Tuesday, February 9, 2010

on saving...and spending.

I consider one of my more important jobs as a parent, along with instilling faith, values, creativity, and kindness into my children, to be instilling them with a bit of financial sense, especially where the value of a dollar is concerned. Unfortunately, when it comes to traveling to London, the value of a dollar isn't much! We have a few philosophies when it comes to travel and spending money, one being that all of the kids' spending money needs to be saved by them before we go, and another is that some part of their spending money should be earned. I'm amazed at how much less begging for every souvenir in sight happens when the money that will be spent is their own.

Since the money that the kids are saving won't be worth as much in pounds as it is in dollars, we are talking about the exchange rate and it's implications on their savings. Since there are about 5 weeks until our trip, we are already starting our chores for $1 program. We have a list of chores, each worth $1 with a max of $5 that can be earned each day. During the week, they really don't have time to earn more than $1-2, but they have been so excited about earning their spending money this week. You've never seen a boy clean a bathroom as happily as Paulie did this evening. Elizabeth spent most of Sunday afternoon emptying her dresser drawers, sorting out clothes that were too small, and neatly stacking her clothes back in each drawer.

The benefit to earning their own money and having control of spending their own money is best summed up by our trip to Ireland. Elizabeth earned the equivalent of 30 Euros before we left. Our first day in Ireland, we visited The Rock Shop at the Cliffs of Moher, where Elizabeth found a beautiful amethyst-and-quartz-studded dragonfly that, when added to the other few rocks she desired, totaled almost half of her saved Euros. I simply reminded her that all she had for spending money were those 30 Euros and when it was gone it was gone. She said that she remembered. After that initial day, she only purchased a few postcards and a photo of herself kissing the Blarney Stone. Elizabeth has always collected rocks, and she knew that rocks were going to be her big purchase. After that she just didn't really pay much attention to buying things. What a proud moment for me that at 7 she was aware of what she had to spend, what she wanted to spend it on, and when it was gone she was unconcerned with buying more "things".


  1. I love this idea, Joy. You are so wise with everything you do! I need to get some budgeting advice from you <3

  2. That dragonfly on the quartz sure is pretty!

  3. I love how you do this with your children! Definitely something that I also will be teaching my kids.

  4. As much as I HATED this concept when I was a kid (I had to earn half of everything I wanted to do outside of the "required" (violin/swim team-- read "forced") activities-- like camp-- I love the idea for my kids. Grady is already showing far more restrain than his mama--- he fixates on what he wants to spend his birthday dollars from aunts and uncles on, and never, ever deviates from that. Great lessons!

  5. Terrific idea! I did learn a lot about appreciating the arts and creativity from my parents, but I think right now as a girl just starting out on her own, I am really thankful for their teachings on saving and money!

  6. I hope you have a lovely time in my neck of the woods! Will you be traveling through England or just London?

  7. Love this idea! I will be following your lead and doing this with my oldest (she is 5) on our next vacation.

  8. These sorts of lessons on spending and saving are so important! I think that sometimes, it's harder for me to apply these types of lessons to my kids, than it is for them.
    Look how organized that drawer is! :)

  9. Hello-
    Greetings from the island of Bali-
    this is my first visit...
    and i really love your articles..
    i think i can get more lessons here..
    thanks for sharing..
    dont forget to visit me back...
    see you...

  10. Oh, a trip to London, how exciting! I spent a semester there during college. I love that city! And you are such a wonderful, wise mama.


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