Yes to Guns and Lipgloss but No to Ice Cream

An ice cream van at Batemans Bay, New South Wa...

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My Man and I have started giving our kids an allowance. It’s really just spending money – it’s not tied to chores at all. My belief on money and chores is that kids shouldn’t get any money for helping out with normal routine stuff. It’s just part of running a household. So, their chores, picking out their own clothes, getting themselves dressed, putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, taking their dishes to the counter after a meal, etc. are just normal expectations. But, if they go above and beyond the normal expectations (the other day Little Miss heard the dryer buzz. She pulled out the dry clothes then emptied the washer into the dryer. For this she got 25 cents) their base money may be added to. At 5 and 6 we thought $1 a week would be good.

 The allowance thing started right before Buddy’s 5th birthday. That boy got some spending cash for his big day. He added a little of his savings to his birthday bucks and we headed to Target. What did he buy? Guns and ammo. We’ve entered the age of the Nerf gun (which he got one of as a gift). With his own money he got extra “bullets” and two more guns because really, what’s the point of having just one? Where’s the fun in that?

There’s a fabulous little independent toy store not too far from my house called Doodlehopper. Within a few weeks of moving here we discovered it and spent some time browsing one day. Little Miss was infatuated with the Hello Kitty display. Hey, I was too. I still love all those little scented erasers and tiny notebooks and lip glosses. It’s fun stuff. Shortly after Buddy’s gun purchase, Little Miss decided it was time to spend some of her loot and she asked me if I’d take her to that toy store. She took $4 and had me show her all the options of what her money could buy. She decided on a little palette of lip glosses in the shape of Hello Kitty with a tiny brush to apply. She also assured me that this was just for playing and she would not be wearing it out and about.

This August we joined the neighborhood pool. We’d schlep over there most afternoons and pack a little snack and I’d fill a thermos with icy cold water. Well, there is a soda machine there and a snack bar that is open from time to time. One afternoon as we were packing up the kiddos asked if they could bring some of their own money to buy a soda or a snack. I said, “sure.” Well, the snack bar was closed, and they both opted for no soda. As we were leaving the ice cream truck pulled up. “Mom,” they both said, “can we get some ice cream?” I said, “Sure, you brought your money.” We headed toward the truck and I told them their options with the amount of money they brought.  They looked at their options and then started to walk away. “I don’t want ice cream anymore,” Little Miss said. “Me neither,” said Buddy. No whining for ice cream. No crying that I don’t get them treats. It was a pretty cool moment. I guess their dollar wasn’t worth spending on ice cream.

My Man and I really want our kids to be money smart and we felt the best way to teach them about money was to give them some to use as they wish. It’s going to be fun to see what they blow it on, what they save it for, and if they give it away.

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