Saturday, January 17, 2009

Children Want Spending Power Too!

We have an hour before we run over to the neighborhood thrift, the Goodwill at Archer and Broadway in Denver, for the Saturday 50% off day. The whole family goes.

Would you believe me if I told you my children love thrift stores? Believe me if I told you their friends love it too?

Would you believe me if I told you my Pie loves receiving hand-me-downs from her sister Poe? Pie loves anything from Poe because she loves her, looks up to her, and thinks she’s the coolest. Poe is truly an idol in Pie’s crowd. Many of these girls have asked their parents for a Poe, like she’s a commodity. (Note: I’m tired of writing oldest daughter and youngest daughter so from now on I refer to them as Poe and Pie.)

Would you believe me that these notions of children wanting only new things is a retail-based strategy with the sole intent to drive sales to meet predicted quarterly gains on the stock market?

They did a damn good job of pulling the wool over America’s eyes in having us think if “it’s not new its EWW!” Or how about this one, “if it’s not new, it’s unfair!” Okay, sure if it’s a ratty t-shirt, who wants it? But if it’s a beautiful dress coat, who doesn’t? Wait, scratch that comment on the ratty t-shirt because there are many children in third world countries who would want that t-shirt.

My girls love thrift because they can afford it and they know it is good for the planet. When we were young (back in the old days when we walked five miles to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways) our 50-cent allowance had spending power. It really did. How sad it is that today a $5 allowance buys squat or junk that falls apart the day of purchase. Do you think the store really cares that the thing fell apart after two hours of play?

Take the children thrifting and they can buy sweaters, CD’s, purses, books, jeans, jewelry, scarves, shoes, dresses…I think you get the point. And they do this with their own money; Mommy doesn’t have to swoop in and save the day with a few extra dollars. The children are empowered. They don’t need help and often they don’t want it. Check out the slide show of some items children have purchased with their own money, third slide show down on the left, "What Kids Buy."

Children want their very own purchasing power. Is that too much to want? Hey, us adults want that too. Wouldn’t it be a bummer if there were loan officers in the corners of stores ready to receive applications from those who need more money to make a purchase? Oh yeah, we kind of have that already; it’s called maxing out the credit card and we usually don’t max out just one. “Oh, that card didn’t work? Well, let’s try this one.” If the second doesn't work, then fill out an in-store application for a store credit card and get 10% off your purchase. It amazes me how creditors are willing to take money we don't have. Is this only in America? I know their are readers in other countries out there. Can you comment?

Many years ago when Poe was four, she received $5 from a grandmother and was so thrilled about the prospect of having her own money to spend. Stupid me took her to Target. This was before I got smart and started thrifting. Poe’s shoulders slumped when she saw the prices. Seeing your child's shoulders slump is heartbreaking so my shoulders slumped too and my heart sank. It was a giant let down. It was also before Target had the dollar section but, a lot of that stuff is…I’ll let you fill in the adjective. I might say, “unnecessary.” Does one buy this stuff out of honest necessity or is it bought because it costs a buck and so few things do today?

That day at Target, I ended up supplementing Poe’s $5 but it sucked all the joy out of making her own purchase. It really did.

Let’s teach our children how to spend as you go. Give them a healthy sense of purchasing power. If they always have to borrow from mom and dad then they’ll grow up borrowing.

If grandparents must give them obscene amounts of money to buy a birthday gift, children will grow up spending obscene amounts of money.

My crystal ball tells me that today’s children are going to hit the job market with heavy debt from college, especially since 529’s have tanked. Who knows how long that correction will take? Then factor in the years lost on earnings. So, do we want our children to tack on massive credit card debt to their negative economic self-worth fresh out of the gates into adulthood? I think not.

This is one of the hardest parts of parenting. Your children are always watching and learning lessons you don’t think you’re teaching. Remember that when you go shopping. And, you may be surprised to learn that they'd rather be thrifting.

13 comments:

Songbirdtiff said...

Beautifully said. I hope that the little ones will be able to continue shopping at thrift stores in light of the new law.

Shopping Golightly said...

Pie bought a blue paper sun umbrella in perfect condition and a Tommy Hilfiger black and white checked coin purse; all for less than $4. Poe and I decided to purchase a new, in the box Revlon spa Facial Sauna. It retails $15. We bought it together for $2.50.

So, not all items that perk a child's interest fit the category of the new law.

The Shopping Sherpa said...

Creditors are the same here. I have a car loan (under $9,000 and dropping) which I am paying off faster than the bank's minimum payment and they're constantly sending me letters offering an increase on the loan to $30,000. Pre approved.

I thought it was insane that I have access to $75,000 worth of consumer credit when I was earning $54,000 a year. It's even stupider now I'm underemployed.

And while I'm ranting I kind of assumed when I transfered my credit card debt to a zero interest offer with another bank, that the second bank would demand that I close my first credit card. Nup. So I have a total credit limit of $20,000 across those two cards...

Luckily I'm no longer young and stupid: I still have memories of receiving a letter from the bank saying they'd raised my credit limit from $200 to $500 on my 22nd birthday and going out and filling it up to the limit that same day!

