Updated: Jun 11, 2022
Ben loves to go shopping and to give gifts. He always remembers the things that people love or collect and throughout the year will pick up items that he knows will please others.
One concept that is hard for Ben to understand is the value of money. He has been working since he was 16 years old and has had access to some spending cash each week and has his own credit card. His dad set him up with a Quicken program and Ben is supposed to "do his finances" each week. This means accounting for the money in his wallet, mainly so that we know he is not being taken advantage of by anyone. You will often hear him say on Sunday afternoons "Not my finances!!" Ben's solution to this exercise, where he could not recall how he spent his cash, is to charge everything so the documentation is done by the card statement. $ 0.59 candy bar? No problem, credit card! Pretty ingenious!
One year for Christmas he went to a
local sports store and picked up an $80 Flyers sweatshirt for a casual family friend and a $20 Phillies shirt for his own brother. He did not see any issue with the discrepancy in the amount spent as we was only looking at the teams that he knew those particular people enjoyed.
His brother Dan came up with the best solution ever. Dan realized that Ben's most prized possession is his cell phone. It is Ben's connection to the outside world and all of his acquaintances. He is never without it nearby. Dan's often said if you gave Ben a financial consequence, he would not care in the least and it would mean nothing to him, but if you took his phone away for a period of time he would fall apart!
Dan realized that was the best way to teach him the value of an item or decision. For instance, if Ben wanted to purchase a frivolous unneeded item that cost $10 Dan would say "Sure, you can get it if you want but that means you need to give me your phone for 10 hours". This always makes Ben stop and think about if he really needs an item or if he is just shopping out of boredom.
Last week, Ben went to one of our favorite restaurants, The Eagle Diner, with his aunts and he ordered my favorite, crab cakes. He texted me on the way home to tell me that he had a great time and that he saved me some of his crab cake because he knew how much I love them. I was looking forward to lunch the next day and opened the container to reheat my special treat but was a bit dismayed by what I found:
Well, it is the thought that counts!!
Love you more,