Do You Have The Money Habits Of A Two Year Old?

Our two year old boy is so much fun.  He discovers new things and finds new interests every day, and he loves sharing them with us.

He’s also learned the words ‘want‘ and ‘need‘ and isn’t afraid to pull those out any time something tickles his fancy.  And when he ‘wants’ or ‘needs’ something, it’s a broken record until he gets what he wants or until we redirect his attention elsewhere.  “I Want Snack, I Want Snack, I Need Snack, I Need Snack”

You get the picture 🙂

You see that behavior and you automatically think “That’s just a phase.  Everybody grows out of it.”

Or do they?

Because I got to thinking about it, and it kind of scared me because many people don’t get out of that habit and that’s exactly how they get into overwhelming debt.

Think about this line of thinking:
“Wow, that TV is really cool.  I want that new TV.”
“That TV I saw earlier was awesome.  I really want that new TV.”
“Trying to watch the big game on this junky old TV is nuts.  I need that new TV.”

It’s “I want” and “I need” all over again!

The only real difference, in fact, is that the two year old often can’t get what he or she wants, but the adult can whip out a credit card and satisfy their want/need!

It just goes to show that the behavior of repeating “I want” and “I need” might subside over time, but the actual wants and needs are still there.  Controlling them is the biggest key.   Teaching our children the ability and the benefits of self-control is paramount to future ability to make prudent financial decisions, because let’s face it, the “wants” and “needs” are here to stay!

So while it’s a little too early to have the ‘stay out of debt’ and ‘spend responsibly’ conversations, it is eye-opening to realize that there are a lot of lessons that we’ll need to teach our children!

Have you seen little kids behavior that translate into habits that can carry over into adulthood?  Discuss!

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Our Son’s First Money Lesson

Little Boy Beagle just turned two last month.  One of his favorite things (and he has LOTS of them!) is to get a pony ride at Meijer, which is our grocery store of choice.  One of Meijer’s traditions is that they have a little horse ride for kids at all of their stores, and they’ve always been a penny per ride.

Recently, I went on a shopping trip and got to take him on his pony ride.  As soon as he sat down he started pressing the button that makes it go.  It didn’t go, of course, until we put the penny in.  So, before we started, I explained to him that we have to put money in, and that we have to pay for things that we want with money.  Together, we put the penny in the slot, at which point the button lit up and he was able to press it to start his ride.

After the ride was done, he kept saying ‘Money’ and pointing to the slot where the penny goes.  I told him that we only had enough money for that ride.

How much of this did he actually get?  Who knows?  Probably a lot.  He gets so much more than we give him credit for.  All I know is that it was a pretty cool first lesson for money, one that I’ll have to remember to teach all of our kids as I sense this will be a tradition!

What kind of money lessons have you taught your young kids?

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