At primary school, if you want your dinner, you either take a packed lunch with you or pay upfront for school dinners.
The thing with high school though, is that you’re now a responsible person in charge of your own dinner money.
Oh yes. You take in your money, and upload it onto a machine that’s been tailored to your fingerprint so only you can use it.
(It’s very high tech stuff nowadays, none of this shoving money in an envelope malarkey with the teacher’s name, form and amount scribbled in biro on the front.)
When you’re a kid who’s just been let loose in a sweet shop for the first time you have to exercise a bit of willpower though. Or more accurately in a dinner hall full of tempting break snacks such as bagels, hot buttered toast, as well as all the spaghetti bolognese, creamy curries, meatballs, etc.
Willpower needed because even if you spend all your money on your account, you are still able to get hot toasted snacks or whatever.
Yes kids, even if there’s no money on your account you can still buy things with it.
Way to go by introducing the concept of debt to a newly turned 11 year old.
The other day he decided he didn’t like his packed lunch sandwich so bought one. Even though his account said zero, all spent up, it lets you get it.
The other morning he got a bagel at break time.
So his account is now in debt before he’s even had any school lunches this week. Sheesh.
I suppose it does create an opportunity to learn about the concept of money managing at an early age though.
So instead of just paying off his ‘overdraft’ of a few pounds, it’s coming out of his pocket money. The first time I did, but now, not so much.
Is it not better that he learns if you spend what you don’t have then it has to be paid back? I think it stands you in good stead to take this approach instead of just automatically paying it back for him.
After all, in adult real life, you can’t go crying to mummy to pay off your credit card debts or whatever, can you?!
What would you do?
Am I harsh, or fair?! :-)