Debt Free at Age 5

Miss Love owed her daddy some money.

Because she did not take care of his stuff, something expensive got broken.   based on the circumstances, we decided that Miss Love needed $25 to pay daddy back.

$25 is a huge amount of money for her.

This was money that was not going to come out of her Long Term Savings, and it wasn’t just going to come out of Xmas or Birthday Money (Although she did get a $2 bill for Xmas that I let count, because what else is she going to do with it.  Daddy kind of collects them and we are not starting that with Miss Love, but more on that in the future.) This was money that she was going to have to earn.

We have a list of jobs that can be done, and whenever I think of something new I ask her if she wants a job.  It’s not the same as chores.  She can say no if she wants.  At Nana’s house over the holidays she did some work.  They pay more for washing windows than I do, but like Papa said, their windows were bigger, and probably dirtier.  She did a collection of odd jobs, windows, floors, bathrooms, etc. to collect dimes and quarters to pay off her debt.

It took her a couple of months, but today we counted up the money.  And she had earned $23.  I was really proud of her.  When we first agreed on the repayment plan, I was worried that it was too much for her.  She is only 5.  But I think she has felt good about making this right.  She has worked hard and had to give up things that she wanted to buy.  But I don’t think we could have come up with a more powerful lesson on many if we had tried.

But she was still $2 short.

So we made a plan.  We looked at the jobs that she could do, and how much money she would earn doing them.  She chose enough jobs so that she could earn the money (minus tithe) to pay Daddy back today.  She was actually quite giddy when she was dusting the stairs.

I joked that she could call in to Dave Ramsey and yell, “I’m Debt Free!…”

She just looked at me.

I think I am going to have to learn to love that look.

I think she has learned that having debt sucks (can I say that here?)

More to check out:

Leave me a comment.  Tell me you stopped by.  And do you think I am a terrible mother for making my five-year old earn $25?

Charlotte’s Web – 28 days of Give Aways

Congratulations, you found me. Leave me a comment and you can be entered to win this day 16 Give Away.  This will be open until Sunday, February 21, 2010 to give everyone a chance to hunt me down and enter.

BOOK OF THE WEEK – Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Quick Synopsis

A little girl, Fern, rescues a runty pig, Wilbur, from being killed just after birth.  Her parents let her keep the pig on their farm for a couple weeks, but then she has to sell it.  An uncle is willing to buy the pig and Wilbur moves into the barn with the other animals. 

He soon makes friends with a spider, Charlotte, who promises to save him from the fall butchering.  Charlotte begins writing words in her web about Wilbur that attract the attention of the nation.

Wilbur is given a special award at the county fair and he survives through the winter.  Charlotte however does not survive, and her last energy is spent on creating her egg sac.  Wilbur, a true friend rescues the egg sac from the fairgrounds, and takes it back to the barn where he waits for the arrival of charlotte’s babies.

Using this book to teach money to kids

The job Charlotte was taking on involved creating a sense of value in Wilbur.  At the beginning of the book, Wilbur was only valued as food: ham, bacon, etc. In order for Wilbur to survive, Charlotte had to convince the farmer, Mr. Zukerman, that Wilbur had value beyond that.  That he was truly “Some Pig.”

I think this is an excellent lesson.  It is easy to get caught up in just the numbers.  How much does it cost? How much will I make? While these are excellent questions to ask when trying to determine value.  It is not the end.  We also need to ask: Is it worth my time? Is it something I enjoy?

Other Lessons

  • You could research how much food you get off a pig and divide it by the $6 Mr. Zuckerman paid for him to find out whether it was a decent investment.
  • You could look at how much time Fern spent caring for Wilbur before she sold him for $6.  What was her wage?
  • You could figure the costs of raising a pig.  Since Wilbur ate mostly leftovers, raising a pig could be a good investment.

We are currently reading through Charlotte’s Web for the second time.  I also recommend the movie.  Here is the music video of Sarah Mclachlin singing “Ordinary Miracle” from the movie.  A beautiful song, and a quick preview of the movie.

And now…. for our day 16 Give Away….

A Ty Beanie Baby “Squealer” the pig.  This is a retired beanie baby, and looks just like a baby Wilbur.

To Win, you have to leave a comment, letting me know that you have found my new site.  You get bonus entries for subscribing, and/or following.  Just let me know in the comments, because I haven’t quite figured out this whole Word Press thing yet.

If you want to read older posts before I have them transferred you can click Teaching money to kids. This post has been linked in with Things I love Thursday at the Diaper Diaries