Teaching frugality


I help out with lunches at Logan’s school on occasion. They have a very nicely designed program that utilizes local businesses and provides real, healthy food. It’s anti-cafeteria food, actually.

The school also has a snack purchase system that could be used by parents as a wonderful tool to teach their kids to be frugal, thoughtful consumers.

But it isn’t.

The kids are constantly overdrafting their accounts. When I looked at the sheet today, I saw that some of the accounts were $15 in the negative.

One of the kids wanted to know her current balance. “From $64 to $9,” she said to her friends, aghast, “I’ll have to tell my mom to put more money on the account.”

Here’s how it should work:

Me: “Logan, I’m putting $60 on your account for the year. That’s enough for about two snacks a week. Remember, though, that this is all you’re getting. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Plan accoringly.”

Logan: “Okay, dad.”

Then, when three months has passed and Logan has snacked himself into oblivion, he’ll come and tell me his account has dried up. And I’ll remind him of our discussion.

And I won’t change my mind.

And Logan will, I hope, learn an important lesson about fiscal responsibility. A lesson his classmates could most definitely use.

Or maybe mom will always be there to put more money in the account.


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