Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The only constant in life is change


Do you remember that stuff that used to clink in your pocket back before it was all replaced by debit cards and checks? You probably coveted it, and stuffed it into your piggy bank, saving it up for some special treat or another.

I can remember when I was in my teens and I would count change to have enough gas to get from one place to another. And when I was even younger and I picked up change I found on the sidewalk. I’m curious to know how many people pick it up, now. “Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck.” Of course, that only works if the penny is on heads, for some reason. I never did understand that part.

At some point, the coins in your pocket become inconsequential. I don’t know when it happens. Maybe it’s when you get that first paycheck from your first job and you open a bank account. Instead of having the change clinking in your pocket, you have a debit card you swipe everywhere you go. Let’s face it -- it’s just easier to swipe a card than it is to use cash and coins.

But, I’ve recently had an opportunity to go back to change. My boys are fifteen and six. My oldest has a bank account and he’s very much in love with the debit card. He earns money and puts it in his account and spends it when he wants something. But then the six-year-old started taking notice. He decided that he wants to earn some money, too. So, change jar, here we come.

He’s one of those kids that says “I want that,” to every commercial. He recently saw pillow pets on TV. When he said “I want that,” I asked “How much money do you have?” He looked at me, quite befuddled for a few minutes, and then my oldest said “Come and help me unload the dishwasher and I’ll give you a dime.” Yes, you can probably see the upcoming pattern. Dishes were my fifteen-year-old’s job. Now they take turns. And it all started with that dime. My youngest very quickly learned that he could walk the dogs, feed the cats or the chickens, help put the laundry away, and he could virtually do any job my fifteen-year-old was saddled with, and he could earn a dime each time.

Within about a month, he had enough change saved up for that pillow pet. And he takes it everywhere. When he wakes up, that ladybug comes downstairs with him. And he takes great pride in the fact that he earned that thing all by himself.

By the way, my youngest just told me he wants a quarter for doing the dishes. It’s extortion, I tell you.

Do you save your change? For something big like that pillow pet was to my six-year-old? Or for drinks in a drink machine at work like my husband does? Do you toss it in a jar and roll it up every few years, when the jar overflows?

(Someone once told me that the only constant in life is change. My oldest will be in college soon. My youngest is going into first grade. I think that person was right.)

Best Regards,
Tammy

10 comments:

  1. Great post. Your boys sound like they already have a firm handle on money.

    I toss my change into a basket beside the front door.

    And yes, I scoop up a handful of it from time to time to pay for a small item.

    And if I see a penny, I pick it up.

    But once upon, if a quarter slipped between the seat and the console, I would have gone after it. No more. Change has changed.

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  2. We have a jar of change and everything but the pennies regularly disappear. My youngest, the change thief, will show up at a store to buy something that costs enough to take a full 20 minutes to count out the change to pay for it. Sigh...she's tried to advance to a bill thief, but she got caught red handed.

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  3. I haven't used change in forever but maybe it's time to go back. It forces you to really think about what you're spending. My oldest has a piggybank where he hoards change too. It's a good habit to start!

    Minx

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  4. Around here, change goes in a jar in the kitchen which is periodically taken to the bank, but only when it gets REALLY heavy!

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  5. I remember the first "big" thing I wanted was the soundtrack to Evita. I was weird, remember? So I saved up $11 and bought the double album (2 records). I still have it. I must have listened to it every day. Just what parents of an 8-year-old hope their child will listen to!

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  6. I loved this post because I always pick up change from the ground or wherever. My dad always said it takes pennies to make dollars. I also read a story few years ago about angels. And it said that when you see a penny pick it up because an angel threw it down in your path to remind you that God was walking with you. I liked that and I've always remembered it--and I'm happy to pass it on here. After the advice from my dad and that story I'd never pass up a penny!
    Amelia

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  7. I save change for the vending machine at work. One cannot get through a full day of teaching wired young adults without chocolate. Just sayin'....

    I use pennies to ensure I get more silver change. For the chocolate in the vending machine, don't you know.

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  8. I save change, mainly because I need it to do laundry (my apartment isn't blessed with private laundry, but we do have it on site!). But I'll never forget, my dad has always put his change in a HUGE jar-it sits on the floor. He started a new one back when I went to college, and it's getting full, too. My mom and I keep bugging him to cash it in!

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  9. I'm totally a change saver and picker-up. LOL Hubs is always hollerin' at me to keep moving, but when I see a coin on the ground I have to snag it!!

    I have been known to dip into my change stash for a frappachino or an ice cone. I don't care if the attendant laughs. Hey, who doesn't need change, right? ;)

    Right now, I'm bribing my son to use the potty w/ change and M&M's. And of course, my daughter, who knows the routine will stick her hand out as well. LOL She's become her brother's biggest "pee-pee in the potty" fan!!

    Cute post! Thanks for the smile. :)

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  10. A wonderful lesson in how to teach kids the value of a dime. :} Great post, Tammy!

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