Helping Children Achieve Shared Financial Goals

My kids are funny; they love looking at toy catalogs and watching commercials for products they use every day.  They also get a kick out of asking how much something costs and then checking their piggy bank to see if they have enough to buy it.  The interesting part of this exercise is, once they figure out just how much of their piggy bank would be gone by making the purchase, they almost always decide it's not worth it. All of that changed, however, when they figured out they could combine their buying power to get more for less.

Photo by OctopusHat via Flickr

A recent example is when they got the Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure game for the Xbox.  They loved the game right away, and were soon begging me for more figures for the set.  I told them that they could buy their own, using their earned allowance, but they didn't want to part with the $10, or the shipping that would come from having an item sent to our house (we live over 50 miles from the closest store that would sell them.)

Imagine how astounded they were to learn that they could buy one new figure for just $3.33 each if they all chipped in!  My son thought that a little over $3 was much better than $10 (or as he put it "one week's allowance vs. 3 weeks".)  So they each grabbed a few bucks from their piggy banks, handed me a roll of ones, and asked me to place the order.

My kids waited for the mailman each day over the next week.  Although I knew exactly when the package would arrive (I had the tracking order for the shipment), I didn't let on.  When the big day arrived, I handed my son the box, and the boys all clamored around to watch it be opened.  Their big purchase was finally here.

I let them  play too much of the video game that day, but my boys learned a very important lesson about achieving your money goals.  With the effort of a group of people, making a purchase can happen sooner, and with less money.  It reminded me of some of the neat things that are happening over at KidWorth, where you can have family and friends chip in for a child's savings goal.  (I'll have more to say about that, later.)  My kids are now eagerly planning which figure to add to their collection, and, of course, who will get to play with it first.

Have your kids learned the power of combining cash?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kidworth, a free service for parents to help teach children money basics -- like allowance!