Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The kids' magazine Penny Power inspired me quite a bit as a kid. It was full of all kinds of money-saving ideas: instructions for lemonade stands and yard sales, comparisons between the prices of fast food hamburgers, suggestions to make money by mowing yards or babysitting. Every month I got the magazine in the mail and eagerly read stories that made me want to fill my piggy bank.
In one issue, I was told how to have an official taste test at home. Mom and I had a longstanding debate about which brand of peanut butter was better – Superman brand, which we ate at home, or Jif, which I had at Grandma’s house. I followed the magazine’s instructions to the letter, including water to cleanse the palate between samples. In the end, I made my point: Mom could have sworn that the better one was her beloved Superman brand, but she actually preferred Jif. In this instance, Penny Power magazine led us to buy the more expensive brand. Oops.
I wish I could say that Penny Power caused me to learn about money at such a young age that I saved money every week, opened a savings account at age ten, and made my first investment by age twelve. But it did open my eyes to money earlier than most. And now, when I put a little extra money in savings or think about ways to cut back or alter our budget, I do get a little bit of the excitement I got when I read the magazine long ago. If nothing else, Penny Power made money friendly instead of a topic to avoid.
I wonder if Penny Power still exists. I’m tempted to order a subscription for the members of Congress. They need all the help they can get.