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Two children, two different approaches to handling money

By: Susan Jameson
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It is amazing to me that two children birthed by the same mother and raised by the same parents can be so vastly different in every way. For example, in the handling of money, I have a saver and I have a spender. You would think that with five years between them, my older daughter, Kassi, who turns 13 today, would be the saver. By age 13, a child should have learned the value of money and have more experience with it than her younger sister, right? Wrong. Kassi and my younger child, Cayley, both get an allowance every other week. Cayley promptly puts it in her wallet or her piggy bank. Kassi, however, is frantic if she has not spent the cash by the following day. You can hear it in her voice as she asks, "When are we going to the mall?" Now don't get me wrong. Kassi doesn't pine away for an expensive item she's been eyeing at the mall. She doesn't have expensive tastes - not when it is her money we are talking about. In fact, she has a keen eye for a bargain. Unfortunately, those bargains do not include anything she needs or even wants terribly bad. She cannot pass Claire's or Icings at the Galleria without checking to see if they are having their 10 for $5 sale. It doesn't matter that she has piles of junk jewelry, drawers of old, discontinued make-up and bags of damaged merchandise. She simply must have those 10 items. Needless to say garage sales are a weakness. One time she went to a weekend garage sale with a friend and came home with an IBM Selectric. You might remember it, the typewriter we parents all learned on before there were keyboards. It was the essential college equipment people had to have before the PC made them mere paperweights gathering dust in the attic, garage or basement. "But mom, it was only a dollar." Currently the $1 typewriter holds a special place in Kassi's closet - under the plastic baseball bat and the giant sponge hand. Cayley, on the other hand, saved her Christmas, birthday and allowance money last year to purchase a TV/VCR for her room. This year she was very proud to have saved four weeks of "funny money" at school to "purchase" a water bottle with the school logo on it. She was quick to point out that very few of her classmates were able to hold out for the big prize. Don't get me wrong, though, Cayley has her own idiosyncrasies. Ask me sometime about her stuffed animal addiction. - Susan Jameson is a Press-Tribune staff writer. She can be reached at susanj@goldcountrymedia.com.