We have a habit of using credit card while shopping here for convenience and cash rebate incentives. However, this shopping habit does not provide good influence on the second generation since they do not see the actual exchange of money and it is very hard for them to get the sense of what the real money is or where all Mommy’s money come from. Once we were shopping in China, My son, DiDi, saw me giving one piece of money to the cashier and got several pieces of money back, he exclaimed in wonder “Wow, Mommy, you made a lot of money buying this!” He was about 6 years old at that time.
Throughout the years, he observed his dad train his older brother about the art of bargain while shopping in China and he thought he could give it a try as well. During our trip to China last August, we were trying to bargain a toy for him without his dad, he put his bargaining skill to the test. However, what he uttered out made us run out of the store in a hurry. Later on he told me that he meant to ask the saleslady to lower the price, but with his limited Chinese, he said “太便宜了“instead.
DiDi’s real brush of money came when he went to the middle school. I bought him a 100 meal plan when the school just started, thinking this would last him almost the whole semester. However, we were taken by surprise about a month later that he ran out of his lunch money and could not explain how he spent it within such a short period of time. The next day, the school cafeteria printed out about 13 pages transaction report for us to review. Apparently he has been enjoying the freedom of spending. He would buy cookies, chips, & drinks in the morning and afternoon, a lunch, sometimes a second lunch and spend as much as $15/day some times. No wonder he is getting chubby every day.
Apparently he is not the only one that has issues with spending money. The school cafeteria suggested that we put a restriction on the amount the kid can spend daily. However, I hesitated to do so. Therefore, my husband and I started money 101 with DiDi. I told him about what the school suggested but I decided not to do so. I want to give him a chance to demonstrate to me that he can be trusted. I believe that Didi was relieved to hear what I said. Daddy bought another 100 meals plan for him and told him that the money was intended for lunch only, no cookies, chips or drinks. Second, Daddy gave him a $20 bill and told him to hold on to the money as long as he can manage and should use the money for emergency only. Third, we took him to Costco and bought the bottled water for him and showed him the receipt. We explained to him it cost him a dollar to buy a bottle of water in school, yet it costs only about 75 Cents a bottle if we buy a bulk bottle of water form Costco. By buying water from the Costco, we could save about 25 cents a bottle. We could save a lot if we buy water from Costco instead, all it takes for him is to remember to pack the water every morning.
Didi took in all the information and reported for the next few days that he was doing as what we asked. He even said that he was able to control the urge of spending the $20 in his pocket, and I made sure that he felt really proud of himself for what he accomplished. And I was really proud of myself as well and congratulated myself for lesson well done till about two months later.