He got a couple of the sets for Christmas and put them together pretty much the hour or two after he opened them. As in all Lego sets (maybe all toys in general) they included a little brochure showing all the other Lego dinosaur sets that were available. Evan immediately had his sights set on a dinosaur paddock. The largest and therefore, most expensive of the sets. In looking around our town at Target and Meijer - the paddock was nowhere to be found, so it wasn't that big of a deal. Then one fateful day as Spencer and I were shopping for a birthday gift for a buddy of his at Walmart - the paddock was spotted and its cost was revealed to be ninety nine dollars.
Spencer rushed into the house when we got home and excitedly told Evan about his discovery. Later that night, Evan decided to empty his piggy bank and collect all the other change around his room so he could see how much money he had. He asked me if I would count it for him. I told him to put it in a bag or something and we would take it to the change machine after school because there was no way I was going to sit and count out pennies all night.
He put it in one of his socks. He called it his money sock. A money sock with a hole in it that had to be patched with a piece of painters tape. He carried the sock around all night in anticipation of the next day - counting day. Now this is a child's sock. It is not big and he didn't have it full - just full enough that it looked like there was a tennis ball sized bulge in the sock. He was so excited about finding out how much money he had that I felt like I had to soften the blow a bit. I told him that he probably had about twelve dollars or so and that was a good start to save up for the Lego set.
When he got home from school the next day, he was ready to count his stash. Luckily, Trent was home to hang out with the other two and Evan and I took off to the money cruncher. He asked me again how much I thought he had and I told him probably fifteen or twenty dollars, but no where near close to ninety. He thought he had around nineteen dollars - or maybe twenty three.
We got to the money machine and started to empty the sock in. The machine started clinking and counting and taking his eight percent of every dollar. Still better than me having to count and roll coins. His total passed twelve. It passed nineteen. It passed twenty. It passed twenty three. As the total kept on going up I was in shock and Evan had a grin on his face that I will never forget. We were laughing as the total passed thirty, passed forty, passed fifty. Evan was giddy. He was smiling and laughing almost hysterically. It passed sixty. It passed seventy. It passed eighty. More hysterics. It passed ninety and stopped at ninety one dollars and sixty three cents.
Ninety one dollars and sixty three cents - minus the eight percent fee - all in that tiny money sock!
We took our receipt to the checkout and Evan watched in amazement as his bills shot out of the money slot. He told me that he was laughing so hard as the machine counted he wanted to pound his fists on the floor and roll around. He was so happy.
We didn't buy the Lego set. We had a talk on the way home about saving up and making what you purchase mean something to you. I told him that even though he had enough for the paddock (including other money he had at home) it didn't make sense to buy it now because first of all: he had just received a bunch of stuff for Christmas that he still had to play with. Second of all, it wasn't on sale. Even if he waited for a small sale he would be able to save significant money and thirdly, before long his birthday would be here and he could ask for it then. He agreed with my reasons and couldn't wait to stash the bills away in his wallet.
It was a fun experience that I will never forget. It is amazing how much a sock full of coins can add up to! I need to fill up my own money sock and bring it in!