Yesterday Evan4 spent the afternoon with some friends from school. The plan was that they’d all meet at Emma’s house, go to Subway and grab something to eat and then just hang out till it was time to go home.
“Can I go Mum?” he asked.
“Yes… but do you have any money for Subway?” I asked.
His stricken face said it all. He works every fortnight at his father’s shop so he has disposable income (after he gives me 10% to be put in a savings account he can’t touch till he’s 18.)
“Um… I bought credit for my phone. Thirty dollars,” he said. He glanced at me hopefully, saying nothing but I knew what was on his mind. I nearly caved in and said I’d give him $5, but then I thought again.
He knew that when he bought this phone that there’d be sacrifices involved. The kids all know that I have this new goal of paying off the house quickly, and while I don’t mind paying for things that are important, this outing didn’t really have a ring of urgency about it. (Besides, why should he be able to have his cake and eat it too when life really doesn’t work like that?)
“Well, what are you going to do?” I said. “You could go over to Emma’s house and then come home when they go to Subway. That way you still get to muck around with your mates and you don’t miss out.”
“OR…. how about I go with them and just not buy any food?”
That’s exactly what happened. He spent the whole afternoon with them and was lucky enough to have 2 cookies given to him because Subway had a three for the price of one deal and the kids who bought them couldn’t eat them all. He had a lovely time.
On the way home he said, “You know, since we don’t get pocket money any more* I’ve had to think really hard about what I spend my money on. I have to weigh up things and decide what to get. It’s interesting…”
(*The kids and I did a deal with the internet. I upped our plan to 20GIG a month and they “pay” for it by not getting pocket money.)