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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

What does $5 mean to a kid these days?



money.jpgEvery week I write the 5 things to do under $5 feature that runs in the Weekend section the Tampa Bay Times and tbt*, so I spend a lot of my time thinking about what you can get for a 5-spot. But when it came time to set up an allowance for a kid or to set the limit of what the Tooth Fairy was going to leave, the question comes up: What can you really buy for $5, and do kids these days even think of that as a good amount of money?

Take the tooth fairy. I got a quarter. At first I thought I'd be generous and give the kid a dollar but then I realized with tax, you couldn't even get anything at the Dollar Store for that, so the Tooth Fairy left $2. Then my son asked me why his friend Billy got $20 from the Tooth Fairy. I wanted to say, "Because Billy's dad feels guilty that he left Billy's mom," but that would be mean. So I instead said she leaves everyone the same amount but some parents (especially those with a guilty conscience!) sneak in before the kids wake up and add to it. Not bad, eh? But some parents I know do leave that large of an amount under the premise that a kid can't buy anything for much less.

As for the allowance, I was swayed by the argument that it needs to be a decent amount so they can build up savings while also learning to save for something big. I thought $5 a week, but my husband countered that it wasn't enough. It would take a kid 8-10 weeks to save up for a video game. He thinks it needs to be enough that a kid has a few bucks to spend on minor things like Slurpees but if he saves the bulk of it, he can buy something big in 3-4 weeks. So $5 wouldn't cut it.

So what do you say parents, what does $5 mean to a kid these days?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Friday, April 6, 2012 10:11am]


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