Like many girls her age (four), my daughter is pretty obsessed with Disney princesses. Even if she hasn’t seen a particular character’s movie, she loves her and wants all of the related merchandise. Each time we go to Target, she begs to walk through “the princess aisle”. While I think she knows I’m not going to buy her anything, she still
asks begs for pretty much everything there. Last summer I started responding, “Let’s put it on your birthday/Christmas list”, which worked surprisingly well. Instead of asking me to buy things for her, she would say, “Can we put this on my birthday/Christmas list?” I’ve noticed lately, though, that she’s back to just asking me for things – or better yet, longingly saying, “I wish I had one of these…” Clearly I have to resurrect the, “Let’s put it on your list”, line!
As soon as I told her we were going to Target a few days ago, she asked if I would buy her a princess doll. Never mind that she already has countless princess dolls, including the seven she received last Christmas alone! I was not going to buy her one, but I said that if she wanted to spend some of her piggy bank money, she could buy one for herself. Naturally, she was excited and agreed.
Before we left home, we counted the money in her piggy bank, which totaled $19.56. (Significant monetary gifts are deposited into her 529 account, and gifts of more than $1 or so are deposited into her online savings account. Her piggy bank contains mostly change that she’s been given.) We then headed to “the princess aisle”, where she proceeded to point at nearly every item and ask if she had enough money for it. The fact that she doesn’t really understand numbers in relation to each other yet, works to my advantage, and allowed me to maintain control over the situation. In the end she chose a Belle ballet doll, which happened to be on sale for $6.49. It was a completely unnecessary purchase, but one that I could live with.
Here’s my question: Did I do the right thing? My husband doesn’t think I should’ve let her spend her money on such a frivolous purchase, and I understand where he’s coming from. However, I want to teach her good money habits early, and hope that spending her own money will make her think twice about what she wants and how badly she wants it.
What do you think?