A Little Embarrassment Can Be A Great Financial Teacher

It felt great to be able to come to the rescue for my fifteen year old daughter. As young adults progress through their teen years they want more independence, and rely less and less on their parents. So when the opportunity arose for me to swoop in and save the day for my daughter I latched on to it and took full advantage of it. It also gave me the opportunity to give my daughter a great lesson in personal finance.

I had gone to the mall for some shopping, and brought my daughter with me. Once at the mall I went one way, she another. She texted me to check in when she went to a different store as we agreed. After awhile I got two very different texts from her: embarrassment

“Hey, 4 dollars off 🙂 :)”

“Can you come in here quick”

I replied:


“I’m nearby”

She was at the checkout counter of the last store she wanted to visit before going home. The problem was she was short $3.50 to make her purchase. I made a comment about being happy to still be useful to my teenage daughter, the cashier made some remark about me looking a little like Vin Diesel. None of that is really important, but the fact remained my daughter and I needed to have a conversation about how she ended up at the cash register with more product than she could pay for.

Cash Is King

My daughter is on a cash only budget. Everything she pays for is with cash. After all, she is just 15, so she doesn’t have much of a choice. She can only buy items that can be paid for with the cash in her purse.

Didn’t Keep Track

I explained to my daughter that since she could only spend the amount of cash in her purse, she should be adding up how much her items cost so she knew before she went to checkout how much the total would be. She had been keeping track of the approximate amount in her head, but that’s not good enough. She should pull out her phone and use the calculator to know exactly how much product she had in her shopping bag.

Backup May Not Be Available

In this case, she was able to text me and I was nearby to bail her out. As an adult, a person may not have extra money to bail themselves out. A person may just have to put something back.

When you have a finite amount of cash to spend, one should always…ALWAYS keep track of how much your purchase is adding up to. I think she was a little embarrassed that the cashier had to suspend her transaction and set her off to the side to help others until I arrived. That in combination with our followup discussion left her with a great lesson she can draw up on in the future.

How about you, EOD nation, do you keep track of how much your bill will be as you shop? Have you ever put something back because the total exceeded your available funds, or was just more than you thought it would add up to?

About Travis

One Response to “A Little Embarrassment Can Be A Great Financial Teacher”

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  1. Brian says:

    Nice job Vin! A good teachable moment. I typically keep a mental total when I grocery shop. So I have a good ballpark number. This why I don’t exceed our target budget number.

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