Nicolle Hood, Entrepreneur, co-Founder, My First Nest Egg
We are pleased to have Nicolle Hood share with us one of her “First” childhood money memories.
Welcome and thank you Nicolle!
About Nicolle Hood
Nicolle is an entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of My First Nest Egg! My First Nest Egg, is a digital financial literacy system that gamifies healthy habits for kids ages 3-12. A mom of 3 kids, she brings the company over seventeen years of experience as an entrepreneur, business attorney, board member, and negotiations law professor. Nicolle was named one of Arizona’s most influential minority business leaders. Throughout her career, she has been driven to contribute to the foundational success of children in her community.
Discover more about Nicolle at: MyFirstNestEgg.com.
My First Spending Mistake – The Sea Monkey Debacle
I was seven years old when I lost $16 hard earned dollars to a poor spending decision. It was 1985, I had curly bangs – not a good look. I read comic books – I cant remember which ones.
Each month, I would flip to the back of the magazine to study the Sea Monkey ad and the promise of new little friends. I asked my parents for Sea Monkeys. They said no. I begged, “but I will buy them with my own money.” My dad insisted there are no such things as tiny underwater monkeys, but I knew better. I saw the cartoon depiction of an active aquatic monkey family that played beach volleyball with tiny plastic balls. He told me that for $.20 he could buy me a bowl full of brine shrimp. But I knew better.
I did my chores. I picked up dog poop for a neighbor for extra cash. I even raided my plastic piggy bank (which was a no, no in my house) by shaking coins from the top hole.
I happily parted with the $3 for the Sea Monkeys. They needed a home. So I bought a small fish tank – another $5. I wanted them to be happy, so I purchased a tiny castle and some landscaping – another $4. I wanted them to live a long life, so I also bought a bubbler – another $4.
My Sea Monkeys arrived after a month of waiting – there was no Amazon. They came in a tiny envelope. The picture from the ad of the happy family could not have fit in the packaging but I was undeterred and dropped the pellet into the water and went to bed to dream of Sea Monkeys.
I woke up to a bowl full of brine shrimp.
It looked like diarrhea in a bowl. It smelled like rotting seaweed. There were no tiny monkeys. Perhaps they needed more time to grow, I hoped, or more oxygen.
I put the bubbler hose in the tank and went to eat breakfast. At breakfast it was a game of chicken. I would not admit defeat. My dad giggled a few times. I went to school and when I got home, I rushed into my room to find a huge surprise. My Sea Monkey had not developed into a magical colony of gilled primates and the bubbler had blown all of the brine shrimp to the edges of the glass bowl where they perished in a smelly plastered heap.
My dad helped me scrub down the bowl and gave me an “I told you so.” But, it was what he did not do that was the most important step. He did not give me back a dime of the money I lost.
When we visited family a few weeks later and walked into a toy shop, my brother had $10 to spend. I had only saved up another $2 since the Sea Monkey disaster. I was sad and disappointed watching my brother buy fun treats that I wanted. So I left the cool toy shop with no trinkets, but with a lesson learned.
This silly event, changed the way I shopped for a lifetime and the way I teach my children about money. I let my kids spend their own money and sometimes face disappointment for their choices. My husband and I cherish our kids small failures because there is no safer place to learn disappointment than while they are young and at home. I want them to be skeptical and money wise before they receive their first high-interest rate credit card.
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