My youngest daughter celebrated her sixth birthday this year and like many little girls, she’s obsessed with all things Frozen. She was at the height of her Frozen frenzy and for her birthday she wanted the FULL Elsa character costume: gown, wig, tiera, magical wand and shoes.
I went shopping for these Frozen dress-up items with my list in hand. I presented it to the salesclerk. When she found exactly what my daughter wanted, it was time to ask the question: ”How much are they”?
The salesclerk typed each item into her cash register.
“The subtotal comes to $162.50″, she replied.
My draw dropped. For dress-up play clothes? Holy ####.
Well, it was an authentic Disney costume which dazzled with glitter and lace. There was an attached organza cape with glittering iridescent snowflakes. Oh – and it comes with a padded satin hanger. Nothing says special like a custom hanger.
The items were indeed lovely but this purchase would blow her birthday budget out of the water. There were other presents that I wanted to purchase (i.e. books and educational toys) and of course all the items for the family birthday party itself.
I stood at the register touching the dress. It really was beautiful.
Life gives the test first then the lesson afterward.
I reminded myself that the way I respond to her desire for the latest and greatest “stuff” now will set up a pattern for her entire lifetime.
I thanked the salesclerk for her help and left the story empty handed.
I ending up purchasing a perfectly lovely Frozen dress at a big box retail store for 2/3 the cost. The dress wasn’t as intricate as the one I passed on, but you know what – my daughter LOVED it. In fact, she wore it for almost two weeks straight. Then it was over. She was bored with it. She moved onto a new obsession….. American Girl.
Like many parents, regardless of income, I strive to teach both my daughters financial traits and virtues – like modesty, patience, generosity, thriftiness and perspective. Important stuff. Early life lessons that show up when you least expect it.
If your a regular to my blog, I remind readers that so much I’ve learned about value centered parenting principles come from reading the work of super wise parenting experts, psychologists, and educators. Today I want to give a hat tip to a wonderful author and financial expert: #RonLieber and his book The Opposite of Spoiled. In The Opposite of Spoiled, Ron Lieber delivers a taboo-shattering manifesto that will help every parent embrace the connection between money and values to help them raise young adults who are grounded, unmaterialistic, and financially wise beyond their years.
BOOK OVERVIEW: CREDIT BARNES AND NOBLE.
We may not realize it, but children are hyperaware of money. They have scores of questions about its nuances that parents often don’t answer, or know how to answer well. But for Ron Lieber, a personal finance columnist and father, good parenting means talking about money with our kids much more often. When parents avoid these conversations, they lose a tremendous opportunity—not just to model important financial behaviors, but also to imprint lessons about what their family cares about most.
Written in a warm, accessible voice, grounded in real-world stories from families with a range of incomes, The Opposite of Spoiled is a practical guidebook for parents that is rooted in timeless values. Lieber covers all the basics: the best ways to handle the tooth fairy, allowance, chores, charity, savings, birthdays, holidays, cell phones, splurging, clothing, cars, part-time jobs, and college tuition.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Ron Lieber is the “Your Money” columnist for The New York Times. Before joining The Times in 2008, he wrote The Wall Street Journal’s “Green Thumb” personal finance column, was part of the start-up team at the paper’s “Personal Journal” section, and worked at Fortune and Fast Company magazines. He is the author or coauthor of three books, including The New York Times bestseller Taking Time Off. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, fellow New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, and their daughter.
I hope you find you find this resource helpful.
Founder and President, Cambridge Nanny Group