As children begin earning their own money, either through allowance, extra chores or a part-time job, they also begin to make choices about how they spend their money. Whether they’re saving up for a large purchase or choose to blow their cash on trinkets and candy, they are still making their own choices. And while those choices will change over the years, chances are, they will learn to appreciate their purchases more if they are spending their own money.
Think about it. When you make a large purchase – a car, house, or major appliance – you likely agonize over the money that you’ve spent. As a result, you make sure you take the time and care to maintain whatever you purchased. You paint the walls on your new house and change the air filters each month. You don’t allow food in the new car. You clean the oven after baking spills.
The same is true for children. If we simply purchase what they “have” to have, children are less likely to take care of that item. However, if they have to work for it, save their money and make the purchase using their own money, they will learn the value of what they’ve spent and make better decisions about how to care for the new item. If you’ve ever watched your child make a purchase and seen the beaming look of pride as they carry the new item out of the store, you know the value your child truly realizes by working for and owning something.
Help your child set her own savings goal, and share your own thought processes for making a purchase with your child. Learning how to own, and take care of, a thing is a great lesson to teach your child now, before true real-world purchases are necessary.