photo credit: daniel spils
My boys and I went through their collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars the other day.
I had bought storage containers to keep the cars organized, and the boys helped me fill up their new cases.
There were 154 toy cars for three boys. My thoughts instantly went to the dollar amount invested in these little vehicles.
Have we really spend more than $150 on toy cars? I was both amazed and a little embarrassed at our collection.
I stressed to my boys that they were lucky to have so many sets of wheels. After all, not every family has a fleet of toys this big.
I realized that these cars were reminders of how often we think it’s alright to purchase things because “they’re only $1.”
These little cars were treats for being good, surprises from grandparents, gifts for birthdays and holidays, and a way to make dentist visits more palatable. They were bought by boys with Tooth Fairy money and earned for being nice to their brothers.
These little cars represented the idea that, as long as the treat wasn’t expensive, it was okay to spoil the kids every now and again.
And what kind of message is that sending? And how often do I treat myself to little things that add up?
That candy bar or bottle of soda, a magazine, or an MP3 download – all those little rewards I buy myself. I can tell myself I’ve had a hard day, I’ve worked hard, I deserve it.
I know that little rewards can help you reach your goals. I know that little rewards can make all the difference when you’ve pulled the budget in so tightly you can hardly breathe.
But all these little things add up. They cost money, they take up space, and it takes time to take care of these things.
We’ve got to do a better job of making the treats a rare occassion instead of the “norm.”
I think we would all appreciate the little things more if they were a little more rare.