Friday, April 24, 2009

The saving gene

So, Ben's ninth birthday is imminent and he's been receiving checks and cash in the mail with his birthday cards. You know what he wants to do with this money? Save it. Put it in his wallet or his savings account and never take it out.

Sure, he'd like to reserve the right to buy any desired loot he doesn't receive as gifts—but he'd like to buy those items with someone else's money. Birthday money that has been given to him immediately ceases to be other people's spendable money and is transformed into Ben's Must-Be-Hoarded Money.

While I applaud the child's inclination to save (aw, he takes after his ma and da), he was completely missing the point of birthday money. I think he understands now that I've laid it out straight and will not ask his parents to buy crap for him right on the heels of receiving more crap than he needs. (And by "crap," I mean "thoughtful gifts," of course.) There will be no post-birthday bailouts for greedy children!

Are you more a saver or a spender?


DoctorMama said...

Saver. I live well beneath my means (1/2 the house I'm "expected" to have, 1/5 the car, and probably 1/20 the clothes) so that I can sock, sock, sock it away for retirement. I started young, too. I bet Ben will keep up the tradition. [wipes eyes.]

Mignon said...

Hmm, how to answer that. We live relatively modestly, and Jim makes a tidy sum (and I used to make a tidy sum). I look around our little house, and can't imagine where it went... and then I remember the cache of gear in the basement: climbing ropes and carabiners and hockey equipment and skis and high-tech tents and hunting bows and tennis rackets. So, still don't know how to answer that. I drive a used car, the kids wear hand-me-downs, but Jim's got thousands of dollars of tiny metal devices to keep him from falling off cliffs.

Jay said...

I'm a saver up to a point and then a spender. I want six months of living expenses available in cash, or nearly cash, and the most I can afford to sock away for retirement, and then I spend it on what I want. I won't spend for spending's sake, and I won't save just for saving's sake.

So the less-than-huge house and the old-and-paid-for-cars help us have more money available for splurgy weekends away, fun technology toys, books and music and high-thread-count sheets, because that stuff makes us happy.

Narya said...

I'm probably closest to Jay. I spent too many years in grad school and/or otherwise broke for reasons that weren't entirely in my control to either spend wildly or save everything. I like a cash reserve and saving for retirement, but I also like doing Fun Stuff.

E. said...

I'm a total saver. Of course, I'm also a teacher, and so is my man, so we sort of have to be savers. (He's a saver too, but not as hard core as me. He keeps me from actually being miserly, particularly w/ kid-related stuff.) But I really do think if I made five times what I make, I'd still live pretty modestly. The feeling of being in the black and of having money in the bank is blissful to me. And the idea of taking on debt is anathema. I've never carried a credit card balance, and it's not b/c I've never known lean times. My grandparents taught me "don't spend what you don't have," and I absorbed that lesson.

Sarahlynn said...

spend spendspendspendspend.

Sadly, married to same.

Half the house we might have, reasonable cars, no big TVs or fancy gadgets, limited wardrobes, but we like to travel and LOVE to eat way too much.

I'd say we live about 5% above our means.

Anonymous said...

spender. and collector, ie: while spending mostly contemplating that i could get rid of it for even money.