Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Plant the seeds now....

Here's a little tidbit of successful parenting advice.

When Mason and Evan were "tweens" and school would let out for the summer, Gary and I got completely frustrated hearing "There's no food in the house!" - despite our weekly shopping trips.

So, we came up with the brilliant idea of giving the kids $35 week (more like every 10 days) to pick out their own foods - barring main courses of course. They were ecstatic - all that power! lol. We laid down some ground rules: they were responsible for jointly agreeing on how to spend their shared money on snacks, desserts, special drinks, etc. They could use coupons, we'ld help him look for them. They would have to make up the difference at the checkout line if they went over. Anything they didn't spend could go in a "bank" until the next shopping trip.

So while we shopped, they had their own cart and because we didn't want to hear the bickering - we even made them shop away from us. Nice, huh? They'ld run up and ask us if "bread/bagels" counted as theirs or if it could go in our cart. If it wasn't unreasonable, it could go in ours. We thought we'ld have to police their cart way more than we did. I mean that first trip out, I had visions of $35 worth of BBQ chips and Pepsi.

However, even we were shocked with how well our little plan worked: Not only did it immediately put a halt to the constant whining, but we started hearing new (much nicer to our ears) phrases like, "Wow - those cookies didn't last at all. Next time, we'll get that other brand." and "Okay, this week you can get those chips and next week I'll get pop-tarts." Compromises. Budget conscience.

Once Mason started driving, they would even head out on their own.
Fast forward to this weekend. I'm always busy. Taking twins to the grocery store is not fun. And Gary usually gets home too late for me to go without the kids. So, Mr. Evan got tired of waiting around for food to come for him. And he basically did our weekly shopping trip for me.
He's done this two of three times recently. And he still budget shops. He's proud of what he saves. He makes goals, games like we used to - trying to keep it under $100, etc. And he'll come home shocked and griping about the price of milk.

When he saw me taking pictures...
Evan: "What are you doing?"
Me: click

Evan repeats: What are you doing?

Me: "I'm going to blog about you being the family grocery shopper. I think it's awesome. I don't think that many other (almost) 17 year olds are doing that. And I'm super proud of you."

Evan: "Oh."

Me...In my head interpreting that "Oh" as: "Gee, Mom - thanks. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all that you have taught me and that I recognize that you and Dad have given me a leg up in this big old cruel world I'm going to have to go off into one day...."

But seriously, if we had sat down 6 years ago and tried to figure out a way to raise money conscience children at the level they are now, we might have been stumped. Instead, our quick solution to "get the kids off our back" and to "cut out all that fussing" has paid off big time. And you can bet, we'll do the same thing with our next two!


Heidi said...

Thanks for the tip! I'm totally keeping that in mind for the future, what a great idea!

Bobbi said...

Cassie and Krista are a bit young for this, but I think that I will incorporate this. I'll give them an allowance in the grocery budget (huh-budget that's a joke). When they ask for special things we will make a list and figure out what they can get.

I want him at my house!! YOu have raised him right, mom. In so many ways. That is a marriage seller right there.

Thanks for the tip. Glad I could give you a chuckle. Never a dull moment in my house

ManyBlessings said...

What a neat idea!!! Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea and a lesson learned. I can't wait to hear stories about the twins budget shopping trips!

Greta Jo said...

Great idea Donna- I will keep it in mind for the future.
You should be very proud of yourself...

Cheryl Lage said...

Omigosh Donna, this is GENIUS and you are GENEROUS to so let me note this for future mimicking! :)

Could those pictures with big bro and little bro be any more adorable?

And girl, I am SOOOO much older than you, but 'tis I who look up to you!

Kiss all your men for me!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick note to let you know, I promise to get some goodies mailed out to you by Saturday!!!

Your SBP.

* TONYA * said...

What a fantastic idea. I may have to borrow that. I know Jay would love it if I gave him a little allowance to do this. Knowing him, he'd stock up on gum, but he'd also stock up on eggs, apples and strawberries. I seriously get sick of him saying lately that there's nothing in the house