Teens Are More Financially Savvy Than We Give Them Credit For

It is the responsibility of parents to teach financial concepts and responsibility to their children. Sometimes one wonders if lessons are being absorbed and understood. But every now and then, they say or do something that lets you know they are smarter and pay attention more than they are sometimes given credit for. My daughter gave me one such moment over the weekend.

We’ve been remodeling my daughter’s room with fresh paint, new furniture and a new closet organizer. The closet organizer has a center piece that is drawers and shelves, and then 4 rods (2 on the top, and 2 on the bottom) extend from the center piece to the walls.  Unfortunately, the rods are too short even at their shortest length (they are adjustable).  Thus I asked my neighbor to cut them with his circular saw with a metal cutting blade. He did the initial 3 that came with the base unit. I picked up a 4th rod, and was going to ask my neighbor to cut it, but he was to be out of town all day. I mentioned to my daughter I was going to buy a hand saw with a metal cutting blade to get the 4th rod up.

“Why don’t you just wait until our neighbor gets back?” she asked.

“Because we’ve been wanting to do this for a week, and I just want to get it done,” I responded.

“But then you have to buy a new saw, right?” she shot back.

“Yes, but they’re not that expensive,” I replied.

“Waiting is free,” she said matter of factly.

I looked at her with a stunned look in my eyes, realizing just how right she was.

I didn’t have the tools to cut the metal rod, and would have to buy a new tool that I would rarely or maybe never use again. Waiting for my neighbor to get home to use his was free.

I wanted to get my daughter’s closet organizer together and complete. But having the 4th rod was a nicety, not a necessity. Waiting to put up the 4th rod until my neighbor got back home was free.

I had other things I could do with my daughter’s room remodel such as touch up some paint, look for a headboard for her bed, or go look for a new comforter. The 4th rod could wait until later that evening or the next day, or even the day after that.

We are so used to convenience that we will pay unnecessarily for it. It would be convenient for me to go buy a new saw with a metal cutting blade to finish my daughter’s closet organizer. It might not be that expensive, but it would be an unnecessary expense. It’s OK to be patient. It’s OK to wait a little longer for what we want, especially if it leaves a little extra money in our pockets.

How about you, EOD Nation, when was the last time you spent money on something unnecessarily just because you didn’t want to wait?

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