VIDEO: Broaching The “A” Word With Kids! ($200 Giveaway)CONTESTS | Mommy Niri | September 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm
Congratulations Jacob, Mary, Kelli, Soha
So when Women & Co approached me to talk finance my insides felt queasy. Finance and saving is not my strong point. Just ask my husband. Or don’t! That may open up the discussion and I would rather not as it really is my Achilles heel. So I actually considered saying no. Then I remembered that one of my missions (missions? phew that sounds a little rigid right?) with writing this blog was to grow myself. So I said yes. The theme was back to school savings but I felt I needed something larger or bolder than the regular bargain shopping. For the record I will use a coupon but am a huge proponent of quality trumps price any day. Also I like investing in stores that have a deeper relationship with customers, community and environment.
I shop with my girls as hubby and I have learned (though dad took a little longer to relent) that having their thoughts on the purchase helped make sure it gets usage. Just ask hubby about that expensive Geoxx shoes that he thought were perfect for the kiddo since she was having balance issues thanks to her Sensory Processing Disorder and paid close to $50 for it (yeah, he is a sucker when it comes to his girls), and the fact that she NEVER used it. Lesson learned!
Women & Co. and Parenting.com, (online home of Parenting and Babytalk magazines) released results from their 2012 Back-to-School Spending Report, and I found them interesting. Here is a summary of the report:
So my girls are used to me saying clearly “I have only so much money” or “We can’t afford that.” so I wanted to expand thee conversation. So I thought about how kids are extra careful when things belong to them, like sharing that yummy coconut ice-cream etc. I wondered if they needed to have their own money! So I thought, is it time to broach the “A” word? Not that one, I mean “allowance”?
I had never had an allowance in my life while attending school!
Ok, so maybe that may have had something to do with the fact that money was tight growing up (understatement of the decade) or the fact that things are done differently in South Africa than here in the USA. The thing is I thought maybe it was a time to broach the subject. I turned to my Facebook page and asked about allowance and thoughts on it. I am uncomfortable about doling out money to my kids because I worry that they may start to take things for granted (in fact I already worry about that) and not appreciate earning things. One reader mentioned doing chores in her homes earns the allowance. I thought perfect!
So no to actually get them to do chores. Cleaning up their toys drives me crazy and apparently it drives them crazy to be told to clean up. As any mama who has stepped on a Lego will tell you, that is a painful subject. Anyway I felt they SHOULD be cleaning up their toys and not be paid for it. Then I remembered how much they enjoyed helping me, you know how we always want to do what the other person does? Well kids, it seems, are not immune to that attraction and find adult “chores” fun. The moment I declared a chore of “emptying” the recycling daily to my 7 year old, I could hear my 5 year old in pure parrot fashion yell “what about me?”.
Giving her a chore would be futile, I knew. She is the one least likely to clean or stay focused on it. She writes and draws all. day. long! I know, I know, I should be proud that for a 5 year old she reads and writes so well but seriously the girl will not listen. But, I did not want to enter the battle of “it’s not fair” so she got the job of putting the shoes on the shoe-rack (we don’t use shoes in my home). So day 1 went swell as they executed their chores with enthusiasm galore. Of course I expected that enthusiasm to wane and I was not wrong in expecting so. By day 3 the 5 year old gave up and honestly I knew it was a losing battle so I did too. The 7 year old, who could whine up a storm, started losing interest by day 4 and 5 and but still continued, especially as I reminded her that payday was not so far away.
Payday had arrived!
The look of pride on my girl as she kept the dollar for 7 days of being in charge to carry the recycle out and empty it was priceless. To keep things in perspective, we recycle a lot. Our town promotes it and every single home in my neighborhood has huge barrels just for recycling. Our family aim is to reduce “trash” and increase the recycle pile. The urge to spend it was there but she knew she needed more money. She wanted more chores but we felt a week or so more of showing she could follow through was first in order. Week 2 came and flew by and another dollar was earned.
So I headed to JC Penney to get them a haircut and my daughter decided that $2 should be able to buy her something, in spite of my coaxing to save it. I did not want to break it to her that $2 does not buy much these days. So as we looked at clothing and accessories the reality of her small sum dawned on her. Eventually when I went to ring up my items at the cashier, she ran up to ask the lady in charge:
“Excuse me, what can I buy for $2?”
My heart swelled with pride for her manners yet felt sad for the answer I knew she would receive. I decided to give her more chores and to have a few one-time chores, that had been nagging me, added to her list. The potential to earn grew. She watched her friends play outside, yet she made sure her chores were done before she could do the same. I thought these were responsible traits that would help her in life (I totally know several members of my own family who could have learned this lesson too). All this time the 5 year old did not seem phased at all by all of this, that was until she heard her sister say:
“Mom, can I buy that?”
My response to her as she held a pretty bracelet with pink studs was clear “It is your money, if you can afford it and are ready to spend it, that is your choice”. She dabbled about getting something smaller so she could get 2, one for her sister and one for her (bless her heart for even thinking it) but in the end decided she wanted the bracelet. She looked at the purse and knew a big chunk of her savings would be gone on that bracelet. Anticipating the storm to follow I bought 2 little activity books with my own money. As she got ready to spend her money, the doubts set in, and she asked the young girl behind the counter:
“Is this a good quality bracelet? I mean will the gems fall off?”
Bless my sweetheart for her practical side and making sure she got value for money. Even the girl was amazed (and thankfully did not dismiss her like most customer service people do) and replied that that was a very good question and that she honestly did not know. So lesson “question your purchase” was quickly followed by lesson “understand and take risk with responsibility”. So she made her purchase. I signaled to hubby to hasten to the car as I knew the storm was about to start as I watched the range of emotions on my 5 year old’s face. The questions started “Did you buy a bracelet for me!” and my first reply “Sorry honey, she bought that with the money she earned!” No sooner had I said it the trembling of the lips gave way to a full blown breakdown. I am usually hardcore about being fair, to the level of I ignore the board games when they say “youngest goes first” since that is not fair and would always make the youngest assume she deserved to go first (even when she is 40 years old – I know). The screams of “It’s not fair” coupled with a squirmy body made it a challenge to get into the car. She cried and cried. The activity book I mentioned seemed to mock her rather than soothe her.
If I bought her the bracelet it would be mocking the hard work of her sister, and I was not ready to do that. I would wait it out. It took a long time and honestly felt like forever, but she did eventually calm down. She grew sad but slowly got over it. Well that was until the next day and the chores began, then she asked for a chore again. I wondered about her short attention span and wondered whether this would die down again but in my book I always give you a chance if you want it. She stuck with it. The dangling carrot of being paid got several chores done. Oh course I got the ridiculous question:
“Can I get paid to take a shower?”
Err, let me think about that! No! No! No! You don’t get paid for things you should have been doing. Simple! They both chuckled, thinking it was at least worth a shot to ask. So this is my tale of how we tackle the “a” word in my home and next stop savings account at the bank. I could see my girl’s eyes get all twinkly when I discussed the interest you earn on saving money in the bank.
Now it is YOUR turn!
Would you like to win a gift card valued at $50 to help with Back To School? There will be 4 winners! $200 total prize worth!
To win tell me what is your best Back To School tip? Winner chose by random.org. Giveaways open to US residents only 21+ only. Winner must reply within 48 hours or new winner will be drawn.
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Disclosure: Women & Co compensated me for my time, and were kind enough to provide me with the gift cards for this giveaway.