Last weekend I took Roxy shopping for her first "grown up" handbag, being that she is turning 13.
I'm always mindful of (and struggle with) teaching the value of money to our children. It's a battle between giving them experiences and opportunity, but not spoiling them, where they become entitled. Handbags are definitely one of those items that can range from affordable, to expensive to ridiculous.
So, I decided that this would be a good opportunity for us both.
Before we hit the shops, we narrowed down the style to a "mini backpack" and budget.
She first shopped online, to determine her favourite styles, brands and stores. This gave her a really good idea of what she liked. She looked at over 100 different handbags across a range of brands and retailers over two weeks, and made a pinterest board of the ones she liked best.
She used this to narrow down to a list of stores to visit in person. After all, this was a priority purchase, and not something to be left to the unknown variations of online only!
She worked out that the best shopping centre to go to was DFO at Homebush. We actually hadn't been there in years, but it had nearly all of the stores she wanted to visit, plus it was an outlet centre (good for the budget!). We planned our day.
When we got there (early and excited), we sequentially went through each store. We tried on the ones she liked best (in most cases different to her online favourites). We checked how easy the clips were to undo with one hand. How many pockets there more (the more the better!). Whether it was well balanced on her back. Whether the straps fitted well. We even checked the different leathers for softness and durability.
After about 2 hours of back and forth, we got down to her two absolute favourites. She loved different things about each. One was more fun, the other was more classic. However the budget was different. The Coach backpack was $150 more. The choice was hers, but if she chose the more expensive handbag than it just meant there was less money available for other birthday gifts.
Then she whispered to me "do you think they have any other discounts mum?"
Good question! We hadn't explored this. So together we went and asked the sales assistant. To our surprise and delight, they were about to go on "extra 20%" the next day, and the shop assistant said she would give it to us for that price today. The price was now almost the same.
Roxy was ecstatic! This was the handbag she really wanted. She was so excited about it, she was literally jumping up and down.
As we walked out she whispered "thanks Mum. I really feel like I earnt that".
Me too. We both left very happy.