Saturday, September 25, 2010
Like can I afford this?
Is this the right choice for now AND the new few years?
Is there a better choice I can make?
Now I would have much less of a problem with instant decision making if it were primarily about helping others like making a snap decision to work at a homeless shelter or visit patients at a hospice. Most often it's about acquiring stuff.
New $400 boots are purchased because wearing last year's $400 boots is untenable, even if the $400 is charged to a credit card and won't be paid for till the next year and the actual cost, allowing for interest, will be $700.
A 10 day cruise is booked even if it has to go on the line of credit. Just because it sounded good.
A new car is purchased without consider the possibility of car pooling and the need for sufficient seat belts. But it was a convertable!
So a house is purchased not thinking about the reduction in salary during maternity leave or a desire to have one or both parents on a reduced work schedule. Because the house, you know, had a triple garage and Wolf appliances!
Husband and I are thoughtful in most of our decisions. Whether it is where to live, what activities to put our kids in or where and when to vacation, we have endless discussions about what will be a good fit. Cost, timing and suitability to our family are the three major variables.
So we are trying to teach our kids to be thoughtful in their decisions.
A couple weeks ago Jackson told us he wanted to buy a new Wii video game. With his own money. With a price tag of $60, it was a significant chunk of his savings. While most parents might take a less interventionist approach and let their kids spend their own money how they want, and live with the consequences, I am not most parents.
First step was to break the news to the J Boy that at 9:10 pm on a Friday night there were virtually no stores open and even if there were we were not going to be going to buy it now. If anyone is going out that late on a Friday, it`s going to be bringing Mommy back a mini Blizzard from Dairy Queen.
Jackson accepted the reality and told us we had until noon the next day to make it happen. When we reminded him of how well ultimatums have worked in the past, he graciously extended his deadline by 36 hours.
I changed tacts and told him that we needed to have a conversation about it. So I conducted a probing interview: Wasn't he saving up for something else? Was he willing to part with that amount of money and defer his 'big' purchase? Why did he want this game? What about other games he has talked about?
Has he talked to anyone that owns this game? Has he tried it himself? How much does it cost? Can you get it used? Is the price about to drop when a new game in the series is released?
Disclaimer: all this talk about instant gratification does not apply to the navy purse I saw and bought impulsively last Thursday. It was a REALLY good deal and I really, really wanted it.