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Reader testimonial: My kids are learning to save up and pay cash for things!

Testimonial from Heather of CreativeFamilyMoments

Someone has been watching me very closely.

He is a logical fellow and very careful with his money. But since he’s only 10 years old, this surprises me a bit. On occasion, it’s also made me blush.

For instance, in Target, he watched as the checker circled the ‘You Saved’ amount. He turned to the line behind me and said, “Wow! It really DOES pay to use coupons. That’s a lot of money saved!”

He has a huge wish list like most kiddos, but instead of spending the money, he asks me to check the library and put new books or DS video games on hold or on request. If that’s not an option, he usually goes without instead of begging. He knows we’re on a tight budget and begging doesn’t help.

What I wasn’t anticipating, was his influence on his sisters. My youngest is always asking — she does it creatively — by slipping notes like this under my door:

I wasn’t worried because there’s no room for a trampoline in the budget. However, my son suddenly took an interest in perusing the Sunday advertising sections.Weeks went by without him saying a word until he spotted a deal on a trampoline and enclosure.

I put two and two together as I overheard him ask his older and younger sister to join him in a secret conversation. Before I knew it, they had pooled their money and found a steal of a deal on a trampoline!

Eight months later, our Nintendo Wii broke. Since it had been given as a gift in the first place, there was no plan of replacing it until my son started asking around on the playground and heard about a place that sold refurbished game stations. Again, he asked for his sisters to join him in a discussion.

So far, my kids have paid cash for a trampoline, a Wii game station with remotes, art supplies, and more.  

Seeing such great results has made an impact on my daughters. I notice my eldest daughter looking at outfits at the store and then finding something similar at a consignment shop. My youngest daughter, prone to spending her money the moment she has it, has started requesting things from the library.

There’s just one problem, they’re all working hard and saving…

… and guess who just slipped a picture of a kitty under my door!

Heather Humrichouse loves to live life purposely by finding the celebratory in the ordinary. She blogs at CreativeFamilyMoments.com

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  1. says

    Hilarious about the kitty!

    My younger brother was like this. He was always selling his used gaming items/systems and using the money to buy a newer model and new games.

    He got a job at Burger King at 14. Before he was 16, he had bought a brand-new car (and put an equal amount into a college savings fund).

    A few years later, he was investing in mutual fund.

    When he ws 22, he took some of the money from the mutual fund to put down on a condo north of Los Angeles.

    A few years later, he sold the condo, making a ton. He saved the money, watched for the market to drop several years later, and bought a house.

    Your son sounds a lot like my brother. Guide him well and he’ll go far!

  2. Marcin says

    That is one smart 10yr old! :)! That’s just amazing that he has such a great parental figure to teach him how to save and spend money wisely. Good job! :)

  3. Nicole says

    Wow Heather what an awesome testimony! It is so encouraging to hear that living frugally does not have to feel like you are denying your kids of so many things. I hope to instill this work ethic and resourcefulness in my small children too. I love that your son found the trampoline in the classifieds and then talked to his sisters to work together to get something they all could enjoy. How sweet! THanks for your story!

  4. Jenny says

    When you get the kitty, please get two (they are wonderful company for one another) and please get them from the SPCA! Great kids you have there. Well done, Mom!

    • says

      Great point Jenny! Two are not much more work than one. I’ve had cats all my life, and I’ve found it to be a myth that they are solitary creatures. While not as gregarious as dogs, cats still thrive in the presence of another creature- be it another cat, a dog, or a family member. The more company they have, the lesser likelihood of behavioral problems like whining, scratching, etc.

      • DeAnna says

        Our local shelter (Bryant,AR) is running a special- $5 Felines. That includes spay/neuters and ALL the first year shots. It makes me wish for more space so I can grow my family (we already have 6 cats and dogs) You should check your shelters and see if they run any specials like this before purchasing a kitty as even a free cat will cost thousands over its lifetime and prevention of litters or diseases is the cheapest route to go :)

      • says

        Sara: Can I borrow you for a few weeks? We adopted a cat 3 years ago, and she does NOT like any other animals. We had brought my parents dog over a few times, and she was NOT having it. We also took her to a friend’s house (neutral territory) who had just gotten two kittens. I figured my cat would try to be motherly with it…nope…she wasn’t having that either. She started off as a stray, and kept coming to our patio, so I always left food out for her. She wasn’t shy or anything, and never moved away if I tried to pet her. Then one day I opened the patio door. She walked in, and was rubbing all over me. Then I had to go away for 2 weeks for work, and I didn’t want to leave her alone outside, so I took her to our town’s shelter (NO KILL!) thinking that she was a lost cat. They kept her for a week, nobody claimed her, so I was able to adopt her. So when we came home, we had our first cat! But she is one spoiled only child! I would love to get another one, but she just doesn’t like other animals…and sometimes kids…if my nephew goes to pet her (and he’s so gentle) she will turn to look at me like ‘Get him away from me’ then growl at him. She will never bite or scratch, but she still growls…

        • margaret says

          Cats just have different personalities like people. I have a senior kitty whose about to turn 14, and he BARELY tolerates other cats, we’ve had about 2 or 3 other cats live with us and him at the same time, and he would always hiss and growl, and then eventually ignore them but he always seemed annoyed like ” why are THEY here?” and much prefers my company LOL.

