"How much money do you get paid, mummy?"
"I like this bag. Is it very expensive?"
"That's a pretty coloured car. Do you think it was 5,000 yen or 10,000 yen?" (obviously they aren't very far through the money unit of the curriculum!)
Part one in the money process is of course how do you acquire money? Being that Meg is nearing the end of the toothfairy goldmine she wanted jobs to do for pocket money. Her suggestions were being paid 100 yen a pop for:
brushing her teeth,
doing her homework,
putting her clothes away in her drawer.
I explained that there are some things we do because they are our responsibility and we don't get paid- no-one pays mummy to wash the dishes or cook her dinner....
The revised list (on a beautiful laminated multi-colour chart complete with magnets and smiley faces) was 100 yen a week (I know, I'm cheap) for:
keeping her desk clean,
lining up the shoes in the genkan each evening
dusting the staircase (this was her idea as she loves the magic cloth)
It went off with a bang and...
...lasted all of two days.
It was cold in the genkan.
She was too busy playing to dust or tidy.
The first payday was yesterday. And she didn't get paid. Because she didn't do the work. She was quite horrified that this is the way the world turns and was quite concerned that K really shouldn't be sitting around on a Saturday- he should go to work and earn money!
Part 2 of her financial education has been living within your means.
The girls were each given 1000 yen of their New Year gift money to have as their own in their wallets. Amy is pretty oblivious to it and asked me to keep her wallet for her as she kept losing it. Meg is very aware of her money and takes it out to count and sort and re-arrange. She has kept all her receipts from her purchases and annotated them 'pink eraser from Matsumoto' etc.
While in theory I have given them this money to use as they please in reality I don't want them to waste it... so I tend to strongly encourage careful thought on their purchases.
This morning they both wanted to walk down to the vending machine (no shops within coo-ee of here but we have a vending machine) and buy a drink.
"How much is a drink, mummy?"
"Cans are 120 yen and bottles are 150 yen."
"If I put in two one hundred yen coins I'll get money back?"
"Yes. But it's not 200 yen that comes back, honey. It's the change. That means if you buy a bottle you will put in 200 yen and only get back 50 yen."
"It's your money. If you want to buy a drink you can. But then you'll have less money left in your purse. That's what happens when you buy something."
"Or you can have a drink of milk or water or apple juice here and save your money."
"How much is milk?"
"At home? It's free."
"Free?? No money?!"
"Of course. It's always fr-"
"AMY!!! Come here!! Mummy said we can drink milk for FREE!!"
Part three: the budding entrepreneur.
A miso salesman came to the door seeing if we wanted to order any. Meg thought he was giving it away and couldn't understand why I said no. When I explained that that's how he makes his money- he sells miso, she had a light bulb moment.
For the rest of the afternoon she and Amy set up shop in the living room. They dragged most of the toys from the playroom in there, grabbed the hello kitty toy cash register and ripped up some paper to make price tags. K and I were then invited to come and make a purchase:
When I commented that the prices were a little on the expensive side I was told that they needed to make money. I pointed out that the eraser had been bought at the 100 yen shop and used for a couple of months since then so it seemed a bit cheeky to now sell it for so much....
"If you don't have enough money go and do some more work. Next time bring enough money when you come shopping please."
Ouch. I hope the next money based lesson is on ethics or better yet- charity!