies, then count the number of pennies that are left. Have a discussion about how to spend these pennies.
We had a vacation jar. Whenever my kids wanted to go out and eat or buy new clothes etc. I would ask if they would rather put the money into the vacation jar. They really enjoyed watching the money in the vacation jar get bigger and bigger. When it came time to choose our vacation, we used this money as discretionary money for little luxuries.
You may wonder why I bothered to write about something as simple as this. Well, one of my childhood friend's mother cleaned the change out of her husbands pockets and her purse every night. She first just put it into a savings account and matched the amount with her own money. At the end of the first year she invested the total she had saved. Eighteen years later she used this money to send my friend to college. I know you have probably heard about stories like this before but I can tell you all those pennies, nickels and dimes made a big difference in my friend's life.
I miss counting out coins and feeling like I had a lot of money in our vacation jar. I think maybe I will start a new vacation jar and see if anyone else has any spare change lying around they do not want.
The next time I see a penny on the ground I am going to pick it up and bring it home to multiply in the jar.
Toni Faile Lyerly
Ideas for life.
Information on this website is personal to me and in no way is an endorsement of a product, medical advice or advice for child rearing. Travel advice is only for you to get ideas and not a guarantee of a perfect vacation. The creations I make are for my friends and family. I can only share how I make my creations with you and I am not responsible for your creations.