My 10-year-old daughter recently asked me to buy her two games for her Gameboy. They had not yet been released, and this was some special offer totaling $109.
I told her, "No," because we had just spent $800 furnishing her room and purchasing school clothes. Financially, we were tapped out for that time of year, and a couple of games for that amount of money seemed ridiculous and frivolous. She understood and cheerfully disappeared to her room.
An hour later she reappeared with a calendar and asked whether, if she earned the money herself, she could buy them. She had six weeks penciled in fully with extra chores such as mowing the lawn for $10, and winding the grandfather clocks at our clock shop for a quarter apiece (totaling about $15), folding laundry, and so on. She also offered to roll buckets full of silverware at the restaurant at which I work two days a week, for $3 a bucket. She has regular chores she does for a meager $5-a-week allowance.
I said, "Yes."
In four weeks she had the money saved.
This was the best thing in the world for her. Not only is she learning the value of a dollar, but she has learned that she can accomplish anything in the world as long as she earns it. Her self-esteem is high and she has self-respect that will keep others from walking all over her in the future.
She has an "always try it" attitude -- there isn't a single problem that she can't sit down and think through.
Sure, she'll always ask me to buy her stuff, and sometimes I will, but she knows that she doesn't need anyone to make her way through life. She'll be able to take care of herself!