Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Last month we embarked on a new adventure in our family.... Allowance.

Jasper is 3 1/2, and I really didn't envision him having an allowance this young.

But for the last few months I've been frustrated when I took Jasper to the store.  I felt like he was asking for a million things.  Toys, candy, a new bike, a fish, you name it!

At times he strongly resembled the Octopus we saw at the Shark Reef two weeks ago.  Eight arms, all grabbing (and whining)  for things he wanted at the store.

Even I was getting bored of my "no" answers like...."We have one of those at home", "We don't need that", "We can't afford that", etc. Last month I tried a Love and Logic tactic of telling Jasper that he can buy whatever he can pay for.

While we were waiting, Jasper found an overpriced pack of Mini Oreos he wanted at the Pharmacy.  I smiled and told him he could get whatever he could pay for.   He handed the  Oreos to the cashier and said, "Umm, my Dad forgot to give me money today."  I quickly realized that this tactic doesn't work too well if your child has no money.

After Jasper and I got home Mike and I discussed and idea I'd been rolling around in my mind for a while.  We decided to give Jasper $1 per week allowance.

He can spend it on whatever he wants. He can spend it every week, or he can save it for something big.  In the future we will set some guidelines up for setting money aside for savings, etc.   Right now we are in the "test phase" giving this a whirl to see if it's a good idea, or if I am a first time mom who is way off track.

The plan for now is that we are not paying Jasper to do his chores.  We are focusing on the fact that doing chores and helping out is part of being part of a family.  His allowance is not tied to anything.

Our trips to the store are much happier and less stressful for me.  Jasper has lost the "gimmies" while we're shopping.  My favorite is when we are out shopping and Jasper sees something he likes and says,"I don't have enough money for this."  Or, "Mom, the numbers on the price sign say 350 ($3.50); I can't afford this, I my money starts with a 1 ($1.00)."

Today at the store Jasper rode around in the cart with a Thomas the Train ($13.50) and then eyed a $2.50 six pack of bakery cupcakes with sprinkles.  Jasper told me, "Mom, I can work it out to buy both of these things."  I said, "I don't think so, but you go ahead and talk to the cashier and see what they say.
"When we got to the register Jasper set the cupcakes and train down and decided to got for a 50 cent package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  I explained to Jasper that he could save his money to go towards the train and that he had a few mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups left in and Easter egg at home, but he wanted to buy them, and so he did.

The guy in line behind us was not thrilled that we took a little longer because we had a separate transaction.  I almost let his grumpiness sway me, but I went ahead and let Jasper hand the cashier his item and pay for it.

After Jasper ate his second Reeses Peanut Butter Cup I went to throw the wrapper away and he said, "STOP."  I asked why, and he told me that he wanted to eat ALL of the peanut butter cups.  At this point I realized he'd never eaten a pack of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and didn't know there were only two in the package.  :)  He was so sad when I told him.

Last week he bought a completely overpriced tootsie pop at the gas station for 25 cents.  It seems like he mostly wants to buy candy, which I am not feeling too great about. We don't usually have candy at home, so maybe I shouldn't worry about that too much.  I am not sure.

I used to have a hard time if Jasper wanted a treat at the store, because it seems like everything he wants is overpriced or something I don't want to buy him.  For now I hope he will make some choices that aren't so great and learn a lesson or two.

I have had some people say, "Well, I didn't get that much money when I was kid", and a slew of other negative comments.  I hope that Jasper will learn a few valuable lessons along the way.  And for me, $52 a year is well worth more peaceful shopping trips.


Erica said...

Interesting thoughts, Ang! I've never even thought about allowance at this age, but I can totally understand your reasoning and it makes sense to me! I'll be anxious to hear what you/he learn from this. :)

Cami said...

This cracks me up! I love to read about Jasper's logic. My personal opinion is that it's never to early to start teaching your kids about money. Starting with a dollar a week sounds right for his age. Kids should know that things in the store have a value set for them and don't always come easy. I'm a huge "love and logic" fan!! That book has helped me a ton with parenting.

We do a point system with our boys. They earn points for doing different things. Each point is worth 1 cent. They get 10-25 points for most chores. It goes against the "love and logic" philosophy, but it's working for our family. We use myjobchart.com to track their points.

Good luck with this new allowance adventure!

Ashby Family said...

We've been doing allowance with our girls (They can earn up to $1 for each year old they are so Alexis can earn 7 and Ariana 5) I know this might sound like a lot to some but it has let them learn A LOT about money and what they need to do to save. It also lets the expensive toys/treats be a more reasonable goal to meet. We no longer fight at the store on getting things and I love that I don't have to always say no. Don't worry about the candy, I know its hard, Alexis is the same way but I have to remind myself its her money and she gets to spend it how she'd like. I can advise her but its her choice. It took awhile for her to start understanding good deals and what things are overpriced but its been so worth it in my opinion. Sorry this is so long.

Travis Wilson said...

When people (no matter how old they really are) tell you $1 is too much, just tell them, "Well, candy doesn't cost a nickel anymore, grandpa!"

The Jones Fam said...

We are kind of going through the same thing. I think it sounds like a good idea and it also sounds like it has been going pretty well so far. It is always funny to me what kids decide to spend their money on. I get a kick out of it every time I let the kids choose for themselves how their money will be spent :)

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I am full time wife and Mom. Jasper is my busy 3 year old who keeps us on our toes. I like to sew and craft and make our house a home. I love to be outside and play with my boys.