This past weekend, I had an interesting interaction with our six year old. For background, we’ve been extremely busy lately and had gotten behind on their allowance. So when we finally sat down to get caught up, he was absolutely thrilled to find that he finally had enough money to buy the Nintendo DS game that he’s been craving — Pokemon Diamond.
The online option
Since I had signed us up for Amazon Prime last fall, I figured we could just order it online and he’d have it in his hot little hands in a few days. After all, they had a great price, free shipping, and no sales tax. But that’s not how a kid views the world.
That wasn’t fast enough. He immediately began lobbying for a trip to the store. Since we had to stop by Wal-Mart to pick up some things for his brother’s birthday, I relented. “We can check it out and see if they have a decent price,” I said, knowing full well what would happen if they had it in stock.
Meanwhile, at Wal-Mart
When we arrived in the electronics section I discovered that the game of his dreams was selling for a dollar more, plus he’d have to pay sales tax. All in all, it would cost an extra $3.33 — roughly 10% more than if he purchased it from Amazon. I tried to explain this to him.
I tried to tell him that the price difference was nearly two weeks worth of spending money. I tried to assure him that it was better to wait two days and save the money, especially since he’d be in school for most of that time. But it was all for naught. He was determined to buy it.
Since the whole point of paying our kids an allowance is to teach them learn to handle money on their own, I relented. He bought the game and has been having a blast with it ever since. Was it worth paying 10% extra to get it two days sooner? In my book, no. After all, good things (like substantial savings) come to those who wait. But if you asked him, I’m sure he’d say yes.