Monday, June 29, 2009

aN eXPeRiMeNT

I buy my kids a lot of crap. Not crap, but we'll be out and just get an ice cream cone for the hell of it, or if we're at the pool and they want a snack, well, I'll buy 'em a snack. And we go to the movies, out to lunch, etc. etc. and yeah, it adds up. A lot.

So, I'm trying a money experiment with them and decided to give them a set amount of cash each Monday in which they will be responsible for using that money for the activities we do. If we go to the movies, they pay. If they want popcorn or candy or pop, they pay. If we go to Subway for lunch, they pay. They need to start realizing that a $5 footlong doesn't cost five dollars if you add bacon and extra cheese.

So I asked Mr. Manic how much he thinks I should give them each week (and I'm talking like a Monday through Friday deal).

How much would you think would be appropriate for all the weeks' activities - snacks, movies, bowling, pool junk, etc. Keep in mind I like to get them out of the house SOMEWHERE at least part of each day. Or maybe 3-4 days of the week. We don't do camps or other activities and the only thing we do all summer long is the pool.

So, how much? I asked Mr. Manic and he said, without another thought, "Ten bucks."

I laughed in his face. He has no clue. It costs that much to see a movie. Boy, we'd have a fun, fun week wouldn't we?

So, suffice it to say, I didn't settle on $10, but I didn't go crazy like $50 or anything like that.

But now they have their own money for this week and we're going to see how it goes. I suggested we go to TCBY's for some ice cream, cuz I wanted some ice cream. Diva and Tukey brought some of their money. AJers didn't want to. So, Diva, Tukey and I all bought our own ice cream with our own money, while AJers had a sample taste and then a couple of bites of my white chocolate mousse in a chocolate-and-sprinkled-covered waffle cone.

I think this is a good lesson for them to know how much money is actually spent ON THEM and also a good lesson in saving money. What do you guys think?

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27 comments:

Shelley said...

I think it's a great idea, because kids have no concept of what things actually cost. Great lesson! I know that my kids are willing to spend my money like it's water, but when it's their own money, they're a lot more choosey about what they spend it on.

Kristin said...

I think this is a great idea. I'm glad you settled on the amount of money to give them. Nice to know that Mr. Manic has no idea how long $10 will last. :)

Hope things are going well. You will have to give us an update throughout the week to let us know how much money each kid has left.

Feisty Irish Wench said...

I have heard enough from my 15 yo son about how we should just give him a cellphone (but it can be prepaid!) with unlimited texting on it. Since I'm baking baby #4, and we're trying to buy a house, and this is the son that I won't allow to drive till he's 18 and not using MY vehicles, I thought...ok, time to show him what I mean. So I got up Friday morning and handed him the stack of bills and said "Dad got paid $___ and I got paid $___. You tell me who gets paid what today." He quickly realized there isn't enough money to go around and magically I haven't heard a peep about a phone. What he doesn't realize is that he's going to be given this task every payday till I think he's capable of handling the bills in my absence. I'm eventually going to add credit card balances and plans to pay them down to his assignment list. He's also stopped fussing about money dad promised as an allowance (that dad forgets to realize isn't available in the budget)
It's not a punishment, it's training for real life. Once they move out of the house, I don't want any of them coming back. They're all going to get this assignment.

Amanda said...

Good idea. Did you add up how much you spent before you decided on how much they would get? Will be interesting to see how the attitude changes when they have to choose one thing over another - if I have a coke with my popcorn I won't have enough left for swimming - let us know how it goes.

Aimee K. Maher said...

Great idea! When I moved out of the house, I'd never been in a BANK, and I was so lost. Learning about money is vital. My nine year old could give a mimicked speech on savings, IRA's, and first homes.

Gina said...

That a great idea. I have to do something like that, because I want my kids to have a clue about money. I did not. Also - my husband has no idea how much things cost, either.

Ashley said...

I think that's an absolutely wonderful idea! We were given $20/week in high school to pay for gas, meals, snacks, etc. Of course, gas was $1/gallon then. But we made do and learned how to manage our money because of it!

I'm about to start an allowance with my 4 year old and we're going to start getting the idea of savings and tithing across with it, too, so I'm glad to read this and see other moms are teaching their kids about money management.

Bina said...

I love that idea. Maybe I'll try it with mine, but honestly, they both know the value of money. My six year, when she wants something and she has toothfairy or b'day money, she'll say, "This costs this much. Do I have enough money?" If I tell her no, she is fine with it, she'll just find something cheaper.

Christine in NJ said...

Absolutely Fantastic Idea!... I do this on a very mini scale with my 2 oldest but during the school year NOT during the summer. I like your plan so much I think I will adopt it next week and see how it goes. I can just see my conversation now with my husband... dollars to donuts he will think that $10 is enough too!... haha. I'm looking forward to your follow-up post! Thanks for always sharing and keeping me thinking! You are the bestest!
Christine

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who has her oldest son (probably 13 at the time), pay their bills online. Then he got to see for himself what was left after they paid for everything else.

