COLORADO SPRINGS — It's never too early to begin teaching your kids about financial responsibility and managing money, and a local family is giving that lesson to their four-year-old son by selling candy.
Eli Deras, four years old, with the help of his mom, Kailey Miller, recently bought five candy machines off of Facebook Marketplace. They're placing them in businesses in the Colorado Springs community. One of the candy machines was placed nearly two weeks ago at Rock City Cafe, and Eli is already making a small profit.
"He took all his money out (of the machine) this morning and put it in his bag," said Miller. "He was excited. He was like, 'Wow!' Then he went and paid his rent right away."
The name of the business is called Eli's Candies. The business is in Miller's name and they had to get a Colorado Sales Tax License in order to place the candy machines in public, and they will also have to pay a sales tax.
Miller said she came up with the idea because she thought it would be an opportunity for her son to learn about financial responsibility at a young age. So far, Eli has made $7.25.
"He gets to keep all the profit from it. We'll put it in savings. He can have a couple dollars for toys," said Miller. "It's just something for him to do on his downtime, a way for him to make his own money, learn responsibility, and how to manage his money. Whenever we are out in public, his favorite thing to do is buy things with quarters."
Dina Mark, a counselor and owner of Heartspace Counseling for Kids, weighed in on the idea.
"I think it's wonderful. I think parents encouraging kids to take charge of that kind of thing, and really work toward something, and see that their work pays off. I think that's huge," said Mark. "Any time we can let kids take the lead and get invested into what they're interested in doing, while supporting and encouraging them along the way, it'll build their self confidence."
Mark also mentioned it's never to early teach responsibility, and it's never too late to start as well.
"I think parents hope to raise self-sufficient contributing members of society and teaching responsibility throughout childhood is vital to achieving that," said Mark. "Responsibility can give a sense of purpose, belonging, and it increases your self-esteem and self-worth. It empowers people to make a difference and know they can really make an impact."
For Eli, it's also a business he's passionate about especially while having a big sweet tooth.
"I love it. This morning, with how excited he was, I realized, 'Ok, we're doing something right, something he's going to love,'" said Miller. "I'm hoping he wants to do it for a long time so he'll have a bunch of savings later in life."
Later in the week, Eli and his mom will be placing three more candy machines at other nearby businesses. They include, Cousins RV, Locked In Escapes, and a local barbecue restaurant.
Mark also mentioned kids as young as toddlers can start doing things like making their bed, picking up toys, setting the table or taking care of pets to learn responsibility.