Archie is quite fascinated by actual money — as opposed to credit card purchases — where change comes from, and how much it costs to buy things. When I picked him up on Wednesday I asked if he’d like to go home and get his wallet, and then walk to the shopping area of his neighborhood to see what the amount he had might buy, if we were actually looking for a purchase. He was eager.
We went to a pharmacy that carries Lego sets, and he was intrigued. He asked if he could get one, and I agreed — offering to share the expense with him. I asked him if it was more important to have the money in his wallet, or to use part of the money to buy something. I stressed that if he paid for a purchase, he’d get change but have less money than he started with plus the toy. He frowned thoughtfully. “Grammie, I don’t know that yet.”
We looked at several sets, and I explained how much I’d chip in for each, how much he’d have to pay, and what change he would get. He finally decided on a set, and I took my contribution out of my wallet and gave it to him, so that he could be the one to handle the transaction. We happened to get the Assistant Manager at the counter, and he was wonderful with Archie, showing him how the box was scanned, where the final amount showed on a screen — sales tax was a bit confusing — and then accepting the money from Archie and giving him change. I thought Archie might have pangs of regret upon giving up his precious $20 bill, but he seemed to understand. He walked happily out of the store with his Lego box and wallet.
What I suspect he isn’t going to understand as readily is that if he spends his money down — we’re going to the market tomorrow and I imagine he’ll want to buy fruit with his dollar bills — he’s not going to have any until he saves up again.
Complicated stuff for a five year old, but we’re learning. 🙂