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I Had No Idea That Cost That Much

It was a Thursday, I remember it like it was yesterday. Both my oldest son and I were returning from the grocery store. It was the seven words that changed his life and sparked the birth of the 4.0 Finances Teen Financial Bootcamp. I had no idea what I had just done, but I liked the outcome. On the way to the grocery store I made my son sit in the front seat. This was a change from previous travels, as I would let him ride in the back seat. I think he likes when I drive him around, because he likes to look important, but I digress.

The first thing I learned was when he rides in the front of the seat we are akwardly forced to have a conversation. This may seem like a normal thing to do, but in the social media world and information age this has been lost. My teen sons love to ride in the back because they just put on their headphones and listen to their tunes. This normal departure had intensions, because “today was the day”, the day that I introduced my son to a shopping budget. On the way to the store I asked him about things him and his brother would like to have added to the normal grocery budget. He begun to list things like GatorAid (r) and Frosted Flakes (r), amoung other things.

This allowed me to share my second most important point, I wanted to share with him how important it was for him to always have a budget, a list, and an estimated cost for each item on said list. Asking him what he wanted invited “buy-in” from him for the shopping process, yet his unknowing assistance helped develop the core of this program. Once we got out of the car, I had him get a basket for him and his brother’s stuff/junk and I got a basket for the household items. Once we entered the store I shared with him how items that the store wanted to push he would see with big “On Sale” signs. He said oh really, I said yes, and that is why it is important for you to make your list prior to entering the store. The big signs can distract you and blow your budget up within in your first 5 mins upon arriving at the store. I asked him could I take a look at his list and he shared it by sending me a copy via his “smart phone” here you go dad. I opened it and just smiled to myself and said, got it!

I showed him how the store is set up and how they want you to travel in a path and how they make sure you visit nearly every isle. I had him fill his basket with their items and I filled my basket with the core food items of the household to include milk, bread, fruits, meats, etc. We arrived at the check-out and the clerk begun to run the items over the bar code scanner. Okay sir that will be $275.34, then I said oh now I have another basket. My son said, excuse me mam, but is that $275 dollars and 34 cents. She said yes that is correct, then my son said dad can I talk to you. I said sure son what’s up, he said I don’t think we need all of this junk food I have in my basket. His proposal was only a few items instead of the basket full. We got in the car and my son said “Dad I had no idea that things cost that much”.

The reason why I created the 4.0 Finances workshop for teens is because they need to understand finances sooner then we think they should. I will share more in this area with my next blog in this series, “Son, Are You Sure You Only Need $500 Dollars”