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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Too Cute

I don't feel like writing anything of substance right now. But I have to share a few 'Orthonomic' moments in our house that were just too cute:

Before Rosh Hashana, my son announces: "We need to buy a pomegranate even if it isn't on sale. It is ok to buy it even if it is not on sale because we need it for Rosh Hashana."

Today I was at the pharmacy and my not yet 2 year old who is also not so verbal got into my coupon pack. She starts pulling out coupons and yelling "free, free." Turns out she found a coupon for tissues that were on sale and we walked out of the pharmacy with free tissues. My word, a toddler who knows the purpose of a good coupon.

Last week I was going over the schedule with my kids. I mentioned Mommy had a stack of checks from clients and we were going to go to the bank. My son asks, "Mommy, are you going to put that money in the bank so you have it when you are too old to work." The moment was too funny.


Commenter Abbi said...

I'll be honest, I didn't think the first one was that cute. I'd feel sad if my son had to justify buying a piece of fruit.

Gmar chatima tova

SephardiLady said...

I imagine some wouldn't apprecate this. But, fruit is super pricy. My kids pick out fruit and their favorite vegetables (peppers) everytime we go to the grocery store. But the know their choices are limited because I simply can't pay $2.99 a pound for peaches, $3.99 a pound for peppers, $4 a package for strawberries or blueberries, or $5.99 for a pound of cherries because it simply would overrun the budget.

They get all of the above and more, just went it is on special.

I grew up with the same rules and don't remember any arguements about fruit.

tesyaa said...

ShopRite has cheap and good produce - their regular prices are much cheaper than those you quote above. Also, I have had success at Hispanic and other ethnic fruit stores in finding very, very cheap prices, with decent quality. There is some intrinsic worth in teaching kids good lifelong eating habits, even if produce is expensive.

If a pomegranate is really a stretch, how about splitting with a neighbor? Even my ka"h large family never finishes a whole one. To me it would be ridiculous to split a pomegranate with a neighbor to save $1, because this is not a recurring expense. To each his or her own.

SephardiLady said...

A pomegranate is NOT a stretch. He was so excited about learning about everything and was bouncing off his chair about buying all the siymanim. I guess you would have to have been there, but it was cute.

My kids have better eating habits than most. They get plenty of fruit and vegetables and eat all sorts of grains and legumes. But our budget is stretched, like others, and they know they can't choose anything off the shelf that suits their fancy at any time. I don't see this as a negative and it certainly makes shopping with kids in tow easier, which many mothers complain about.

miriamp said...

Well, I think they were cute!

Your son seems to have absorbed both "we wait for a sale to buy things we like that are normally too expensive" and "buying something for a mitzvah outranks waiting for a sale." Sounds like a sound philosophy to me!

Anonymous said...

Both cute stories, thanks.
Related to this, I want to get your opinion on something - and issues that goes to a difference in the way my wife and I were raised.

In my house, kids were oblivious to money - we didn't know how much things cost, especially items like yeshiva tuition or vacation. We either got it, or we didn't. There was no "we can't afford it" or "wait until it's on sale." That doesn't mean that we got everything we wanted - we just learned that when our parents said no, it meant no, and no more questions were applicable. Money was not an issue.

My wife, on the other hand, grew up with the mindset that "we can't afford it." She also heard "no" a lot, but it was usually "no, it's too much money."

Now that I have kids of my own, I'm not sure which direction to go. I don't think they need to be (or should be) shielded from the concept of money as I was, but I don't think our everyday finances should be a concern in their lives.

It seems that your kids are very aware of money - even, might I say, obsessed with it. Do children really need to be concerned about things going on sale when they're 2 years old? I'd love to hear your, and other readers', thoughts on the matter.

Anonymous said...


When my kids were younger they were oblivious, to use your term. Now they're older, and coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, money is tighter. So they hear "we can't afford it" much more often. I think this is an adjustment for them. However, I don't think it's an impossible adjustment for them to make.

I grew up in a family that was very frugal. My father, who grew up in the Depression, was very, very worried about money. The upshot is that I am obsessively anxious about not having enough money to live on. It's like a mental illness, even though I am relatively sane otherwise. Also, I am not as frugal as the way I was brought up - I rebelled a little. So I feel guilty about wanting nice things. I wish I had a more balanced attitude about money.

SephardiLady said...

Anonymous-I think I will make some of these items my next subject of conversations, but I'm signing out today after paying a bunch of bills online.

The discussion is an important one. I'm sure my readers will have a lot to add. I don't like either extreme. Finding a balance is hard no doubt. Like anonymous above, both my husband and I had a parent with some less balanced approaches.

