Skinflint Sunday: Just say no.

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.”

He thought.

“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.)

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9 Responses to Skinflint Sunday: Just say no.

  1. trashalou says:

    Oooo goody! Someone else who does life lessons ‘the hard way’.

  2. frog says:

    Yep, our kids (7 and 10) already have to make some decisions. Pocket money each week goes into 3 tins – garage sale (spend this week if you like); saving up for something significant (btw $8-40); and don’t even think about this money until you’re 18.

    It’s already working. Making the decision and sticking to it is slowly getting less hard!

  3. Jayne says:

    My feral kid gets $5 per week to spend or save and it’s amazing how much gets saved lol.

  4. moonspun says:

    That’s must have been tough for you on one level not to give him money, but on the other hand, it’s clear that he is learning a good lesson about priorities!

  5. libby says:

    the girls dont get pocket money every week but if they need some money for something we usually give them what I think is reasonable. I dont buy them every thing their little hearts desire and they understand money doesnt grow on trees (most of the time anyway lol).
    I should give them a specific amount each week at the same time with instructions of… when its gone, there is no more….

  6. Ellen says:

    I think that this is a really interesting post and has made me think about priorities. It also made me wonder about your boys’ dad, doesn’t he give the boys any pocket-money?

  7. Mwa says:

    Very nice. Good lesson.

  8. persiflage says:

    They really are such good boys, aren’t they, and take after you, too. Just as well…..

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