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.