  5. says

    Love it! Such a sweet story! My own boys often save up together for video games, and my middle child now cruises the internet for the best price on them before purchasing. But, they have never saved up for something as large as a trampoline or a wii! Great job!

  6. says

    That is amazing. It’s great to see the hard work you have done to save money has not gone unnoticed by your kids. Too many children are oblivious to the value of money and expect more and more from their parents.

    We have our 4 year old on the envelope system with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, Junior kit. He has his “give”, “save”, and “spend” banks, and understands (somewhat) that if he wants something, he has to save for it.

    I hope our boys continue to practice smart saving and spending habits as they get older, as your kids have done. It’s great to hear stories like this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Jen says

    That’s amazing! Great job, I did have to laugh though. My kiddos are scheming for a dog, so much so that they are clipping the pet food coupons.

  8. Lisa says

    What I love about this story (even more than little ones learning the valuing of saving) is that these siblings obviously have a special relationship. To be able to come to an agreement about how to spend large chunks of money they have undoubtedly worked hard to save is quite a testament to the family they come from!

    • says

      That is a very good point! Two of my kids were trying to save up some money for some sort of video game system but they never made it because one of them kept spending. That is excellent teamwork this kids have! What an awesome family! :)

  9. says

    Haha you should get your kids to write in a “We paid cash!” guest post :)
    I love this story! It’s very cute. Thanks for sharing.

    I love that your daughter slips notes under your door instead of flat out telling you she wants something. We are training our daughter to say “Mommy, I really like ______!” And then I say “Thank you for letting me know, Alaina.” I keep track of what she “likes” and sometimes she gets it as a gift, but we are trying very hard to avoid the “I want syndrome.”

  10. Candy says

    I’m trying to instill the value of money in my kids too. They already know that it costs money for electricity to play games or watch tv, all the way to having to pay the garbage man to take the trash away. My oldest is 6, and he earns money by doing special chores. He only had 6.00 saved and he said he wanted to get the “Hungry, Hungry Hippos” game. I took him to the store with his 6.oo and we looked at how much the game cost. He was broken hearted to see he didn’t have enough, and he was going to walk out of the store empty handed. I suggested that we go down the cheap toy aisle and get something that only cost a little, and save the rest of the money and earn more with more chores to get his game. He was happy to get “Flarp” for 1.00. He’s been watching his savings grow and knows he has enough for the game, but he hasn’t pestered me about it. We, yes we, are still happy to play with the “Flarp” It makes us laugh.

  11. says

    This is a great post. I love to read about kids learning so early about saving up for things and to wait for a good deal. My daughter is really good about saving up for things she really wants. Early on maybe at 3 years old we taught her that commercials were to get us to purchase things we don’t need or want. She has remembered that and is not easily swayed by marketing.
    Our son at 6 knows if he wants something special to save up for it and did this recently. He was so proud of that purchase.

    I was never taught this as a child and I am glad my kids are learning to save for things.

  12. says

    They are sponges aren’t they.

    Before my daughter even asks for something at the store, she looks for a sale tag. Then, she’ll bring it over and say “can we get this Mommy?
    It’s on sale”

  13. charleen says

    So how do your kids get that much money to save up for these big ticket items? I have a 5, 3 & 1 year old and could use some direction on how to start with chores and a rough estimate of how much to pay…any advice? thanks!

    • says

      Honestly, I don’t remember what I did when they were that young. I think even a dime a week for doing expected chores can go a long way (and give you teaching opportunities!). Maybe someone else can speak to that. As for ‘what’ chores, I know Crystal did a post on that recently.
      As for now, I don’t really pay them much, if any, for chores unless they are above and beyond their normal chores. I do pay for good grades, as I see that as their ‘job’. And how much depends on what grade level (and what my own budget will allow).
      For the young elementary student, I gave her a couple of dollars per ‘A’. When grandparents ask what they want for bday or christmas – if they’re saving for a big ticket item – they occasionally mention that money for their savings is a desirable gift.

  14. says

    We are traveling at the moment, or I’d tell each of you individually how sweet your comments were. Unfortunately, my youngest read over my shoulder and saw all of your support in letting them have a kitty. You guys are killing me! ; )
    Thanks again.

  15. Claire says

    WOW…this is an amazing testimonial! Not only are the kids learning to save money to buy things, but the way they’re going about it is fantastic!! Most kids probably have no idea they can get anything from the library except books, and a lot probably don’t know the difference between a mall store and a consignment store. Not only that, but the son is asking around to find resources for less expensive items. Wow, all of this combined is really flabbergasting considering the children are 10 and younger. They’re using tactics that many adults don’t use or have the patience for.

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