Monday, 30 June 2014

Helping an 11 year old understand Value for Money

Posted by Rosie


I came downstairs a couple of days ago to find this pile of money on the table.

"What's the money for?" I asked Ben.

"It's enough to buy the Lego I REALLY want," came his reply.

"How much is there?"

"Just over 46€."

I took a deep intake of breath.  I know this is Ben's money saved from birthdays, tooth fairies and pocket money but 46€ is A LOT of money to spend on yet another box of Lego.  It's not that he won't play with it, far from it.  He loves his Lego and as well as making the kits he already has, he and Tom make all sorts of other things from what is a vast collection of pieces.  I mean VAST!!

"I am not sure you need any more Lego," I continued, "and 46€ is almost a year's worth of pocket money.  That's a lot."

"But I REALLY want it!"

"I am sure you could make the new kit from what you already have," I countered, "the instructions are online."

"But no," came the reply, "there are some critical pieces in there that I need to make the kit."

It was then that I pointed out to Ben what he had just said - the fact the new kit only contained a few new pieces and he would in fact be spending all that money for them whilst he already has all the other pieces.  That was when Ben realised that actually the kit was not really worth 46€ at all and he would be better off saving his money for something else.  

It is certainly very clever marketing from Lego and they didn't become the huge company they are now by simply selling the extras for a new kit at a much lower price than the whole new kit.  They want children to see the bog glossy box, the large pictures and the lure of the fantastic things they can make and nag their parents into buying them.  It is very clever but hopefully Ben is just a little bit wiser to what that big glossy box actually represents.

POSTSCRIPT

Since writing this post and not spending his money on a large Lego Kit, Ben has saved up more money and used his savings to buy a BMX bike which he has used and used and used!  He'd still not have enough pocket money had he spent it on the Lego!



”Parenthood

34 comments :

  1. I'm sure you know that you can buy all the individual pieces he needs to make this new kit online. They are actually really cheap and the service is amazingly efficient.

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    1. I did wonder about that. I wasn't sure if you'd be able to get the "specialist" pieces that he needs for the kit. I will investigate and possibly make Ben a very happy chappy!

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  2. great post - it's hard to feel like you are disappointing them but great bit of parenting there! I did the same recently persuading my son that his hard earned money would be better spent on a laptop than a handheld games console which cost the same amount! It just hadn't occurred to him but he's delighted with his new laptop.

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    1. Sometimes a bit of prompting helps youngsters make a much better decision. Glad it worked out for your son.

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  3. Thats a great lesson there and for him to come to the conclusion all by himself is even better. Hard to refuse sometimes so its brilliant when the penny drops on their own (no pun intended :))

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    1. He was actually really pleased with his decision :)

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  4. It's a hard lesson to learn with the advertising aimed at kids these days. It's a lesson some adults could do with learning to! Hope you find the special bits for Ben.

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    1. I could not agree more about parents - it is a good parent, I believe, who can say "no" sometimes and explain why.

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  5. Great lesson. I have the same issue with my 10yo son. He can save for months and months, but then suddenly he will want to buy the first thing he sees. I ask him to consider - was it something he actually wanted before he saw it in the shop? Isn't there maybe another game or another book he would prefer? But sometimes I let it go - I think we all know the pleasure of just buying something for the sake of it!

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    1. I agree and sometimes you also have to let them "waste" their money to learn that not everything is worth it's price ... but I do think 46€ is too much to waste like this!

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  6. It's very hard teaching that lesson. I think you made a really great point to Ben and one he'll hopefully remember too. My daughter is just a little too young to really register this whole thing but I'm trying to get it across.

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    1. It is hard to say no but if done carefully and with explanation it is a good lesson for both child and parent I believe.

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  7. Great post, I have all this to come in the future! #whatsthestory

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  8. How do you teach that to kids. This is a topic that I would want to teach my son this early (he is 4). My problem is that eveytime he wants something and I said we dont have budget for it he would answer: Let's ask Nain (GrandMa). How will I tell my mother-in-law to stop buying so much toys for him cuz they are just forgotten in days and creates so much mess in the house. These things, they worry me. I dont know where to go and what to do =( #whatsthestory

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    1. That is such a hard one and not something we had to endure. Maybe have a quiet word with Nain and explain why sometimes you need to say "No"? Good luck!

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  9. My daughter is 8 and once she gets hold of some money it really starts to burn a hole in her pocket. The problem is there are so many shops where we live and she has eyes like magpie's. I often feel like a 'mean mummy' for saying 'no' to so many requests but I want her to learn to respect money and the benefits of saving.

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    1. Certainly not a mean mummy and I am sure in the future when she can manage her finances well she will thank you.

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  10. Some lessons are hard to learn but still worth learning, well done on pointing it out.

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    1. It would have been easy to say Yes ... but I felt the better lesson this time was to say no.

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  11. I think the whole advertising thing is something I want to focus on-advertising is all about convincing us that we actually need something we usually don't. Learning that lesson is probably up there with the other crucial life skills I think! Thanks for sharing with #thethemegame

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    1. So true - luckily the boys do not see a lot of advertising as they tend to watch the BBC - but get them in a toy shop and you just see their eyes getting bigger and bigger at all the big, glossy boxes. Those advertising and marketing bods certainly know what they are doing and we parents have to deal with this. It is not easy :(

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  12. What I love about children is that (with a bit of encouragement from us) their brain often be 're-conditioned' to go against marketing ploys like this. It's wonderful that Ben was thinking about what he was saving for though. A great plan to have! Our little bear has a similar way of thinking in that she saves her pennies every week and she always stops and thinks when it comes to spending her pennies, so to speak! #TheThemeGame

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    1. As parents we can have a huge influence over the way our children think and can help them to understand the world around them. I hope we are helping the boys to see that all that is advertised in not necessarily as good as it first seems. Well done Little Bear for saving her pennies and thinking carefully what to spend them on.

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  13. My son (teenager) just spent every penny he had on Oakley's. I wouldn't let him at first, but he's been wanting them and saving for them for an entire year. And it is his money. But it was hard to watch him hand it all over at the store. We talked a lot about the value of money as he was saving up...he's over-the-moon happy about his sunglasses and he is being very responsible with them. I guess they might as well enjoy it while they don't have a mortgage to pay! #TheThemeGame

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    1. Hmmm - I don't think I'd let my son spend all his money on a pair of sun glasses however much he thought he wanted them.

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  14. What a great lesson to teach Rosie, it must have been disappointing for him at first but at least he didn't spend all his money on the set. Lovely post, thank you so much for sharing with #whatsthestory

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    1. It is an important lesson and I reckon it will need enforcing a few more times though!

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  15. What a fabulous dove-tail to the blog I had posted -- on "Who is teaching our kids to manage money?" and a fabulous revelation for Ben to realize the Legos may not be worth the amount they were charging given the effort he had exerted to save that money. http://www.renaewhitacre.com/2014/07/23/teaches-kids-manage-money/

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  16. Value for money is such a hard thing for anyone to understand - even I struggle sometimes so well done to him for realising it! Thanks for linking up to SuperparentSaturday

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    1. I don't want to always be saying no but this time I definitely needed to put my foot down and explain why.

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  17. Well done on helping him realise! You could teach him to become an ebay mogul- he's sure to find the pieces he needs on there. Thanks for linking up to #SuperparentSaturday

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    1. I'm not sure letting him loose on ebay would be the best idea!!

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