Real-Life Money Spending: Always Look at Prices!

A couple of months ago, I wrote a real life money story about my son using his debit card to buy some arcade games and candy for his friends. I guess this isn’t normal for a ten-year-old.

Today, I’ve got another money story. As you can tell from the title, it’s not quite as positive.

My kids love Guardians of the Galaxy. They love that it has the action of a Marvel movie, but also that it’s very funny. They also love the music, which is a big win for me. We were at Walmart picking up a few things, and my 10-year-old (the oldest) spotted a Guardians of the Galaxy magazine as we were going through the checkout. He grabbed it and said that I could subtract it out of his FamZoo account. It sounded good to me. I encourage reading over video games and YouTube any chance I get.

Guardians of the Galaxy Magazine

We got home, and it was late, so we went to bed. The next day we were both in for a surprise. I looked at the receipt and saw that it was $13.99. So I asked my son if he knew how much the magazine was. He said that he didn’t. I bet it wasn’t advertised very well outside of the little price in the lower-left corner. I don’t think many kids would know to look there for the price anyway.

The tragedy is that $14 at Walmart goes a lot way. You can get a decent toy and have money left over for a good amount of candy. While he loved the magazine, I think he realized that it wasn’t the best use of his money.

It was a great lesson, and it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t let my son control his money with the FamZoo account. By empowering my son to make money mistakes, he is learning. In a related story, I have an update on the $7 shark pen my youngest son bought in that article. He came home at the end of the school year with it, and it was broken. The shark’s jaws wouldn’t open or close anymore. I asked him if he thought he got $7 of value out of it, and he said that he did. Maybe it wasn’t a money mistake after all. Maybe he is still learning some of the costs of things.

The money-learning journey continues…

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

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