Here’s a nifty Piggy Bank I’ve got posted over on my Pinterest boards:

I saw this a few days ago, the same day my dad sent me an awesome poem, via an old friend of his who has moved down to Mexico and delights in emailing his pals poetry. (How cute is that?) This poem seemed particularly cool, not just because any poem called “Mother” is immediately cool on it’s face, but because THIS PARTICULAR mother wants her son to to make a little money, already — which is a pretty regular conversation between me and my Dad, if you want to know the truth.

It’s also pretty timely around here, as we’ve started giving Diddy and Gaga weekly allowances to try to hammer home the “save your pennies” lesson. (OK, that and also because I got tired of the constant whining for presents and decided it was time the girls learned that all this crap they’re accumulating a)) costs money and b)) ought to be treated with more respect — BECAUSE IT COSTS MONEY.)

Anyway, our method is pretty easy, and as far as I know, pretty standard — I based it on what I could glean from interweb content drawn from The Financially Intelligent Parent : 8 Steps To Raising Successful, Generous, Responsible Children. (I keep meaning to just buy the book already, but I haven’t yet because I was supposed to get it for free by attending a this cool event our local NPR station held, but then I got too sick to go to the event and a part of me keeps hoping they’ll send me the book ANYWAY.)

But back to the girls:

Basically, the girls’ allowances are pegged to their ages, so Diddy gets $5 and Gaga gets $3. Then each girl divides her allowance into three piles, and deposits one third each into their “wallets” (spending), piggy/cupcake/princess banks (savings), and tzedekah boxes (giving).

I think it’s pretty clear from the photos whose assorted money-collecting systems are whose. Yeah, Diddy’s a kid who likes to have options — she takes after Grandmere Checklist that way. (Oh and: she built that second tzedekah box at her preschool Woodworking class. Love that my 5 yo takes Woodworking!)

Anyway, aside from letting the girls’ personalities shine though, this system has so far been AWESOME in about a billion other ways, too:

First off, since the girls go to a ((super-progressive)) Jewish pre-school that practices tzedekah every Friday, the idea of “1/3 goes to charity” has not only been super-easy to explain, but more importantly, the girls are super-proud of their own giving-power, and because they LOVE bringing their OWN tzedekah money to school each week, they never forget it anymore and we’re no longer scrounging for pennies on the floor of the car each Friday as we idle on the drop-off line.

Secondly, this system killed, practically OVERNIGHT, the whole “we want crap NOW, why can’t we get it NOW, why can’t we have ALL THIS JUNK NOW!?!” routine we were finding ourselves in 24/7. Take the case of the gymnastics junk food trap. A few months ago, I decided I was tired of throwing cash at overpriced cheese-cracker combos at tgymnastics class, and started bring Z-bars with us instead. Diddy especially DID NOT take well to this change. So finally I told her if she wanted gym snacks, SHE could pay for them. The following week, we brought Diddy’s and Gaga’s wallets with us. Diddy bought a $2 treat. Gaga bought a $0.50 treat. Diddy hated that her sister got CHANGE while she didn’t — and she didn’t like that spending that $2 meant she was now $2 further away from her goal of buying a new “Our Generation” doll at Target. At bedtime she informed me she wanted to go back to the Z-bar system and save up for the doll, rather than squandering her spending funds on junk food.

My kid’s a genius, what can I say?

And THEN, suddenly one day, both girls had enough to go to Target and purchase their dream toys! Diddy had the funds for her Our Generation Doll, and Gaga had her eye on a Baby Belle Doll. As luck would have it, Target was all out of Gaga’s Belle doll that day, so she decided on a Disney Princess Belle Teapot, instead — once again, way under-spending her sister and leaving Target with more money in her pocket than Diddy had (already I can see Gaga takes well after her Aunt Checklist, who has always been smart with her cash). And you should SEE the way these girls love their new toys — because THEY paid for them. Diddy is totally over-the-moon with her Ashley-Rose the Babysitter doll, and Gaga has been literally SLEEPING with the tea-set. It’s crazy. I’ve never seen them go so batshit and stay so loyal to anything they’ve ever been given (save for Diddy’s beloved Puppa, perhaps).

Anyway, I am super proud of myself — and my girls — and so back to that awesome poem my Dad sent me:

My Mother

My mother writes from Trenton,
a comedian to the bone
but underneath serious
and all heart. “Honey,” she says,
“be a mensch and Mary too,
its no good, to worry, you
are doing the best you can
your Dad and everyone
thinks you turned out very well
as long as you pay your bills
nobody can say a word
you can tell them, to drop dead
so save a dollar it can’t
hurt—remember Frank you went
to highschool with? he still lives
with his wife’s mother, his wife
works while he writes his books and
did he ever sell a one
the four kids run around naked
36, and he’s never had,
you’ll forgive my expression
even a pot to piss in
or a window to throw it,
such a smart boy he couldn’t
read the footprints on the wall
honey you think you know all
the answers you dont, please, try
to put some money away
believe me it wouldn’t hurt
artist schmartist life’s too short
for that kind of, forgive me,
horseshit, I know what you want
better than you, all that counts
is to make a good living
and the best of everything,
as Sholem Aleichem said,
he was a great writer did
you ever read his books dear,
you should make what he makes a year
anyway he says some place
Poverty is no disgrace
but its no honor either
that’s what I say,
……………….. love,
……………………… Mother”

by Robert Mezey
from Strong Measures
Harper Collins, 1986


1 thought on “$MART MOMS, $MART KIDS

  1. I had a close look at the girls Coke Bottle piggy bank.
    I had to laugh because big Soda bottles are famous as Gangster style pistol silencers.

    You take the top off. Stick your pistol in the bottle, Hole the neck over the end of the barrel and fire once or twice.
    It’s PUFF instead of Bang.

    So when Diddy get’s bigger we can put her piggy bank on the end of your rifle and she can have her own Piggy Bank Silencer!

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