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You can take it to the bank – and they did

Submitted by on Monday, 2 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Oct. 30, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

I feel so retro I’m ready to hitch up the horses.

Last week, the guys mailed Halloween cards to family back east. That’s right – envelopes, stamps, addresses and everything. Signed them even – sort of. Big Guy can manage only the first two letters of his name. Makes me wish I’d named him Al or Ed – he’d think he was a genius because he could spell the whole thing.

And today, we went to the bank. A real honest-to-gosh bank. Not one in a grocery store, not an ATM.

Remember those? I’d almost forgotten. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in one in the past two years.

Seems these days, I have an arm’s length relationship with my money, and it’s not just because, since the guys came along, it goes out almost as soon as it comes in.

I’ve direct deposited my paychecks since 1990. My main savings account is through a credit union payroll deduction, while deposits into my “emergency” savings account are electronic transfers from my checking account. I also have automatic transfers set up for the guys’ college funds. I pay all but two bills online.

It’s a highly efficient system. Click-pay is far quicker than writing checks, and the labyrinth of electronic transactions saves a lot of running around and waiting in line.

But what do the guys see? Nothing.

When I was a kid, parents had to explain that, even though they were writing checks, there still was money in the bank. By the time the guys have kids, they might have to explain that money even exists.

Thinking back to what I saw about finances when I was young, I realized there’s already huge difference between my early learning and theirs.

I saw Mom deposit pay checks, mail bills, write checks and balance accounts. The guys see me pull out plastic, time and again. I have $8 in my purse right now, and that’s not unusual – I’m a hard-core check-card addict.

Big Guy already understood the difference between “toy money” – we chart his savings of that every week on a graph and spend it every few months – and “college” money – that’s the stuff that goes into his piggy bank and does not come out. But he had no idea of what to do next with “college” money.

Which is why this morning we emptied the guys’ banks and gathered several years’ worth of loose-change jars. We went to a grocery store to turn the change into bills – I wasn’t feeling retro enough to roll coins, so I gave up the 8.25 percent.

Then we went to that real honest-to-gosh bank and stood in a real honest-to-gosh line. I lifted the guys up to the counter, where they gave the teller their money. At least, Big Guy did. I had to pry it out of Little Guy’s hand – he’d never had that many dollars in his grasp in his whole life, and he wasn’t letting go without a fight.

The payoff came as we were leaving, Big Guy waving his transaction paper in the face of anyone who looked his way. “Mommy, can I take this to school tomorrow and show teacher what I did?”

The big loser in this whole situation: Dad, who loves to leave his pants, with change-laden pockets, within the grasp of little hands. How long to you think it’s going to take the guys to learn to raid such an easy target?

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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