I am the mother who responds with “I don’t have money” when my child requests things I don’t want to buy. When I started using this phrase, there will be meltdowns and a lot of demand to get the item no matter what. I mostly held my own and insisted I have no money and since we can’t buy without money we need to keep it moving. Then we moved to less tantrums and then to no tantrums plus a request for us to go home for money. Meantime, this child of mine had started collecting coins in a money box which is played with on a regular basis. Fast forward to yesterday, we were out on a walk and we passed by a bakery and I got the usual request for a chocolate croissant which I promptly responded to with “I have no money”. I got a counter argument that we can get money from home and go make the purchase. On getting home, there was no more interest in getting the croissant and our day went on.
Today was a different story. As we got ready to go for a walk, I saw my child had the money box on hand and I was told as we stepped out that we are getting chocolate croissant with money from the box. I smiled and made sure to take some higher value coins with me. We had a nice walk and as we got close to the bakery I was reminded we are getting the croissant. I responded with “I have no money” and was immediately countered with “I have money, I will pay for it”. So into the bakery we go and placed our order. Tell me why this little human pops out a 5 cent coin to pay. I informed that’s not sufficient for a €2.60 item and I was told “I don’t want to spend all my money paying for this”. I had a good laugh and clarified we needed more money from the box. With a lot of resistance, I got out €1 which I added to for payment and we exited. I tried to explain the concept of value for money as the value of the croissant is equivalent to the money paid but this landed nowhere. No surprise my knowledge transfer was a fail as the fixation was on the reduction of coin count vs. the monetary value of the croissant.
I reflected on this and realised it’s time to start some early financial education as kids learn fast. I will start by informing myself on how to get money talks going by age and then start incorporating this knowledge into conversations and action. Most people who are good with money learn from their parents and I want to be a positive money example.