For some people, money stuff comes naturally. Others may have to work on being good with money. I’m lucky in that I learned the value of a dollar as a kid. I don’t know if I’ve consciously tried to teach my kids the value of the dollar. I suspect that, like most kids, they get much of their money sense from observing me.
When the kids were around 4, there were times that I had to take them on shopping errands. Grocery shopping for a kid that age isn’t too bad (the cart rides are fun), but not always great. Fortunately, right near my Aldi there was a Dollar Tree. Aldi never has diet cola, so I need to stop into the Dollar Tree almost every time I go.
Dollar Tree is tremendous for young kids. I would tell my kids they can get any item in the store. It’s great to set them loose exploring. When we first started they may not have made the full connection that everything was the same price of one dollar. However, as they got older they learned how it worked. They also realized that if they chose Pokemon cards, they’d only get 3. The puzzles were cheap 24 pieces, a sharp contrast from the Melissa and Doug quality ones they had at home. Now, at ages 7 and 9 they are starting to have problems finding something that they want for a dollar.
The Value of a Thrift Store Dollar
Recently, I was reminded that often the cost of a toy doesn’t reflect the true value to a kid. My son had his 9th birthday recently. One of the items on his list was a Nintendo Switch Lite with a Pokemon Sword game. That may seem normal, but we have a Nintendo Switch with Pokemon Shield (essentially the same game). His reason for wanting the new game system and the new game was so he could trade a few Pokemon that you can only get in one version of the game. At a cost of $250, that’s an expensive few digital characters.
Needless to say, this item on his wishlist went unfulfilled. We did pick up Pokemon Snap instead and he has a new game that’s teaching some photography skills. (At least that’s what I’m telling myself.)
By random luck, I happened to come across the opposite of the Nintendo Switch Lite request. I was at the local Navy Base and I popped into the thrift store to see if there was anything good. I ended up getting a couple of shirts for a dollar. I also saw an Apples to Apples game. My kids have played this in school and loved it. I picked it up and it looked brand new. With the price tag of one dollar, it was an easy decision.
Of all the gifts he got, the Apples to Apples game was his favorite. We’ve played it for at least a half-hour each night before bed.
As an adult, it seems easy for a dollar to be worth, well, a dollar. You don’t expect to get a Ferrari for a dollar. Pricing competition usually means that you get a value similar to a dollar in one way or another. However, as a kid, the value of a dollar can be an afternoon of fun or many nights of laughs.