“Dad, can I get a pair of Miss Me Jeans? Everyone at school is wearing them.”

Remembering my Levi 501 days, I fully understand fashion trends and the importance of wearing the right jeans. “How much are they?” I asked my fashion conscience fourteen year old daughter.

“Around a hundred and twenty dollars…and I will use my own money.”

I think she added “use her own money” to make it easier for me to say yes. Now before I went into my rant about how I could go to the mall and buy 4 pair of jeans that would look just as good for $120 I decided to lay down a challenge.

“$120, that’s most of your money for one pair of jeans, I bet you could find a better deal on-line.” I said this wondering if she would take the bait.

“Where would I look?” she asked. I suggested starting with Amazon and EBay.

 She began her journey with Amazon which she was quite familiar with but had no luck, all the jeans were around the same price as the ones at the mall. She then went to EBay and found a pair of Miss Me jeans that were her size, used, but in excellent condition. (Thank God for growth spurts in young girls). I explained to her how the bidding on EBay worked and had her establish a maximum amount she wanted to pay for the jeans and to stick to it. I assured her “There will be other opportunities out there so don’t get stuck on this one.”

The highest bid was $21.00 and there were two days left on the auction. She told me the maximum amount she was willing to pay was, not $120 but $26.50 and she wanted to wait toward the end of auction to see where the price was. Deep inside I began to see the seeds of the challenge and opportunity flourish in my young girl.  The next two days she watched the auction and would text me if there were any changes.

Two days later we sat in the family room as the final minutes of the auction ticked away. The bid was at $22.50 and with less than a minute left. She quickly put in a maximum bid of $26.50 hoping to beat out any other max bids out there. The site refreshed, the auction was over and she won the bid at $23.50. With shipping the total cost was $28.00. She was excited and realized it was actually fun and worth the wait. But now the real hunt was on…

Her next challenge was to find a NEW pair of Miss Me jeans at a great price. So the next several days she Googled, Binged a searched the internet until she came across a brand new pair of Miss Me jeans, her size and in a style she liked at Zulilys for only $29.00. She asked me if it was okay to buy them and of course I told her “yes.” She scored two pair of jeans for half the price… success!

The funny thing is that I don’t think she ever told her friends where she bought her new jeans or how much she paid for them; that will forever remain our secret. But I do know she learned a valuable lesson about money, and being patient that she can use throughout her life. Maybe it’s time to explain compounding interest to her….