Other people’s money – an epiphany!

Posted by Ryans Dad on 30th September 2009

Last night Ryan and I went on a shopping trip to get some materials he will need for this project. We went with a shopping list and a budget to keep within. It was to be a $20.00 shopping spree. That would be a “spree” for a six year old at least. So the challenge was to get everything we could within that spending limit.

This would be a great exercise in a number of areas.

  1. Setting priorities
  2. Mathematics
  3. Making compromises
  4. Working with a budget

paint-cansWe decided that the most important thing to focus on was the paint, since we still had some of the other items on the list on hand at home (although dwindling). So we headed to the paint department and started reviewing the spray paint options. Ryan made some color choices and we studied the different paint finishes and their respective pricing differences. Based on our budget Ryan found that his original six choices of paint would have to be trimmed to four. After some pondering, his final choices were made.

During the course of deciding on the paint colors Ryan had what I found to be an interesting dilemma to ponder. From the colors he wanted, he would be able to buy 6 cans of various colored paints. However, he was interested in two other colors which were more expensive. So he had two options. Buy the six to get more cans, or buy only four but include the two that were more expensive. In the end he decided on the four including two metallic finishes that he really liked. He prioritized the colors over the quantity.

With the paint selections eating up the evenings budget it was time to head for the cashier. Checking out at the register Ryan was very proud to pull his own money out of his pocket and make the purchase. The total at checkout? $20.30. Pretty good in terms of sticking to the budget.

It was on the way home that Ryan had his epiphany about “other people’s money”. As we were driving home Ryan was disappointed that we were not able to get all of the materials that were on our list. He knew at some point this was going to be something we had to get worked out. Then it hit him, and he presented it to me like this…

“Daddy, I’ve got it figured out! I know how we can get all of the other things we needed on our list! We just take the materials we already have and make all of the building block sets that we can and sell them for money. Then we take that money to go and buy all the materials we need to make more!” He summed up by saying, “You see Daddy? We use other people’s money to get the things we need!”

It’s hard to argue with that thinking!

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