Question - My 11-year-old son recently received a $50 savings bond for winning an essay contest. He likes the idea of winning but is a little frustrated about not being able to spend the money. Should we cash in the bond so he can have a more immediate reward for his efforts?

Answer - If your son had won a basketball trophy, would you pawn it to get some ready cash?

Hang on to the bond. Your son probably has access to at least as much cash for lesser achievements, so the money would mean less and be gone in a heartbeat.

Dr. T is often asked how to teach profligate spenders to be more patient, and in the last week or so, another good suggestion came my way, offered by a mom in an on-line chat on America Online. When her son was a young teenager, he received a $200 gift. His first inclination, of course, was to spend it. But when he came up with something to buy, Mom suggested that he wait two weeks before making the purchase.

Two weeks later, he had decided on something else. Two weeks after that, he had changed his mind again. It was a year before he finally parted with the cash.