Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Other Side of the Coin

I've discovered that Miss P's school is awesome in part because they make parents contribute so much. I'm all for helping out, but does it have to cost so much? They are ten-dollaring me to death. Ten dollars for a school t-shirt (which I was glad I caved on because EVERY OTHER KID IN SCHOOL (seriously, every single one) had one for the athletic day). Ten for a skate rental to teach them to skate in P.E. (well, at least I don't have to teach her). Ten for a donation for the class project to auction at the fall carnival. Field trip. Oh sorry, the last one was 9.75. Not to mention fundraisers (as if most of the rest of these didn't raise funds) and school pictures. Oh, and the student teacher needs a gift before she goes....

I am just not going to do it all. I CAN'T do it all, if we want to do frivolous things like--oh, eat and splurge on a packet of new socks every once in a while. We will volunteer our time and maybe some hamburger buns (or whatever) for the carnival. I might send five dollars for the student teacher. MAYBE. If I am feeling generous that day.

I saw parents spending $30 and up at the book fair. I spent around $9 and let Miss P spend her own money for the non-book items she wanted. I love books but we can go to the library and garage sales! Also, they sold a LOT of $2.99 pens. I wanted to say to the parents with armloads, "Haven't you people heard the economy is tanking? Hoard your money for the coming apocalypse!"

Anyway, this is not to criticize other parents for spending money at book fairs. I wish I had enough extra to buy books for the teachers' classroom libraries and to bid on the carnival projects. I hate having to tell Miss P that we only have enough money for X and Y, but not Z. (I try not to say, "We can't afford that." I say, "That's not in the budget. We need to use our money wisely, and we need it for something else.") As much as I wish I could buy whatever we want--let alone what the school asks for--I think learning how to say no to excessive spending is a lesson that will help her more in real life than anything the school can teach her.



  1. oh girl! know my background and my situation now, and you'll know that I'm living a hand-to-mouth kind of life...

    and yes, to say "no" to kids is sometimes hard, but so far my trick worked... since the very first day they start requesting for something (for whatever the reason might be), I'll say, "Yes, ok, I'll get it for you on your birthday..."

    Now they said it themselves, "Mommy, when its my birthday can you buy this and that and that..."
    of cos' I'll say "Yes" but when bday really comes, they can't remember what they actually asked for and they know its one-present-from-one-person rule! *wink*

    its easier for the kid to swallow, "yes..but later" than a straight "no"...

  2. My girls happen to go to a school with a BIG clump of overly wealthy families... we were sitting at open house and the teach had this "wish list" of things that he would like to have for the classroom, the idea being that each parent take something they felt they could afford and donate it. I was planning to take "clear contact paper" when this guy in a suit in the back says "Got a total amount for all that? I'll just write you a check."

    Shesh... must be nice.

  3. I echo Alison W, Amen to that.
    I think one of the best lessons a parent can teach a child is moderation and how to handle finances.
    Today it's all must have it now and must have two and must pay for it on credit.
    Just think how savvy they'll be when they grown up knowing that money doesn't grow on trees (or on credit cards!)

  4. I think YOU are teaching a very valuable lesson. There's not money for everything. At least there shouldn't be. What are those other kids learning? When they want, they get.

    And as to the request for money for a gift for the student teacher - wrong, wrong, wrong. A gift should be given, not commanded. Phew!

  5. I see this all the time and I wonder why parents can't tell their children no once in a while. My mother in law was one that couldn't say no and both my husband and his sister have had huge spending problems. Instant gratification is a hard habit to break...

    Glad you brought this up! :)