All I could think was, "Here we go again." 

We were shopping for school supplies and were looking for a new three ringed binder for my daughter to use for 7th grade. I remembered a similar experience from last year; not big enough, not pink enough, not enough pockets, or just didn't like it for any apparent reason.

The battle raged across three stores, until we eventually found one that we all agreed upon.

By that time I was so worn down I didn't even care we were spending close to $20 on a binder.

We seemed to be heading down a similar road this year as she rejected binder after binder. She tried to describe what she was looking for, but we seemingly just kept missing the point. We looked at dozens of binders, but the frillier and more girly my selection got, the more frustrated she became. 

Finally, with great exasperation, she pulled one off a shelf and exclaimed, "Like this!  This is perfect!"

I looked at it, completely puzzled. There were no bright pink colors, no characters painted on the outside, no frills at all. She opened it up, telling us that one of her friends had one almost identical the year before, and explained why she wanted that one. 

"It's pretty heavy duty, so it will probably last the whole year," I said.

"That's the point," she replied, "my binder last year started to fall apart."

I was honestly surprised at what I was hearing. My memory of 7th grade was a time when who you hung out with and what you wore became extremely important to your social status. Having a plain organizer is the sort of thing that a bully could easily latch on to. But here was my daughter more concerned with being able to properly organize her school work than impressing her class mates.

Her binder was functional not flashy. It had substance not style. 

Oh, and it cost all of $7.93, which she was very proud to point out to me.

A point of emphasis in our home is to buy products that give us the most value for our money. That's not something you would expect a middle school student to have on the top of her priority list. But it seems like our daughter has been paying attention.

Maybe she can teach her classmates a thing or two this year.

Related Links:

Do Kids Worry About Price?

When Kids Hear an Argument About Money

Who Knew Dance Recitals Were so Expensive

Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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