Learning finance with guinea pigs

Bonnie Nevel with her daughter and guinea pigs.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

TESS VIGELAND: So we've been asking you, our listeners, for your stories about childhood and money. What your parents taught you or didn't. What you're teaching your kids or not. For most parents, it's trial and error.

This week we hear from a mom and daughter in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Bonnie Nevel: My name is Bonnie Nevel. I'm Rose's mom.

Rose Newell: I'm Rose Newell and I am 9 years old, soon to be 10.

Bonnie: We started giving Rose an allowance when she turned six. I decided that we would use it as a money-learning tool, as opposed to a reward system for chores and things, because it was important to me for her to understand that as a family member she had obligations around the house that were different from being paid for things.

We decided to parse it out a little for her, because she was so young.

Rose: It's $2 every week. That's for my wallet and then I usually get, like, a dollar for charity and a dollar for savings.

Bonnie: When she got her allowance or when she had a few weeks' worth of allowance, she would just want to buy something with her money. It almost didn't matter what it was, she just wanted to spend that money

Rose: Yeah, I saved, I spent, I saved, I spent. And I did that for a while.

Bonnie: And I've noticed recently that she's actually much more thoughtful now about whether it's something that she really wants or whether it's just fun to spend money.

Rose, I can think of times that you've saved up a lot and did a big spending, one with the guinea pigs.

Rose: So, I decided that I wanted guinea pigs, because you can actually pick them up and they're soft. We did this whole adding thing and we added up all the supplies and everything and it was like $260. I was like, "Oh my gosh! That's a lot of money!" So I had all my bank account, which was like $70 I'd say. And then I had, like, $40 from two birthday money and Christmas money, and then I had all my allowance. So I saved up for a while. And after a long time, now I've got two happy guinea pigs.

Bonnie: You know, spending money is a part of life, just like saving money. And it's been nice to see her think more about how she wants to spend it.

Vigeland: Bonnie Nevel and Rose Newell.

About the author

Tess Vigeland is the host of Marketplace Money, where she takes a deep dive into why we do what we do with our money.

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