The Value of A Penny Saved


When my little man sets his heart on something, you better watch out.  Because he will hold on tight with his 5 year old death grip on life!

IMG_5149 His preschool had an art festival last week.  It was the single best fundraising event I have ever attended.  Parents paid a $10 admission per child and the kids got to engage in numerous, fun, messy, outside art projects.  It was a glorious way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.  

During the art fest their was to be an auction for some items the children’s classes had made previous weeks in art class.

My son came home about a month ago all excited about a shelf his class had painted that he wanted to save up and buy to store his Spiderman stuff.  I told him he’d have to save his money and we could try, but that he might not win. 

A few weeks went by and he was at Pizza Hut with his Daddy looking at the little vending machines where you put a quarter in and out pops a 5 cent chocking hazard  trinket.  He asked his Dad how much it cost and he told him.  Not long after he found a quarter on the floor.  My husband pointed out that he now had enough money for the prize he had wanted.  My son said he wanted to save his quarter for the shelf he wanted to buy at the auction later that month. 

Scott was so impressed with his resolve to save his money that he gave him another quarter as a reward.

Yup, in 5 minutes he double his investment!  Pretty good return, wouldn’t ya say?

Well the weeks went on and he found a penny here, a quarter there…I was pretty certain they weren’t going to add up to enough for the prized Spiderman shelf. 

My son remembered he had his Christmas money from Great Grandpa which he hadn’t spend yet.  Then he received a check in the mail for his birthday from his Great Nana (Gana). 

His stock pile was growing.  Scott and I knew it wouldn’t be enough for the shelf (which we still had no idea what it looked like) but since he doesn’t have an allowance yet and thus no real way to earn an income,and we were impressed with his consistent resolve to save his money, we decided we would chip in some of our own money. 

When we entered the art fest he flew straight past the tie dye shirts, the mosaic stones and the splatter paint.  He couldn’t wait to show me the shelf he wanted to bid on.  The art teacher saw me and said, “He’s been telling me that he wants to buy that shelf.”  I know I said, “He’s been telling me too!” 

After looking at the shelf, I became very nervous that we would be able to get it for the price we were willing to pay.  It was by far the highest price item at the auction.    We went around and participated in the various fun art projects until the time for the auction drew near.  As they were calling people over for the auction, my son made a beeline for his shelf.

He then began to panic when I too wasn’t standing directly in front of it.  I tried to explain that I was sitting in the audience so I could participate in the bidding.  He and his sister stayed under the tent guarding his shelf for the entire auction. 


Yes, there he stood, arms folded across his shelf while the auctioneer art teacher’s husband, held up the projects and started the bidding. 

When the three year old class’ book of footprints sold for $25 I began to panic.  Mercifully, they did the shelf not long after.  I think because they knew my son would stand there until they did. 

Bidding started at $35.

For a few glorious moments it looked like I was going to win the bid without anyone bidding against me.  A few of the moms in our class knew how much my son wanted it and were routing for us!  Then someone raised me  and then someone else raised it again.  I raised my hand and shouted out my raise.  It was my maximum bid. 

I knew I couldn’t keep going.  I couldn’t let my emotions run away with me. 

Going once, Going twice…

I was nervous, my son was looking at me with his arms crossed.  His sister stood faithfully by his side, ready to defend him and his prized possession. 

I wanted my son to learn the value of saving.  I wanted him to recognize that you don’t just get to go out and buy whatever you want whenever you want.  You have to save up for things.  You have to deny other things you do want and prioritize.

Someone pointed out that he could learn the lesson that you don’t always get what you want.

Yes, he could learn that lesson too.   I was praying that lesson didn’t have to be learned today. 

At the art fest.

In front of the entire preschool. 

When I was alone. 

With three small children.

Going twice….


WE GOT IT!!!  He got his shelf!!! 

I walked over to the tent and my son triumphantly left his post saying, “Now I don’t have to stand guard anymore.”   I don’t even want to know what he would have done had we been outbid. 

As we drove home I looked in the backseat and the grin on his face was worth more than you could know. 

IMG_7464When we got home he eagerly placed it in his room and began to organize his baskets… one for Spiderman toys, one for his Transformers, one for his GI Joes, and one for his Lincoln longs.

Later that day he told me that next year when we go back to the art fest he doesn’t need to bid on a shelf.  He wouldn’t want that shelf, because “this one was special because me and the kids in my class decorated it.  I wouldn’t care about the kids in the other class’s shelf.”  


  1. What a priceless story! I'm so glad he got it! The photos are great too :^)

    You can see the tension on his face, the uncertainty of the situation! It is a might fine looking shelf too :^)

  2. I can see why you would have been nervous to lose the auction!! What a great story!:)

  3. oh man, i was sweating right along with you. whew! so glad you didn't have to learn that lesson on such a public stage!

  4. What a neat story! He learned a very important lesson and it is beautiful the way you supported him. I was holding my breath while reading, hoping that you won the bid. And it sounds like he's quite the organizer, too!

  5. I loved this story! I actually got all weepy reading it...dern pregnancy hormones! I am so glad that precious boy who saved so hard and did deny himself other things got that shelf. Because he deserved it and because it just warms my heart that he is using it to organize his toys. That pretty much does it for me. So responsible he is. You just bring him to lunch on Saturday and see if I don't sneak him right into my van when it's time to leave!!!!

  6. Such a grown-up lesson this little boy learned. Thanks for the pictures - it really shows what was going on at the auction. Love the kids standing guard! Would not want to see what could have happened!!!! How could ANYBODY have bid against you ?!?!?!?

  7. That is so sweet! I'm so glad he got his shelf. What perseverance!

  8. i have a tear in my eye. i'll blame in on the pregnancy, too. but i have a feeling i would have cried anyways. i love the intense look on his face. thanks for sharing that story.

  9. That is Wonderful! I am so glad he got that. Its something that will hopefully be useful and special for so long...

  10. Way to go, Grandson (and his parents)! And I don't even have pregnancy hormones to blame :)

  11. LOL, I'm very impressed that he saved up for it!


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