Shopping Golightly said...

Funny,

Shopping Sherpa's comments remind me of when I finally received my first credit card. While in college I received pre-approved applications at least twice every semester. I never applied. Then when I graduated and was working, it took a year to get a card. So, let me see: when I am a student, I have access to credit; when I'm working, no access. That's so NOT smart.

Oh, and I just realized there are two people with Shopping as the first name of their nome de plume. Great minds.

Best,
Shopping

Dancing Queen said...

Hey,
I'm sure you've seen this, but your blogs always make me think of it...it is a little 20 minute video called "The story of Stuff".

http://www.storyofstuff.com/

Love what you are doing!!

Anonymous said...

Are you going to add photos of what your daughter's bought to What thrifty kids buy? Do you buy videos, DVD's, or CD's at thrift stores as well?

From Elizabeth

Shopping Golightly said...

I can *try* and tackle Mr. Golightly to photo some of Saturday's purchases. We do have a small slide show (third down on the left) of what kids have bought during some of the group outings.

Mr. Golightly buys CD's. I'm not much of a video head but do rent movies from the library. But thrift store ain't hurting on selections.

Best,
Shopping

Caren said...

Hi,
My name is Caren.

I find your site http://thethriftychicks.blogspot.com/
and the selection of resources there very interesting.
I have a good credit card website that contains much useful information for your readers. There's a fine set of articles that reveal all pros and cons of credit cards, give tips how to avoid credit card debt and establish good credit with minimum efforts. During the current financial crisis this can't but attract more visitors to your site.

If it agrees with your policy, I would like to buy a link ina fresh post at your site.

Please let me know if you are interested via email caren@acclaimnetwork.com
Thank you for your time,
Regards,
Caren.

Elizabeth said...

I'm in the UK, and the obscene rise in credit-based purchasing has led to us being in the biggest financial mess since the Depression of the 1930s. The state of most people's personal finances, and certainly of the nation's finances, is woeful. Credit has, until now, been ridiculously easy to obtain. I believe horns are being pulled in re: the credit market now but I still see furniture adverts on TV saying nothing to pay for the first year and then four years interest free credit - madness!! The country is on the verge of bankruptcy and yet still some companies are urging people to buy what they can't afford.

My five-year-old nephew is dressed almost exclusively from charity (thrift) shops or from car boot sales (I live in a 'wealthy' part of the country and thrift finds for him are often excellent.) Also, when he was staying with me in the summer he was as happy to pick out videos and a toy Tigger from the charity shop as he was to buy a couple of Ben 10 figures new from Woolworths (now very sadly defunct in the UK.)

Sonya said...

LOVING your website!! Very wise and well written.

Sonya

Dolly said...

I am especially interested in your site because it's not just about saving money, but saving the planet as well.

In November my daughters and their husbands spent the day at several thrift stores picking out things we liked. We would look at each other's selections and grab things we wanted to buy them for Christmas. This way six weeks later when a gift was opened, the person was genuinely surprised because he had almost forgotten. We had a fun day together in November before the holiday rush, buying items we knew would be welcome gifts. Not only did this recycling save us money, but we also did a little to save the planet.


A couple of years ago I discovered the Goodwill “Outlet” stores where goods are piled on tables and sold by the pound. I visit a couple of times a month, usually with a walkman and book on tape because sorting through the chaos takes time. I always begin at the tables of miscellany, looking specifically for small, nearly-new items I can put in the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes bound for Third World countries.
If I have any time/energy left, I look through the mounds of clothes. This method of shopping is less frustrating because I’m not hunting for a particular item so every discovery is a surprise. The added bonus: I’ve found many useful things for myself as well as for family and friends. (eg., a Dior bathrobe, a down comforter, costumes for my grandkids, doll clothes, yarn/ribbons, my favorite jogging outfit, wicker baskets for plants/gifts, an out-of-style dress I used to cover a pillow that matches my deck furniture.)

Dolly said...

I am especially interested in your site because it's not just about saving money, but saving the planet as well.

In November my daughters and their husbands spent the day at several thrift stores picking out things we liked. We would look at each other's selections and grab things we wanted to buy them for Christmas. This way six weeks later when a gift was opened, the person was genuinely surprised because he had almost forgotten. We had a fun day together in November before the holiday rush, buying items we knew would be welcome gifts. Not only did this recycling save us money, but we also did a little to save the planet.


A couple of years ago I discovered the Goodwill “Outlet” stores where goods are piled on tables and sold by the pound. I visit a couple of times a month, usually with a walkman and book on tape because sorting through the chaos takes time. I always begin at the tables of miscellany, looking for small, nearly-new items I can put in the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes bound for Third World countries.
If I have any time/energy left, I look through the mounds of clothes. This method of shopping is less frustrating because I’m not hunting for a particular item so every discovery is a surprise. The added bonus: I’ve found many useful things for myself as well as for family and friends. (eg., a Dior bathrobe, a down comforter, costumes for my grandkids, doll clothes, yarn/ribbons, my favorite jogging outfit, wicker baskets, an out-of-style dress I used to cover a pillow that matches my deck furniture.)

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