Financial Philosophy of a Preschooler

We were taking the ferry to West Seattle with my Grammy and Papa this weekend.  This is the first time LS had taken the ferry with anybody else so I thought she might be excited.  It turns out that the ferry is such old hat to her at this point that we may as well have been in in our driveway, but that’s sort of beside the point.  Papa was looking at the water from the car deck and LS said she wanted to go look at the water with Papa.  When we got over there, Papa noticed a dollar bill sitting on the ground.  He bent over to pick it up and show it to me, perhaps to gloat since he is well aware of the change competition.**

**The long-running change competition between myself, Ally, and Abby.  At this point I may be the only one participating wholly in the competition, but whatever; it means that I win every year!  Seriously though, we either need some new blood in the competition or something to reinvigorate the ladies.  Here are the rules.

  1. There is no Change Competition (obligatory competition joke…ha ha ha!)
  2. You must do the dirty work yourself – it only counts if YOU pick it up.
  3. Others CAN point out change for you as long as YOU pick it up.
  4. It only counts if you definitely don’t know the source.  So finding a quarter in your washing machine does NOT count, but finding one at the laundromat DOES count.
  5. You cannot spend the money!  The tally happens at the end of the year with all of the grimy coins; if you pick up a dollar bill and spend it on a soda, you CANNOT replace it with another dollar.
  6. Cash Equivalent items generally do not count unless approved by the board (this includes foreign currency, casino tokens, lotto tickets, etc.).
  7. You must be entirely honest!  The competition only works if everybody abides by the honor system.
  8. When the competition is functioning, the winner gets to determine to which charity all of the cash gets donated.  The only year we’ve actually done this, the Humane Society got a check for like $17.31 or something like that.  It was hilarious to me.
  9. Anything I missed (can be edited later)

So if you are somebody who picks up loose change and want to participate, let me know in the comments.  I’ll start a tracking page here.**

As LS would say “I immediately saw the dollar,” (she loves to use immediately and suddenly which always add an air of urgency to her stories).  As papa started reaching to put it in his pocket, LS piped up.

“I could put that in my piggy bank!”

“Oh,” Papa replied, he clearly had been planning on keeping the dollar.  But his grandpa genes quickly kicked into gear.  “That’s a great idea!  You’ll put it in your piggy bank?”

“Yea!” Came LS’ excited reply.

“Okay, why don’t we give it to Daddy to hold until you’re home and have your piggy bank.”


LS was clearly very excited about this.  Now, I should have taken this as a learning opportunity.  Something like “LS, it isn’t polite to ask our grandparents for money,” or something like that, but I didn’t.

Later, at home:

“Hey, LS!  Do you want to go put your dollar in your piggy bank now!?”  I totally expected her to be enthusiastic about this.

“No, I have enough dollars.  You keep it.”

“But LS, Papa gave that dollar to you to put in your piggy bank,” I pleaded.

“I already have three dollars in my piggy bank.  You keep it.”

So apparently three dollars is enough for a three-year old.  I’m memorializing this conversation so I can bring it up when she is a teenager.  Honestly, I think the sentiment is so darling; I told her that I’d hold on to it so we could buy a treat sometime with her own money.  She thought that sounded pretty great.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by abby hartman on November 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Just wait until she finds out that a pair of shoes costs more than 3 bucks!
    President of the Change Competition


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