A little while ago, our daughters finally reached their savings target to buy this Littlest Pet Shop Hamster house:
They saved their pocket money each week, did extra chores and counted their money every few days - sometimes every day, to see how close they were getting.
When they finally reached their goal of $39 saved between them, they counted and checked their money one last time, then put it into their purses and off we went to the shop.
When we got to the checkout, the sales assistant scanned the hamster house and then waited while the girls opened their purses.
You should have seen his face when they emptied all the coins onto the counter!
He said nothing, but began to count. He counted the single $10 note, then $19 in gold $1 and $2 coins. He then set them aside and turned to me to say,
"That's $29, now do you have a $10 note for the rest, as I can't put all those coins in my till."
I have to say I was shocked. My poor daughters who had spent so long saving and counting those coins - and they were now worried the shop wasn't going to take them!
I politely told him that I didn't have any money - that was the remaining money - pointing to the pile of coins on the counter.
At this point, a supervisor walked past, saw the pile of coins and rolled her eyes. She said to the sales assistant, "Is it all there?'
He replied that is was, and she told him to put it in his till and she would bring some bags to sort it out.
Thankfully we managed to pay with those coins and the girls left the store very happy.
But I was left wondering about how it is becoming rarer and sometimes more difficult to deal in cash - particularly coins.
Did you ever have a jar that you saved up a particular coin in? I remember as a kid saving up 10 pence pieces. When I'd filled my money box, I took it to the bank, where they counted it and put it into my account for me.
Nowadays, in banks (certainly in Australia - I'm not sure about other countries) banks won't count coins for you any more. You have to count and bag those coins yourself before they will accept them (even though they will then count them themselves anyway to check you counted right!!). I have even heard of some banks refusing to take piles of coins at particularly busy times as it takes up too much of their time.
I also learnt that in the UK, shops are only legally required to take payment up to a certain amount in coins:
Coins are legal tender throughout the United Kingdom for the following amount:
$5 (Crown) - for any amount
$2 - for any amount
$1 - for any amount
50p - for any amount not exceeding $10
25p (Crown) - for any amount not exceeding $10
20p - for any amount not exceeding $10
10p - for any amount not exceeding $5
5p - for any amount not exceeding $5
2p - for any amount not exceeding 20p
1p - for any amount not exceeding 20p
While I can understand shops not wanting big piles of coins when they could have nice easy notes and larger value coins in their place, to have this as a fixed law seems a bit extreme.
Particularly with kids, this rule is a bit harsh.
Children should be encouraged to save for things, to learn about money - particularly cash, and be able to spend their carefully earned and saved coins. This is an important part of their education - to see and experience this in real life
For our daughters, in the national curriculum for their age groups, the younger (grade 2) must learn to:
Count and order small collections of Australian coins and
notes according to their value
And the elder daughter must learn to:
Solve problems involving purchases and the calculation of
change to the nearest five cents with and without digital
Kids are far more likely to learn and remember concepts that they can experience in real life.
We will continue to encourage our kids to earn and save up their coins for things, and they take them to shops to buy what they choose.
I hope the sales assistants we encounter will be sympathetic to what our kids are doing!
Have you ever had an experience like this ? Do your kids save and earn small amounts of coins? What do they do with them?