Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Family Fun Jar

A few months ago, I decided that, in the interests of financial education for my then three-year-old son, we would start a Family Fun Jar.

First off, three year olds have NO IDEA about money. I had to sit him down and teach him what a penny was. And I caught him throwing away a dollar bill, because, "it wasn't money." (he thought only coins were money)

So I figured he should learn early. Robert Kiyosaki would be proud.*

I found a blue plastic container that had a small, round hole in the lid. I taped the lid shut, and marked a line about 3/4 from the top of the container. Then I herded up Alex and Mr. Goofy for a family meeting.

I christined it the "Family Fund Jar". Okay it wasn't a Jar, but "Family Fund Blue Plastic Container with Scotch-Taped Lid So No One Cheats" just didn't roll off the tongue. All our spare change would go into the FFJ. When we reached the line, we would all get together and decide how to spend our fun money! Big Fun at the Goofy household!

We went through drawers, pockets, car ashtrays, wallets, the laundry room and just about every place that spare change hides. Alex carefully put all the change into the Family Fun Jar.

...and it reached about 1/12 of the way from the bottom of the FFJ. Mommy had picked too gigantic of a container for the FFJ. Or over-estimated how much loose change we had lying around.

Anyway, we've been donating to the FFJ for about 6 months now. I fear that the lesson will be lost if I wait too long for the reward of spending the FFFJ.

So....I need your ideas! Dinner and a movie is what comes to my mind, but Alex nixes it. He wants to use it to "go to the zoo and a park". Er, that stuff is free, dude. He's still got a lot to learn.

Anyway, ideas! Ideas! Something that will be memorable. That Alex can look back on and think, "Wow! We saved our money and got to do XYZ. That was so cool!"

Oh, and I have no idea how much money is actually in the FFJ. I found a whole bunch of dollar bills that went through the laundry and those got added recently, which helped. If I had to take a wild guess, we probably have $50 in there. So don't suggest a trip to Disneyworld, cause that won't even get us in the parking lot.

*If you haven't read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" go do it. Now! A very important book for anyone alive.