My husband and I were watching T.V tonight and a commercial came on for a simulated greyhound racing/gambling place called Greenetrack. They have an irritatingly catchy song at the end of their commercial that says, "Greenetrack pays you money....Greenetrack pays you MONEY!". It made me remember a conversation I had with Talks-a-lot about two years ago.
Being a stay-at-home mom with a husband who has always done whatever it takes to make life financially comfortable for his family, even if that means working three jobs at one time, we have learned the art of pinching a penny. We've worked desperately hard to instill in our son what it means to be frugal and this is not always an easy task with any child. On one such day of learning, Talks-a-lot had been begging to go out to eat for dinner. We had just finished grocery shopping at Walmart and I had already made plans for what we would be cooking for supper. He kept harassing me about eating out, pleading with me to go to a restaurant with his assurance that it was the "best idea". "But why can't we just go, I just really want to go out to eat tonight!", Talks-a-lot began. "Buddy, we're just not going to do that today. We just spent money at the store buying food to cook for dinner and it would be a waste of money to spend more on food at a restaurant.", I assured him. "So, we don't have any money left? You spent ALL the money that we had at Walmart and now we don't have anymore?", he questioned frightfully. "No, I didn't spend ALL of our money at Walmart.", I laughed. Talks-a-lot's face beamed with hope, "Then, we have some left over! Let's go to a restaurant.". Frustrated with his complete lack of understanding with my explanations, I continued, "Talks-a-lot, just because we have money left over, doesn't mean we need to spend it. If we always spent all the money we had, then we wouldn't have any money for anything. You have to save money so you can have it in case you need it one day.". I pressed on in my adventure in explaining the in's and out's of money managing and could tell that the situation was depressing my then three year old son. He seemed to conclude that we did not, in fact, have enough money if we didn't have enough to spare for eating out that night. "Well, Mommy," he began, "why don't you just go to Gweentwrack?" (this is in his best three year old verbally challenged voice). "Gweentwrack???" I began, "What is that??". "No, no, Mommy.....GWEENTWRACK!", he yelled. Seeing that I was no further in my understanding of his financial advice, he burst out into song. "You know, Gweentwrack pays you money....Gweentwrack pays you money!". I don't exactly remember how this conversation ended, but I have definitely had a lot of laughs about it since. Yes, let's go gambling. The simple answer to our financial woes from our wonderfully naive three year old.