Monday
Mar142011

A Savings Plan

I try to pretend the kid has a choice in the matter, but the reality is she doesn't. Since the day she was born, any time Alexis gets any money from anyone, half of it goes into her savings account. I figure she doesn't need a single thing right now, but when she's headed off to college some day, she might appreciate having a few bucks stashed to buy books or whatever. Of course, by the time she does head to college, books will probably be non-existent, but maybe she'll be able to post her own bail after she gets arrested for stalking Sidney Crosby. Or whatever.

In the past year, I've started to give the kid a little more power over how she handles the half of her money she sort of has accessible. And by "power," I mean I've made her life complicated. Instead of standing in the toy aisle at the store and helping her find something that she has enough money to buy, I've been asking her if she really wants to spend that money, or if she wants to save it for Disney World or so she can buy her playhouse.

The answer 99.9% of the time is that she wants to save it to buy a playhouse. Shhh. . . don't tell her, but we're planning to buy one sometime this summer. In the meantime, I greatly enjoy watching her stuff every penny she has in her piggy bank. Saving money builds character, right?

So tonight we were on our way home and were talking about the playhouse she's hoping to get. She has figured out that she wants to paint it bright pink (NOT HAPPENING, but she can dream if she wants to). She wants polka-dotted curtains in the windows. She plans to take her blue moon blanket out to the playhouse, just in case she ever needs to rest for a minute. Really, she has it all figured out.

As we drove down the bumpy country road talking about the playhouse, I realized that the weather was entirely too perfect for us to just drive past the field filled with horses. I pulled off to the side of the road and we jumped out to greet Alexis' furry friends that don't live with us.

As Alexis petted and talked to the horse she has name Abby, her thoughts returned to her dream playhouse. She scrunched up her face and then her face exploded into enthusiasm and glee.

"Momma!" she said. "I figured it out!"

"What did you figure out?" I asked.

"I figured out where Abby can live!" she continued.

You probably know where this is going, but I am too dense to have realized I was about to walk right into a giant trap.

"Where is Abby going to live?" I asked.

"Since you won't let her live in my bedroom, she can live in my playhouse!" she said as she bent to pick up some straw for Abby to eat when she moves in.

I told her she would have to save up enough money to buy a horse trailer before she can even think about that. DON'T ANYONE DARE SEND THE KID ANY MONEY.

 

Sunday
Mar132011

Trying To Stick With "Thank You."

The sun shone brightly outside, but Mother Nature's recent tears have left the yard looking more like a swamp than a friendly play place for a kid. As a result, Alexis little feet were busy running circles around the family room and kitchen. Her best little furry buddy, Cody, was close behind, fully engrossed in the intense game of chase.

I probably should have fussed at Alexis to stop running in the house, but instead I used those rare moments of a child fully self-entertained to briefly check comments on Friday night's post. A few mentions of the couch prompted me to post a public reply. Just as I was about to hit the Post button, a certain 5-year old appeared in my face, her eyes full of questions.

I don't remember what it was that she wanted, but when I returned to the laptop to finally submit that comment, I stopped in my tracks. I paused as I read what I had written and then deleted it.

I had done it again.

Apologized.

That couch? Oh, we paid practically nothing for that thing. It was an outlet purchase! It needed some wood glue and is probably missing a (purely decorative) leg, but it still looks pretty good, right?

Any time someone comments on something new or something that I considered a Major Purchase, I find myself apologizing.

The blue sweater? I found that on clearance at TJMaxx for just $10!

The car? I managed to get that for $1000 under invoice! Plus, I spend $20 less per week on gas than I did with my old car, so it's practically a money maker.

The house? Oh, yeah, it's a nice house, but we paid $70,000 less than the first owners did when they had it built five years ago. It had a bunch of holes in the walls and the plumbing was a mess, but it's starting to come together.

I always find myself justifying purchases by trying to explain that we didn't actually spend that much money.

I find myself making excuses for what we have.

I find myself apologizing for having nice things.

But I'm trying to stop.

Saturday
Mar122011

The Lovefest Continues