Monday, July 30, 2012

Money Matters!

Dear Dollar Tree Cashier,

Thank you so much for patiently ringing up my oldest 3 children. This trip to the store was the conclusion of a rather involved lesson in math, financial affairs, and life. For you see, it all began when Maw-Maw sent them mail...

"Hey guys, there is mail in the mailbox for you!"
Children run hurriedly to the door...
"Who is it from?!" "What does it say?!" "Can you help me open it?!!!"
Each child began to rip open the beautifully decorated envelope, sealed with tape for double safety. As shreds of paper filled the floor, they each handed me their card, anxious to know the identify of the secret mail pal.

I began to read each child their own individually wrapped card, with a hand-written note for all, signed by their beloved grandmother. Appreciative. Excited. Truly thrilled by the fact that Maw-Maw thought enough of them to send mail. That alone had these 3 souls jumping up and down and yelling, "Maw-Maw sent us mail! Maw-Maw sent us mail!!" The excitement was evident. Soon the discovery of the money that was included.  And like most children would do, they immediately concluded, "We can go to the store and spend our money!"

My children, ages 2, 4, and 5, are old enough to understand that money spends... but I desired to teach them how to spend money. So I quickly agreed to their plan, but on these terms - let's. talk. math.

"If you have $5, and everything at the Dollar Store costs $1, how many things can you buy?"
The older 2 thought for a second, then almost simultaneously shouted, "5!" I was so proud of them. Therefore, we are going to go to the Dollar Store, as they desired, but not right now. Not today. Self-control.

5 days later, we ventured to the Dollar Store. Sitting in the van I asked, "If you buy 5 things, how many dollars will you have left?" They looked somewhat puzzled and then sadly concluded that they won't have any money left. I continued, "If you buy 4 things, how many dollars will you have left?" ... "If you buy 3 things, how many dollars will you have left?" ... Still new to the concept, I counted with them, and watched as they began to understand this concept of spending and saving.  Then I asked each child, "So, how many things will you buy at the Dollar Store?" Each one wanted to spend, but also wanted to have money left. They concluded 4 items to purchase- a decision that was made on their own, prior to entering the store. Budgeting.

Then the fun began!! As we walked in the store, I knew I needed to guide them away from housewares and cleaning products, and steer them toward that which would excite them most - toys! Naturally they wanted everything they saw.  However, they became more thoughtful in their selection, as they watched their self-imposed $4 budget begin to shrink. Shopping.

Calculators, hats, bouncy balls, princess action figures, hair extensions... yes blue hair for my girl! Decisions were made. Time to check out.

That's where you greeted us with a very patient smile. You waited on each child, one by one, as unbeknown to you, this was the final step in a mathematical journey for them.  So again, I thank you.

Oh, and by the way... thank you for the friendly service you extended 5 minutes before the store was scheduled to close.  I'll be more aware of that next time!

Precious MOMents...

P.S. Each child put $1 in the their piggy bank.


  1. This is so precious. Love how you use every oppotunity to teach something. Go kids learn how to count that money

  2. This was so cute! I'll have to check your blog more often! Keep linking from Facebook! The kids are just adorable and what a valuable lesson!

  3. I LOVE your Blog! So funny and full of teaching opportunities. So when can we expect your book?

  4. you wanna raise my kids too?! lol!! great story.. XOXO

  5. This was a good one! Love these blogs; thanks for the invite.

    I love the fact that you are teaching the babies starting at such a young age. I share the same thought process. "They" say that their (babies) brains are like a sponge, so I'm all for feeding them knowledge as early as they begin to understand. I encourage you to continue embracing your calling as a mom and teacher!!!

  6. So, so, so precious! Thank you for sharing your family and experiences with us (other moms). I really appreciate your view on the day to day in's and out's of motherhood. I truly applaud your outlook. Your mom sent me the link to your initial post, and I finally figured out how to receive e-mail notices of new posts. I received the initial link 1 day after I had been pee'd on twice in 1 day by my 3 year old and caught poop in my hand in the restroom of Applebee's, so that post was right on time. As I have a teenager and a toddler, I have to daily remind myself that these 2 gifts really are blessings.