My oldest child is 9. I’m trying to involve him in my writing by letting him know exactly what it is I’m doing when I’m working on the computer.
He’s also a Lego addict.
My 9-year-old is lusting after a $400 Lego set
My son checked in on me when I was emailing Laura Vanderkam a couple of months ago for this post. I told him that she wrote a book about money and happiness, and I was emailing her questions about it. He said, “I have a question.” It was a good one:
Are kids are happier when they save up their money to buy one big toy (like the big Lego sets that cost several hundred dollars), or when they spend the same amount of money to purchase multiple smaller Lego sets, more often?
A good question! And my squishy answer is that he should do both. The issue is that we get used to most things in life. So every time he gets a new Lego set, it will make him happy, but then, soon, it will cease to do so. If he buys lots of Lego sets, he’ll have lots of happiness boosts, whereas one big set will give him only one boost.
The counter-argument, though, is that we gain much happiness in life from setting difficult goals and then achieving them. Saving up for a big Lego set will have him anticipating the purchase over a long period of time, and anticipation is about as important to happiness as the actual experience itself.
To get both, he could devote half his money to smaller purchases, while building up one big fund for a bigger purchase. That would strike me as the optimal balance.
I saw an opportunity to buy lots of Lego happiness cheap–and took it.
My son has also anxiously been awaiting an out-of-print Lego book from the library since sometime last summer. I wanted to just buy it for him, but it’s out of print and in demand, and last year I couldn’t find a copy for less than $80.
A month ago, I checked the status of our request on the library website (and seeing that we’d be waiting for forever, still), then checked half.com on a whim, just to see. And they had a copy for $5 (and a whole bunch for $80). I’m an under-buyer, and have a hard time pulling the trigger on any discretionary purchase, but I thought about it for all of 5 seconds before I clicked “buy now.”
I knew he’d love it. I knew he’d read it for dozens, if not hundreds, of hours, because he has pored and pored over Sean Kenney’s books. I knew the purchase would make both of us very, very happy.
That’s a lot of happiness for $5 plus shipping.
My son is still toying with the idea of saving up for that $400 Dreamliner, but he’s loving his $5 Lego book. It’s been a long time since I got that much bang for my happiness buck.
Do you lean more towards small happinesses or are you saving up for some large happiness?