found money


As I was walking the Bee home from school the other day, she spotted a five dollar bill on the ground. She excitedly announced, “I found five dollars!” and a neighbor told her, “it must be your lucky day.”

I was surprised when she told me that she wanted to split the money between her bank account and her charity envelope. We had just deposited some money into her bank account, and had set up a system where she would put some money in an envelope for charity, and we would donate it when it got to be a reasonable amount. She told me that she’s tired of having money burn a hole in her pocket, and she’s been very focused on saving.

I’m pretty well acquainted with the money-burning hole myself, so I was happy to think that I can at least teach by rhetoric, if not by example. There’s been a lot of conversation within the second grade about bank accounts, and how much various classmates of the Bee have saved therein, and it’s likely that the spirit of competition is also motivating her saving behavior.

Unlike the Bee, when I find money I’m inclined to spend it immediately, even if it’s just ten dollars that I left in a coat pocket and forgot about for a month. There’s something that’s so rewarding about it. (Heh, ‘rewarding’!)

I did convince her that she should hang onto one dollar to spend however she wants (or to save in her piggy bank for our next trip to the store). She’s been saving her allowance too, though for what I’m not exactly sure. She only gets a dollar a week, so usually it takes her quite a while to buy something, even something relatively cheap. She can be disciplined about saving money, although she will complain and wheedle if it’s taking too long to set aside an appropriate sum.

The Potato doesn’t yet get an allowance, but he does have a piggy bank. We’ve had to move it to a shelf he can’t reach, due to his predilection for emptying out all of the coins and strewing them hither and yon in his room. I guess it’s just a different kind of saving.


October 16, 2006. growing up, thoughtful parenting.


  1. Phil replied:

    My 8-year-old son has had a savings account for about a year now… He saves everything. Even when we say he can buy something at the store, he says, “I’ll think about it” but then never follows through. So far, his $1 week allowance and birthday money and the like are really adding up!

  2. Lady M replied:

    I suppose strewing the coins about is a kind of distribution scheme. Taking from the rich (piggy bank) and giving to the poor (all the other toys)?

  3. Suzanne replied:

    I was just thinking about this — the age at which we have the Money Discussion. Right now we have, like the Potato, a piggy bank. But I’m the only one who really knows that it contains coins.

  4. Jessica replied:

    Because of her acting, our older daughter actually makes money. We don’t let her spend any of it (she’s only nine, it’s not like she has lots of expenses) but at some point we’ll have to deal with that issue. For a portion of the money, she has no choice because it’s in a Roth IRA so she’s saving for retirement whether she likes or not (she likes it, I’m sure). But we also have the issue of her having her own money and her sister not having her own money (outside of allowance).

    My guess is that she won’t really get to spend much of it (if any) until it’s hers at 18. Hopefully by then we will have instilled a good sense of money, the need for savings, charity etc. that she won’t go all crazy.

  5. Michelle replied:

    Teaching kids about money is something I feel is so important but I’m not sure I’m doing it well. We’ve opted not to go with allowances and have tried various tactics but I guess we won’t know if we’re making the right call until the kids are grown. Sounds like you are doing something right if she wants to give some of her money away. I think money will never get too much of a hold over anyone who can give it away.

  6. Jennifer replied:

    How do you decide what she has to buy herself and what you will buy her?

    Do you ever give her a gift “just because,” like a piece of candy or a toy or a hairband — or whatever inexpensive thing your daughter might treasure? Or does she only get gifts from you on holidays?

  7. Library Lady replied:

    When SC was 8 we took the money in her piggy bank and converted it into an account in the “Bank of Mommy and Daddy”. She keeps track of it in a notebook, and aside from occasional books, she saves most of it. Right now she’s got about $400 and need to start a REAL account for her before she tries to cash it in!
    But I don’t think she would do that. It has taught her to save money. The initial savings were for a “Build a Bear”–by the time she got the money, she didn’t want the bear. She wanted an American Girl doll, but decided to wait for Santa, and he (and Mommy and Ebay) came through.
    Now she wants a new Game Boy. I told her the price and the cost of the accessories, and pointed out she often gets Christmas money from relatives. And she’s decided to wait. I love, love, LOVE the fact that she has gotten past the idea of instant gratification–at least on these things. And now it’s time to start working on her sister…

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