As we continue to talk more and more about money at our house, the Coon children are starting to get it. They are starting to be more aware of economic decisions that are going on around them and the way money affects, and is affected by, their own actions. Here we have collected some examples of this:
Just a drop of rice
As summer started to settle in, one night we excitedly decided to take our dinner out to the concrete porch at the back of the house. This of course means getting all the dishes and food transported out there first. The table was mostly set and the food was ready to head out. We handed Ty a big bowl full of warm rice medley, and to save an extra trip, he tucked the plum sauce and seafood sauce under his arms. As he crossed the porch from the door to the outside table the bowl became too warm for him and he dropped it, the rice scattering and the bowl shattering.
After getting all the little bare toes to safety we started to sweep up the mess. Ty was a bit beside himself with apology, explaining why it happened and trying to make up for it by participating in the clean up. We told him that it was going to be fine, it was a mistake and mistakes happen; we should have been more careful when giving him too much to carry. Of course with two more kids looking on, the drama continued.
Little RU shocked, pointed out, “What are we going to eat? Ty! You shouldn’t have dropped our dinner! Look it’s all over the ground!”
Bebe broke free from her quiet contemplation, “Now we need to spend money to buy a new bowl!” followed by a long pause, as the wheels continued to turn in her head, “And the rice!, We have to buy more rice. We have to throw that food away now because it is full of pieces of glass, and we had to pay for the rice, that is some of our money.”
We all agreed with Bebe’s assessment. Indeed money was lost with the accident, but pointed out that no one was hurt and that was most important. Queenie also dampened the drama with a dose of reality, explaining that the price of the bowl and rice together was relatively small in the big picture of all our expenses. I told them that while we appreciate them being aware of the money lost when things like this happen, in life we can’t let the small accidents take too much of our focus.
“And really, doesn’t a little less dinner just leave more room in our tummies for dessert?” I asked. And it did.
Value is in the eye of the beholder
It is interesting to discuss with children what they think something is worth versus the original cost. When the question arises, “What is this worth?” in our family, someone always answers, “Whatever a person will pay for it.” Value is not something fixed or permanent. I try to impress upon the children how the value of an item can change as needs and demands change; from person-to-person; and from time-to-time.
Recently, while posting and selling some of the children’s outgrown toys, the children had an opportunity to participate in the negotiation process. We had posted some items on a local buy-sell Facebook group and the potential purchaser asked us if we would accept a lower offer than what we listed on our ‘for sale’ post. At the beginning of the process it is my reaction to stick with my asking price, and as time wears me down I am often more likely to give in to their lower offers.
This expected negotiation brings me back to my childhood of working garage sales with Queenie. It used to confused me that she rarely offered the sticker price when shopping at a garage sale, but she seemed so offended when someone tried to negotiate at her garage sale with the prices she had picked for her precious items.
Negotiating a fair price
With less than a week on the market, someone communicated with us and offered $20 for a toy we had listed at $30. I asked the kids what they wanted to do. I explained that our choices:
- accept the $20 offer
- counter offer at $25
- tell them we were sticking with our original asking price of $30
Ty wanted to counter offer with $25, and BeBe wanted to stick with our original price of $30 exclaiming, “That is more money!”
I explained to them that based on our answer, the buyer might walk away from the deal and we would have no money if they didn’t like our counter offer and we would still end up with the toy. If that happened there might still be other people willing to buy it later for the full price, or there might not, and in the end we might have to sell it for less than the $20 offered by someone right now.
Little RU was listening intently and piped in “Tell them it’s $400 now!”
I laughed and said, “Yes, that is another option, we could raise the price so they know just how valuable the toy is; maybe then they will agree to $30.”
While conferring with the little Tykes, another offer came in at full price so we accepted it and told the other person that it was now sold. “I’m glad we waited.” said BeBe, “We got what we wanted.”