My neighbor recently introduced Gifting Sense and the concept of cost per use or cost per wear to his daughter. It came about as a result of his 13 year old wanting a Canada Goose jacket this winter. “How can you justify spending north of $500 on a jacket for a person who is likely to grow out of it in less than two years?” asked Tom. “You don’t” I replied. “You let Jasmine figure out if it makes sense or not. She is old enough to really think about things before asking someone to spend that kind of money.”
Tom’s is exactly the sort of situation we created Gifting Sense for – our quick but meaningful process turns shopping for holiday and birthday gifts into a tool that parents can use to teach their kids to think before they buy. In about two minutes, children complete some quick calculations and questions as part of a “Gift Survey” designed to help them figure out if a request makes sense or not. The survey generates what is called a DIMS (Does It Make Sense) Score. Tom had his daughter Jasmine complete our process before she made a final decision on whether or not to ask for the jacket and the results surprised them both.
“How can you justify spending north of $500 on a jacket for a person who is likely to grow out of it in less than two years?” asked Tom. “You don’t” I replied. “You let Jasmine figure out if it makes sense or not.”
A $500 jacket is not an everyday purchase for most families – but after seeing how much Jasmine put into “thoughtfully preferring” the military green bomber – Tom started to feel differently about her request. He allowed Jasmine to forward the pdf summary that is generated at the end of the Gifting Sense process to her grandparents, aunts and uncles. They had already been asking what Jasmine wanted for Hanukkah and he had seen under-appreciated gifts pile up over the years. He decided to let everyone off the hook by allowing Jasmine to organically crowd-fund the coat. Tom hoped he was giving family members a simple but engaging way to get his daughter the gift she really wanted – in a way that honored everyone’s time and gift giving dollars – at the same time revealing to Jasmine the true value of her request. The coat was just too expensive for one person to give her.
Jasmine calculated that if she wore the coat 7 days a week for 5 months of the year for two years, her expected total number of wears would be just north of 300. At $475.00 plus HST, the jacket’s total on-time delivered cost (Tom said she wouldn’t charge Jasmine for the ride downtown to buy it) was $536.75 – which divided by 303 = $1.77 per wear. Tom loved that Jasmine had to research things like the store’s return policy and the Canada Goose warranty to generate her DIMS (Does It Make Sense) Score. “She was perhaps for the first time ever, truly mindful of what things cost” he had told me excitedly. “And – my brother said he was a lot happier helping buy her something he knew she would really use!”
Even Tom’s son picked up some money smarts as a result. When he said he needed new soccer cleats – his sister piped up that the cost per use would be much better on the smartphone he wanted for his upcoming birthday – which he might be able to get if he “…started saving Mom and Dad’s money” by using the soccer cleats she had only worn for 15 practices and games last fall. “Come here moron – I’ll show you” was the last thing Tom heard as he and his wife headed out to walk their dog. What was that website called his wife asked? “Gifting Sense” Tom replied – “And you know what? Helping her get that coat really did make the most sense of all – for her – for us – my parents, my brother and landfills”.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, have your kids “Get Started” with one of our Gift Surveys today – they are safe and free to complete. If nothing else, they will help your kids understand the real value of what they are asking for – and how easy it is to wear a coat 300 times!
Gifting Sense has been privately funded and delivering a public good for just over two years. We believe our process can help children easily acquire some basic but important financial skills. If your family agrees, please consider donating $10.00 to allow us to continue to refine and execute our mission, which is to turn shopping (for holiday and birthday gifts) into a tool parents can use to teach their children to think before they buy. Thank You