I'm afraid my hubby would have said $10 too. What's the deal with that? Of course, he thinks I should be able to feed a family of 5 on $400 a month too (and we rarely eat out).

I love your idea! I think my 12 year old daughter would immediately to out and buy a cell phone and then stay home for the week!! Good luck! Dee Dee

Anonymous said...

Do you remember when we paid you 10 cents a check to pay our bills? You were only 10 yrs old! Did a great job too! Hope it's not too late for this little exercise. Tell my little darlings they may want to save some money to buy stuff on your vacation! 1-4-3

March to the Sea said...

good plan. My 10 year old has started to realize the value of $$ as of late. She was saving and saving for a Nintendo DS game and the time came for her to "get it" and she stood there, holding it in the aisle and said "I don't think I really want it any more" She got something else (since we were at Toys R Us) but she paid for that as well..it was less money. I agree its hard when you are out and bottles of water are 3 bucks and ice cream is a few bucks more...

Being Samantha said...

Feisty Irish Wench!!
First your name made me laugh cos I use to be called Wenchmuffin!

Bravo on the money lesson plan!
I wish someone had done that for me as a kid. Its never too early to start!

If I had kids, I'd very much want that lesson plan in the classroom!

Manic Mommy, thank you for posting this!!

~Being Samiantha

Trish Ryan said...

I think that's brilliant. Can I come be your kid? I'm still baffled when my lunch bill comes to $10 when all I ordered was a $6 sandwich (with cheese, and avacado, and a coke...)

Tanya said...

My mom has always made me save. She gave me a ledger and had me write out the specific amounts for each category.

10% was a tithe
30% was for spending
30% was for general savings
The remaining 30% was savings for something specific like a car. I quickly learned the value of money and its something I carried on to adulthood.
I'm proud to say the only debt I have ever had is for my house (and that should be paid off in a couple years). I never took out a car loan or a student loan. Having ot pay for things yourself really makes you appreciate them.

DawnfromCA said...

Ok, Manic...once again you've inspired me! Do you think my 6 y.o. twins can handle it? I'm already doing something similar with my 13 y.o. He gets "paid" $5 a day M-F to do his chores and watch his younger sibs while I go to the office and gym (usually gone about 2-3 hours). He has become MUCH more discriminating about how he spends his cash! I'm anxious to see how this works with with my younger kids. Keep us posted on how it goes with your kiddos!

Michelle said...

My parents did this for me from the day I turned 11 on. I received a (healthy) allowance but then paid for EVERYthing from it... from clothes and school supplies to pizza and my horse. And it REALLY taught me a lesson, especially the one month I couldn't pay my board. There's a reason I'm as frugal as I am now and understand how money works (and my sister, for example, doesn't)! Let them learn and fail when they're young and have low consequences.

JennyMac said...

Great idea...hope it works so we can use it on our 2 year old someday. :)

Colorado Writer said...

Awesome exercise.

We went on an outing today, just to get out of the neighborhood.

Lunch at Country Buffet:$24.16
ToysRUS: $13.04
Fireworks Stand: $48.37

Husband won't be thrilled.

I'd say $20 each is a good amount. But, wow. That is $60 a week!

Mike and Becky said...

Great idea, Manic! I'm not the least bit surprised that AJers would be the one to try savin' his cash! What a good boy!

Barb said...

What a fabulous idea. We did camp for 3 weeks this summer. The base price was not bad but the field trips every day just about killed me.

MaBunny said...

sounds like a great thing to me! I told Nicole that she would appreciate money better when she started earning it herself. She looked at me like I'd grown another head! good luck!

Babe in Babeland said...

That's a GREAT idea! I don't think most kids realize how much anything costs. I look forward to hearing how it goes...

Ms. R said...

I think it is a great idea. It is so different when it is your own money. I used to know a girl in college who always stole toilet paper and paper towels from parents when she went home to visit. She would always say, "Rebecca, do you realize how expensive that stuff is?"

Jen said...

I think that is a fantastic idea!

I will say that you sound like a really cool mom and after reading this post I feel like a meanie. We hardly do anything like that on a regular basis. I can't even remember the last movie that we all went to together. It is just so expensive! We did just go to an amusement park so I guess I'm not a total miser. lol!

Mrs4444 said...

I give my son $110 per month to pay for that stuff. However, I do pay for eating out (Subway, etc.) if I am with him or if he needs to buy lunch for some reason (and couldn't pack one.) I think it's a good way too teach him to manage money. Time will tell...

msprimadonna67 said...

I love this idea--you'll have to keep us posted on how your experiment works as you continue throughout the summer.