Personally, I don't think my kids are obsessed with money as much as obsessed with "playing house" which in their mind involves looking over the ciculars, putting together a menu, making a list (one of my kids brings his own "list" to the store which normally reads bananas and milk), and matching the coupons to the items on the list.

If they were obsessed, I'd hope they would stop wasting so much water around here,lol. Fortunately, at our efforts at stopping utility waste are being reinforced at school where the teach assigns the last person in line to shut off the light before leaving the class. Of course, any instruction you give little children is sure to manifest itself in some random comment somewhere else because when we stopped in at a local Yeshiva for some event and he saw empty rooms lit up bright, he asked why the big kids don't know you have to turn off the light when you leave the room. If the boy wasn't so shy, I'd have him ask the Yeshiva's director directly since I don't like seeing institutions dependent on the money of the klal not taking basic money saving measures the rest of us take to be able to pay tuition.

Ezzie said...

I think I recall hearing "we/you don't need that", which was a nice compromise between the two choices above and also reinforced what was a need and what was not.

SL - Well trained kids. :)

mlevin said...

When we were younger and didn't have enough money, I did coupon cutting and waiting until sale and my children didn't get all the "Kit-Kats" they wanted. At the same time we never used terms like "can't afford", because in reality we can, we can go into debt and buy up all the "Kit-Kats" in the store, but it is just a wrong thing to do. I also tought my children with examples. I would say "look at so-so they are not saving anything and wasting money like water. What will happen if G-d forbid one of them loses a job." After a while my children learned how to pick out bad traits in other people. Then later on, especially on Shabbos, we (Husband, I, children) would discuss it, sometimes have heated arguments over it. For instance my husband does not believe that crooks will pay for it one day, I on the other hand a starch believer that all crooks are digging their own graves.

Commenter Abbi said...

Hmm, mlevin, it sounds like instead of educating your children to be frugal, you just taught them to be judgmental of others. "Looking at so and so" doesn't count as education since you really don't know what is going on with so and so's finances or what goes on behind closed doors.

Anon- i grew up in a similar home to yours, and i'm doing pretty much the same with my kids. They don't get every treat they ask for and sometimes i tell them i can't get something because I literally have no money on me, or i say that's not what I want to spend money on right now.

OTOH, my mom was not a frugal grocery shopper and I have to say, I'm not either, in the sense of not buying one thing over my list because we can't afford it. I try to buy the cheapest I can, I compare prices and try to get things on sale or take advantage of sales as much as I can. But I definitely wouldn't think twice about getting a pomegranate for chag. Or even meat or chicken for that matter. I did splurge on a corned beef last week because I haven't bought one probably the whole year and I knew my husband would really enjoy it.

OTOH, I do live in a country where produce is one of the cheapest things you can get especially at the shuk. I passed the greengrocer near me and noticed that peaches were 5.99 shekel a kilo (2.2 lbs) ($1.72 at today's exchange rate)

SephardiLady said...

But I definitely wouldn't think twice about getting a pomegranate for chag.

And we wouldn't think twice about getting a pomegrante for the chag, nor an arba minim set, which costs around 45 times the amount of the pomogranate.

That is why I thought the story was cute: he was excited about "breaking" a rule about only choosing between certain produce because it was a treat for the chag.

Mlevin-I think it is important to discuss how current choices impact future realities, but why drag anyone else's habits into it?

mlevin said...

"-I think it is important to discuss how current choices impact future realities, but why drag anyone else's habits into it?" Because that's how you teach from example. Theory teaching is nothing when compared with actual picture.

Here's an example, we are friends with a young couple. They are both working and have two children. They are constantly complaining that they have no money to buy a house in Brooklyn. But if you look at their spending habbits you'd go insane. They hire a babysitter for a day, because he takes a sick day to go fishing. They go out to expensive restaurants ($100+) on regular basis. They use babywipes to clean their baby at home. They buy baby food instead of making it themselves. They buy food out for shabbos and yom tov. They have a cleaning lady, they always have a latest laptop and other electronics... Everywhere you look you could find a cheaper way for them to live.

So, we with children discuss it, and they know that if this couple could live frugaly for only a few years, then they would be able to afford that house. $100 here and $100 there adds upd to thousands of dollars.

SephardiLady said...

There are no shortgage of couples like this. Sometimes they are related to us, no less.

I have a client with terrible spending habits. And my kids know it because they hear my end of our phone conversations where I warn him that this habit + that habit + the other habit + the other habit + the other habit is how he got in over his head and the only way he will get out is to stop doing what he is doing.

mlevin said...

exactly, that's why I used examples. Easier to understand.