The Hole in Our 7-Year-Old’s Wallet — Buy Nothing New for a Year!

We dodged one more in a long line of “but why can’t we just get this…?” questions this weekend with our son, -2Liam. He’s a fantastic kid for those that are lucky enough to know him, and he really doesn’t want for much at all. In fact, he drew us a picture back in the beginning days of our “Nothing New for a Year” resolution to show his unwavering support and dedication to our mission. But he’s 7. And, like most 7-year-old’s, he has very little concept of time. I realized this on Saturday when he exclaimed that “it’s been 2 years since we started buying nothing new…” and so why can’t we get…….?! I, of course, met him back with a soft reminder that it has only been two months, and that we have quite a long way to go. His toddler brother seems to share a similar concept of time and space, and just yesterday when asked his age, let a new friend know that he was 60 years old.

-1Convincing a child that a brand new Wii U just wasn’t going to happen was easier than expected. We did a block and tackle and drove him to a used video game store instead. Finding a way to turn his casual want of a new toy into a life lesson, I’m proud to say, Liam brought his own wallet and made his very first purchase yesterday! While he initially wanted a new game that was only available for a new system that we do not own, he was able to land on being satisfied with a new (to him) game for a system that he already has. Not realizing that it was even remotely possible to purchase a used video game, Melissa blew his mind by taking him to a store full of them. He was immediately comforted to know that he would only be spending half of what he would had he purchased this game new for (though I’m suspicious that his understanding of the value of money may be congruent with his grasp on time.)

With the aversion of one crisis came the almost immediate introduction of another, again involving our boy Liam, but this time centered around a new set of circumstances that we never really planned for: birthday parties. I mean, hey…it’s cool to buy a used toy for your own kid, and perhaps depending on what it is and their age, it is also fine to buy one for their friend…but I honestly did not take the time to digest this before signing off on our resolution. And so, here we were, unprepared, on the eve of our first birthday party of 2013. While our friends are all quite polite, and “in-the-know” about our resolution, maybe his little friend was going to be upset that he got jacked out of a brand new toy? I know as a 7-year-old boy myself at one time, I might have been! In any event, panic set in, and while I wasn’t necessarily curled up in a fetal position in the corner, I was stumped. Luckily, and once again, Melissa was there to save the day!


While the drive to purchase “new things,” and the ability to do without is really what we are looking to understand better this year, our ability to purchase experiences is not really affected. We’re firm believers that experiences far outweigh objects, and have tested the idea of giving experiences vs. gifts in the past with great success. With a quick internet search, Melissa found a fantastic deal for 4 tickets and 2 large popcorns at our favorite movie theater! The bonus is, it’s walking distance from Liam’s friends house (not to mention right across the street from our shop), and now instead of giving him a toy that will likely end up in the back of the closet in 4 days, Liam was able to give his buddy tickets for his entire family to go enjoy a movie. I don’t know about you, but I remember every single movie that I ever saw with my Mom as a kid, and there’s no price you can put on that. However, I don’t remember what I got from my friend on my 7th birthday. That’s a lie. It was a Marvel Secret Wars Dr. Doom figure from Mattel. I still have it.

One comment

  1. Katie Madden says:

    As the parent of Liam’s abovementioned birthday friend, I will say that the tickets to The Patio were a brilliant idea! We have been remiss in getting out thank you notes but we love the tickets and are excited to go to a family movie at The Patio soon! Excellent thinking Melissa (and Joe and Liam)

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