Haven't we all done this in our professional and personal lives? We have a budget and we have to work with this constraint in mind. A couple of days back, I watched 2 seven-year-old girls struggling with their budget. Sometimes, parents can be cruel and experimenting. This is exactly what we ended up doing to these two girls; one is my daughter and the other my niece. "You have to take the kids to Landmark and pay for whatever they choose". These were the simple instructions given by my wife. When my heart raced thinking about the adverse effects on my wallet lest the kids choose something expensive, the next statement from my wife was a relief for me. "They can take anything as long as the price doesn't cross 200 rupees".
I suppressed my smile. What can you get for 200 rupees? Nothing! That was my forgone conclusion. But like a good husband, a good father and a good uncle all rolled into one, I decided to play along. I suspected there will be some lessons to be learnt with this exercise. "How much are you going to spend?", I asked the girls before we left for Landmark. My daughter replied, "Yes, 250 rupees". This was a shock to me. I immediately looked questioningly at my wife. Seeing the surprise and confusion on my face, my wife sheepishly answered, "They asked me to increase their budget". This turned out to be the first lesson. The kids can negotiate.
After reaching Landmark, the kids went directly for the branded toys. Here, I watched with amusement for I was sure they will not be able to buy those with the allocated budget. It took 10 minutes for them to figure out. Initially, they picked up the characters they loved from the TV shows and asked me to tell them the price. After a while, they figured out how to find the price and I was more or less of not much use to them. At this point, I told them an easier way. All three of us approached a salesman and told him our needs. Once they found stuff which was well within their budget, they tried to combine a couple of items and find out the total price by trying to add the prices. Although they were not successful in finding the total price quickly, there were two lessons for me. The kids adapt and also improvise.
Finally, both of them bought stuff well within their budget. Even the salesman at Landmark was helpful as he helped my niece to get two pieces whose combined price was within our budget!