This summer, my husband and I decided it was time for Kara to get her first checking account. Kara has always been someone who struggles with money management so we were hoping that this would help. She opened her account with about $700 -- quite impressive!
Last weekend, Kara and I were at the bank to deposit one of her checks. While we were there, the teller asked us if we wanted to know the balance in Kara's account. Over the six months Kara had her new account, the balance had fallen to just $331, including the $148 she had just deposited.
I was shocked. Kara was shocked too.
We had the teller print out a statement of her withdrawls which showed a regular stream of charges at McDonalds, Walgreens, Target, and Sentry. Not big charges, just charges about the size of an after school snack, a morning donut, or a new set of earbuds for her iPod.
This began my Mom Lecture about saving money. Blah, blah, blah. Kara promised she would do better and would build her account balance back up.
I know she felt bad.
I know this was a learning experience for her.
I know that my husband and I should have been watching this closer.
I felt bad too.
Kara & I went on with our day which included about six stops at various stores to get holiday gifts. One of our stops included a trip to Hobby Lobby. I grabbed the holiday essentials I needed, and we left for home. I was tired. The morning of stop and go, along with our conversation about spending money had worn me out.
As Kara and I walked out of Hobby Lobby, we walked past a Salvation Army bell ringer. My arms full of bags, I passed by.
Kara did not.
"Mom, wait," Kara said, and reached in her purse for her wallet. Opening her wallet, she took out a dollar bill and put it in the red kettle.
"Bless you," the bell ringer said.
It was good that I had my sunglasses on, because my eyes filled with tears.
That morning my daughter taught me an important lesson about how important it is to take care of others...even if your mom had just lectured you about saving money.