When we went camping over Memorial Day, the campground had a camp store, putt putt golf, boats to rent, etc. The camp store had slushies, candy, ice cream, etc... I knew our kids would ask for slushies all weekend long...and ask to rent this or that, etc. Jon and I were trying to figure out a way to counter that so we wouldn't be the bad guys saying no all weekend long :) Plus, we were hoping to teach some life lessons into this opportunity.
God gave us a great idea! At the beginning of the weekend, we gave the kids each $10 spending money for the weekend. It was up to them how to spend it...if they wanted to buy $10 of slushies, they could. If they wanted to rent paddle boats multiple times, cool. It was their choice. We told them that we would pay for one round of putt putt, one hour of paddle boat, and one hour of canoeing. Any other activities or treats that they wanted, they could get...as long as it was within their $10 budget.
It was AMAZING watching how the kids handled their decision making. Daniel s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e-d. He worried about not making good choices with his $10, almost to the point of giving us the money back because he didn't want the responsibility of making the decisions. Faith was very careful and thoughtful. Jolie...was ready to spend! :)
Their planning evolved over the 4 days. The first day, they all made plans with various ways to hit the $10 mark. They also planned on getting a paddle boat and splitting the rental fee. It was really cool watching them work together and findings way to stretch their money. They counted and recounted their cash many times!
They asked if they didn't spend it all, could they keep it. We said yes... it is yours. The first day all 3 had their $10 spent (in a budget). But by the third day, all 3 still had almost ALL of their money!
They each bought a $1 slushy and skipped the $1.50 slushy because it would just melt before they could finish a large one anyway. After they tried the slushies, they decided they weren't worth the $1! If WE had bought the slushies, they would have wanted the large and one each day!
It was a great experience for them to understand that their wants will be unlimited, but they will have to learn to manage those wants with a solid financial plan. They also learned that not everything is WORTH "THEIR" money :)
So, they each spent a little bit in the camp store, but had most of their money left at the end of the weekend. The one round of putt putt and boat rental that we purchased was enough. They decided that Culver's was a place WORTH spending their money...so after camping, we head out for delicious!
We will be using this teaching technique with them in the future! There are unlimited ways to use this tool. It will be a great teaching tool to give them a clothing budget... and let THEM find the items that will meet their need. Will they choose to get basics at a thrift shop or Target, but spend most of their budget on one pair of shoes? I have no idea!! It'll be fun to find out :)
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.