The Allowance Jars and the Book Fair
I have been doing “allowance jars” with my kids (ages 10 and 7) for years. They each have three jars: Spend, Save, and Give. They earn one dollar per week for every year of their age, so on their birthdays, they get a raise. One dollar must go in Give, but the rest is up to them.
I opened savings accounts for both, but taking the money to the bank was a hassle. When they were younger and didn’t earn as much (and had fewer “big goals” in mind for how to spend their money) it was constantly paying me back for wanting something in the check-out line or from the school store.
But as they have gotten older, they have started to become strategic. And it is very satisfying for me to say “Oh, you want to buy that puzzle in the museum gift shop? Do you have enough money in your allowance jar?” They earn just enough that they can make those types of decisions and know that a purchase isn’t going to set them back for a month, as it did when they were only earning $4/week.
Recently, they pooled their allowance for months to buy Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield — two new games for the Nintendo Switch. The games together cost $120, so were foregoing any other wants for a long time.
This week was the school Book Fair, and they both wanted to go. I give them each $5 when the Scholastic Book Order comes home, but I told them that the Book Fair was extra. They had looked at books in advance, so I added up the total that they would need. Each was going to be slightly short by the amount of tax, so I told them that I would give them an advance on their allowance for that amount.
We spent an inordinate amount of time at the Book Fair. Even with prepared lists of their wants, they both wandered the tables and ended up making different choices about their books. I picked up a copy of Dragons Love Tacos for my toddler, signed by the author, and also a young adult book called Scythe by Neil Shusterman that looked intriguing. I am usually eager to fork over my own allowance for books….
The 7-year-old really wanted a Harry Potter joke book, but it was per house, and there were no copies of Hufflepuff, so I told him that I would find it on Amazon for him. The 10-year-old…