Simon Says: Financial Wisdom From a 10 Year Old

by Joe Plemon on December 6, 2010

You have heard that wisdom sometimes comes out of the mouths of babes. Simon, my 10 year old grandson, is NOT a babe, but he has a knack for making observations that contain gems of wisdom. Here are some examples:


Simon says, “We don’t shop there. It is too expensive.”

Lesson: The best way to fight temptation is to avoid it in the first place.

  • If you can’t afford a car right now, don’t swing by the lot “just to look” or check Craig’s list just to “see what’s out there”.
  • If you know that $1,000 suit or $300 purse is not in your budget, don’t even walk close to the store that sells them. In Simon’s mind, that store is out of the question. We should think the same way.

Simon says, “Looks like Kroger is having some good sales this week.”

Note: Simon said this one when he noticed the grocery ads blanketing our dining room table as my wife was strategizing a grocery expedition.

Lesson: Look for bargains.

  • If you know you are going to buy an item anyway, and you know that it will eventually go on sale, be patient and wait.  Take advantage of web sites such as Slick Deals which will not only compare prices for you, but email you when an item goes on sale.
  • If the item is seldom discounted, make a cash offer. Many stores (especially furniture stores) will consider $900 cash for a $1200 item. You never know unless you ask.

Simon says, “We could get that cheaper at a yard sale.”

Lesson: Know the market.

  • Don’t buy that new HD TV just because it is exactly what you need. Check around first. I have found the exact item on Amazon at a greatly reduced price from the big department store.
  • Don’t know how to yard sale?  Give it a try. Yes, they have limitations, but some items, such as baby and child clothing are plentiful, in great condition and (as Simon says) much cheaper.

Simon says, “Silly bands could go out of style any time.”

Note: If you don’t know what a silly band is, ask any 6-10 year old.

Lesson: Don’t follow the crowd.

  • Be your own person. Manage your money based on what is best for you and your family; not on the latest investment craze.

Simon says, “I don’t need any toys this year. I am too old for them.”

Lesson: Act your age.

  • Guys: you really DON’T need that bass boat or four wheel drive or smartphone. I am not saying any of these are wrong; I am simply saying that they are toys. Learn from Simon. You may want them, but you don’t need them.
  • Gals: I realize that jewelry is not a toy, but you too can learn from Simon. Know the difference between a want and a need.

Simon says, “I am going to use the school’s baritone long enough to see if I am really serious about it before we consider buying one.”

Lesson: Look before you leap.

  • Thinking about buying a camper or four wheeler or power tool? Rent one first to see if you really would be happy with owning one. That cheap rental could save you lots of regrets. This is a lesson I wish I would have practiced before we bought our Airstream.

Well, did you learn any lessons from this 10 year old? I am admittedly biased, but I know I have. I will also admit that I am a proud grandpa.

Readers: What words of wisdom do you hear from your children or grandchildren?


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Cole Stan December 6, 2010 at 10:50 am

In short, don’t be too impulsive buyer. Either you buy it for the reason that you need or you want it, you must also think first before buying. It’s the best way to save your money from any unnecessary items.


retireby40 December 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Wow, that’s one smart kid. 🙂
He’ll do all right.


Everyday Tips December 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Simon sounds smart beyond his years, that is for sure. It is incredibly perceptive that someone his age would see the ‘fadness’ in silly bands. He must have a very good teacher at home!


joeplemon December 6, 2010 at 3:38 pm

@ Cole
Don’t make impulse purchases, know the difference between wants and needs. Good advice for us all.

@ retire

@ Everyday
Of course I am biased, but I agree that he is quite smart. Simon still collects silly bands and yes…he does have some great teachers at home.


LifeAndMyFinances December 7, 2010 at 7:21 am

I wish I had a 10 year old son that gave me article ideas!

Haha. Great points though. It’s true, things can definitely be found cheaper at yard sales and on craigslist than in the retail store.

Sounds like you have taught Simon well!


joeplemon December 7, 2010 at 8:29 am

Simon is actually my grandson, so I can’t take credit for teaching him well. But I will accept some kudos for teaching Simon’s father well. Josh (Simon’s dad), told me after he was grown that I always told him, “Josh, once you are on your own, you are on your own.” I guess it worked, because he never moved back home. 🙂


Tim @ Faith and Finance December 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Awesome article Joe! Very creative.

Smart grand-kid you have there! He must read 🙂

All of his tips were spot on…especially the one about the school instrument. As a musician myself, I know how expensive it can be, so you’d better be serious about it before you jump into an expensive hobby!


Roshawn @ Watson Inc December 8, 2010 at 6:22 am

Clearly Simon is pretty smart. I find the toy advice especially relevant because I have smartphone fever right now. If we (society at large) followed Simon, we could stay out out of a lot of trouble!


Squirrelers December 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Great stuff here, Joe! It’s neat to see a young kid demonstrate a good foundation of financial common sense. His parents have done well, it would seem.

I have heard my 7-year old daughter say some good things, mostly about being generous with time and money, and helping others. She’s better than I was at that age, and (I’m very biased here, admittedly) more generous than most adults I have encountered. That said, she’s still just a young girl, and has some wants that masquerade as needs, such as certain toys.

It’s a work in progress with kids, and when they get to 10 years old or so, I imagine it’s neat to hear the wisdom come out of their mouths. You all must be proud:)


joeplemon December 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Haha about Simon reading my blog. Funny thing is that when I told him the post featured him, he looked it up and read it.
Yes, those musical instruments are not something to invest in until you are sure.

Yes, we (I) could learn much from listening to Simon.

I actually got the inspiration for this post by reading the one you wrote about wisdom from your daughter and your grandmother. I loved that post. And yes, I am quite proud of Simon. Of course I am biased, but still proud.


Invest It Wisely December 8, 2010 at 8:06 pm

He’s pretty wise for his age! Definitely agree about the toys. Even our adult toys (thinking of smart phones and things like that here :)) go out of fashion rather quickly!


Money Reasons December 8, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Sounds like you have a pretty smart grandson!

My son is trying to save $700 by the end of the year (he already conquered $500). So mostly he’s tight with his money (which is great!)


joeplemon December 9, 2010 at 8:50 am

Haha. How else would one say “adult toys” without it sounding like adult toys? Anyway, the smart phones, etc. really do grow extinct quickly. And yes, Simon is a wise kid!

@Money Reasons,
I imagine you are proud of your son. I bet he reads Money Reasons!


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