When my kids were little, money was always very tight. My then-husband had a great job and made good money. The problem was that he had a hard time letting go of it at home. I was the only adult I knew who received a weekly “allowance” that barely covered groceries but was supposed to also cover haircuts, clothing, shoes, gifts, gas, personal items, and anything in between. The amount of his paychecks was always kept a mystery.
I looked for ways to make extra money. I babysat, sold Avon, and had countless hostess parties like Tupperware and Christmas Around the World. I tried anything I could in order to buy needed things and to buy Christmas and birthdays gifts for my kids.
I hated having to ridiculously scrimp and cut pennies just to get groceries in the door when I knew we could easily afford a better lifestyle. Thank goodness my mom sometimes sewed and bought clothes for the kids.
It was not uncommon for me to periodically raid closets and kids’ dresser drawers or kitchen cupboards looking for things we no longer needed. I sold everything I could like the baby crib, toys, high chair, and clothes as soon as they were outgrown.
Rachel was three and a half when her baby brother was born and her sister was almost two. With such young siblings she seemed very mature for her age and made a great helper. One day, I was preparing for a yard sale and was pretty busy marking out prices on the items I was going to sell the next morning.
“Mommy, can I sell something of mine and keep the money?” Rachel said.
“Can I sell that really big stuffed animal in my room?” The larger than life stuffed animal was given to Rachel several years before when a family friend wanted to get it out of her daughter’s bedroom. It was huge and clumsy. It would easily overfill an adult rocking chair.
“Yeah, sure.” I said.
“How much do I sell it for?” she said. I could see the glisten of hope in her eyes as she assumed a stuffed animal that huge had to sell for lots and lots of money. These stuffed animals were expensive enough, but I didn’t see a big market for it as most parents would wonder where they would put it.
“Well, I don’t know,” I said as I looked it over, “let me think about it.” It looked like it was new. Other than it getting climbed on once in a while, it mainly sat in the corner collecting dust and taking up a chunk of the room she shared with her younger sister.
I gave her a large piece of paper and pen, and a safety pin and told her how to make her sign. “I think you should pin a sign on it for about $8 dollars, then see how it goes. You can mark it down $7 or $6 if after a few hours it hasn’t sold for $8.”
Halfway through the yards sale I noticed Rachel’s animal still sitting on a chair on our driveway.
When I stood in front of it, I understood why so many people walked past it and chuckled. Eager to sell it, Rachel cut a few steps. She was used to me having yard sales, so I thought she got the basic idea, but at age seven, she didn’t understand sales and marketing in the slightest.
I laughed and called Rachel over.
“Honey, have you had this sign just like this the whole time?”
“Okay, let me ask you something. If you went to a yard sale and saw something you really liked but it had three prices like this does, which one of these prices would you want to pay?”
Rachel looked at her handmade sign for a few seconds, then looked at me with a shy smile.
“I think I’d like the $6 dollar one better,” she said. I don’t remember if it sold or what happened to that stuffed animal, but I knew there was a lesson learned that day.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com.