Last month, I wrote about one of the many struggles we deal with as parents, educating our kids about money. Whether we teach our kids about the value of hard work through chores with an allowance or teaching our kids the value of the dollars they have to spend. However, it’s not an easy task because usually it falls later on the priority list as parents.
I was in Bob’s office, our Executive Director, recently and I saw an old oatmeal container with a piece of paper on the outside of it that read “Our Canoe Fund.” Along with the words, there was a child’s drawing of a canoe on the water. It perked my interest and wondered what the story was behind the “canoe fund.” So, I decided to ask…
When I asked him to tell me about the savings jar, here is what he said:
"We used to do a lot of floating as a family. We really enjoyed it, but we didn’t have our own canoe. Instead, we would rent inner tubes, kayaks, and canoes from one of the many rental places along the rivers we floated. Then we saw a family on the river with a really neat kayak and we talked about how it would be nice if we were to get one of those.
So, I decided that we should just make it a goal of ours to save up enough to be able to buy the kayak by doing side jobs to raise the money. I grew up on a farm in Kansas and we didn’t have a whole lot of money. So, the only way I got my own money was by doing side odd jobs for people. So, I wanted Sarah to have the same experience I had because I believe it helped me understand that nothing comes for free. We had to work for it.
Up to that point, I had been doing some landscaping and other odd jobs to raise a little extra spending money for the things we wanted. Now because Sarah wanted to save up for this kayak, I had her tag along with me to help out. Of course, she wasn’t all that old, but she helped. She would help me clear sidewalks in the winter, pick up walnuts and sell them and many other side jobs I did.
So, we did this side job work for quite some time and as we did, we would put the money in the oatmeal container. We had a piece of paper in the container and as we would add money to the container, we would add to the total on the piece of paper. Eventually, we had enough to buy the kayak we wanted. So, we went to the local Bass Pro Shops and purchased it. We were able to use it on many float trips.
Fast forward to today, I would say that because of her helping out with the many other side jobs that I did and the other conversations we had about money, she has is now an adult who has strong financial footing. She doesn’t over spend and she works extra for the things she wants. I have always said, if you want extra, work extra."
So, Bob and his family set a goal and worked extra to get a little extra. It's not easy to save money, but the discipline Bob and Sarah displayed with their canoe fund is something from which we could all benefit. I hope that someday, I have the same opportunity to teach my kids about the value hard work has on our ability to achieve financial independence.