Earning it

A few months back, Luca saw a commercial for a Flashlight Friend and got it into his head that he needed one.

“But mom! I can use it to play Legos at night!”

I looked into it, and it got decent reviews. It even had a timer that would shut off after 10 minutes of use, making his claim to play Legos at night an OK one to me.

It, however, was 30 dollars.

I don’t know if I’m of the abnormal, but my kids don’t just get things bought for them. Birthdays, holidays and rare occasions when they’ve been really good. They have a lot of stuff. They don’t need more stuff.

I decided that if he wanted this Flashlight Friend he would need to earn it, one dollar at a time.

He agreed, even after I told him that any bad behavior would cause him to lose a dollar. So I got a piece of notebook paper and started to keep track of his dollars.

It took him almost 2 months and a lot of earned back dollars after having lost them, but he finally got it.

He learned the value of a dollar by vacuuming, watching Audrey while I showered, taking the recycle bin back after the truck came by, feeding the cats, making sure his room stays clean and other various jobs.

And more so, as time went on, he’d just start to vacuum on his own. Or say, “Mom! Come look! I cleaned the playroom all by myself!” and sure enough, it was spotless.

Claire wanted in on it, too. After all her chores and such were added up, she earned a Wonder Woman costume.

They immediately started thinking of what they wanted next. Things! They want things! Yah, no. No you don’t need things. I felt stuck, though. Because I had started something, and it was a great idea, teaching the kids the true value of money.

Then Claire had a private lesson at taekwondo with one of the chief instructors.

Totally worth the money, as you can see.

She had a great time, but let’s get real here. At 35 dollars a lesson for 30 minutes of his time, that adds up. But she learned so much, and how can you really put a price on that?

*Light bulb!

“Claire, do you want to have another private lesson?”


“OK! How about that be the next goal you save up for?”

She was sold. Of course, I had the conversation with her that things are just things, but knowledge and practice is paramount. She agreed, and I was off the hook.

That following week when the kids had class, Luca proudly marched up to Mr. Weston and announced, “I’m going to have a private lesson with you! I’m saving my dollars!”

Well, alrighty then! You go on with your bad self.

As of right now, he’s up to 10 dollars. I told him he only has to save 25 dollars, I’ll spot him the remaining 10. Same for Claire.

So today, after I taught Body Pump, I needed a shower. Bad. We all went upstairs and I gated up the stairs and asked Luca if he wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on Audrey for me. (Otherwise I just plunk her in her crib with books.) He enthusiastically said yes. Win.

When I came out, he and Audrey were sitting on the floor in the hallway surrounded by 20 matchbox cars, sucking their thumbs and having adorable conversations (and babbles) about the cars.

Now he’s up to 11 dollars.

Mae is earning dollars, too. Though, hers are infrequent and kind of funny. For example, the other day she shared part of her Oakmont Bakery cookie with Audrey. I didn’t ask her to, she just did.

Boom, dollar earned.

One thing I’ve never really been good at is money management. I’m getting better and trying my hardest, but stores like Target darn near kill me. But when I stopped to think about how I’m not letting my kids buy things they don’t need, why do I get to do the same thing? I’ve done the same thing with eating. I don’t let them have treats until at the end of the day, some days. Not every day. Why do I get to binge eat all the junk? I have to lead by example, but truth is, my kids are teaching me what’s right. Go figure.

Along with teaching the kids the honest meaning of money and where it can or should go towards, Claire was one of three people featured in an article in the Post Gazette yesterday. Today she’s proudly parading around school with the physical copy from the newspaper. She was so excited to see her photo in print, she was so proud. And why shouldn’t she be? She’s earned it.

Right now, her closet is filling slowly with items people have given her for donation. Her Amazon.com wishlist is here.

Her money fundraiser is here. She’s so happy she’s on the first page. Right now she’s in 8th place for being a top fundraiser. She loves that she’s on that first page.

Go, Claire!


About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on March 26, 2014, in Cassie. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Nothing wrong with letting buy “things” with money they earned themselves… That’s how they’ll learn what’s really important, and what they don’t really need.

  2. And this is why I’m glad you became a parent first. I can learn so much from this. 🙂

  3. Ah, I could learn a lesson or two myself from that … In theory I am not at all about buying things and materialistic, and I honestly think that I am way less interested in stuff than many people, but still, if I am completely honest I buy way more than I need, and I still don’t change my behaviour… Love that you teach your kids how to earn money at such a young age!

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