Penelope has always had an interest in her piggy bank, putting in change and dumping them out and doing it all over again. But recently it’s clear she now understands that money can buy you things. I am not as bad as some of my friends, (ahem, Lauren!) but I do buy her a lot of stuff when we are out and about. If we are in line at Target and she spies a $3 princess doll and asks for it, I say sure thing, no problem, happy to buy it for you, my love.
I don’t ever want her to grow up with me constantly saying, oh no, we can’t afford that. I don’t want to give her my money issues and junk that I inherited from my parents. I know I am not the only one with money junk– we all inherited beliefs about money from our parents. Some kids inherited the belief that there is more than enough to go around and some kids got the message that there wasn’t enough. I am not quite sure how, because we were far from poor, but I grew up with a deep feeling of lack and that there were not enough resources for me.
I have been working hard to clear my money issues the last 12 years, and I have come a long way in my understanding of how money works energetically and how to attract resources into your life (I talk about this more in my upcoming ecourse so stay tuned and get on my email newsletter if you aren’t already!) but I have also worked hard on learning the simple logistics of budget keeping so that I could instill healthy, smart and realistic lessons and beliefs to Penelope.
I finally get to start teaching Penelope about money now that she is interested in it. Here’s what we are doing:
Peter and I decided that we are not going to do an allowance. In the real world, unless you are trust fund baby, you don’t just magically get money given to you each month simply because you exist. You have to earn it. You have to offer something of value to the world and in exchange energy is given back to you.
We decided that we weren’t going to give her strict set of rules, for example a nickel for making her bed, a dime for doing all her sensory diet activities, etc. But that she could negoiate what she felt like her work was worth (not that I am going to let her decide what she wants and then give it, it will be a true negotiation). We want to teach her how to hustle. And by hustle, I don’t mean take advantage of someone, I mean use all the skills and resources you have available to you in any given moment and create a way to earn a living out of it. That’s hustle. When she’s older we will encourage her to be entreprenuer and step outside our home as a way to earn money by coming up with unique ways to help people and solve problems and in turn be compensated for the value she is providing.
Even though we want to stress the importance of earning money, we want to also instill the lesson of being open to recieving gifts. I want to teach her that the universe is a kind and giving place and that there is a time and a place for giving gifts without having to had to “work” for it or “earn” it. And that when those gifts come her way, to be gracious and thankful and not feel guilty or undeserving of the gift.
She is saving the money she earns in her piggy bank. When she decides she wants to buy something, we count out the money in her piggy bank and see what the total is. She has to save 10% of the total for savings and 10% for charity, then she can spend what’s left. So lately, when she asks me for something when we are out. I show her how much it is and then tell her how much more she would need to save up to be able to buy it, or yes, she does have enough in her piggy bank and this is how much would be left over after if she bought it and I help her make the decision about buying it. Later I want to spend time teaching her how spending makes her feel. Did she regret a certain purchase? Did it make her feel yucky? Or was it a purchase that brightened her spirit and brought more joy into her life?
And lastly, we want to honestly explain to her how much things cost and how we pay for things. I want to always have open and clear lines of communication with her about our family money. When she is old enough, she will know exactly how much we earn, how much we save and what we spend our family money on. And I think that’s the most important lesson we’ll ever teach her about money, that money is not dirty or secretive, and that even when we don’t have a lot of resources at any given moment, it’s not set in stone, it’s just our present experience and at any moment we have the ability to attract more resources into our life, and that there is nothing we can’t afford, only things where we will have to rearrange priorities and make sacrifices to buy or save up for.
How are you handling teaching money skills to your kid? Are you ever thought about the beliefs about money you may be passing down to your children?