Show Me the Money!

May 19, 2011

I love it when I am in my car alone and I can turn the radio up and jam out to my favorite tunes from the 80’s.  It doesn’t happen very often … usually I’m stuck listening to SpongeBob SquarePants or Veggie Tales and I can hardly hear myself think over all the arguing and tattling coming from the backseat. 

On one of those rare occasions when I was driving alone my kids called to see how close I was to being home.  I told them I’d be there in about thirty minutes and also told them if they cleaned their rooms I’d give them each a dollar.  Emma and Ethan LOVE to get “dollars” so they were thrilled.  They hung up and I turned the radio back up and started singing along.  About 10 minutes later my phone rang again and it was Ethan.

“Hey Mom, do we have to clean under our beds?” he asked

“No, but don’t just stuff everything under your bed.” I replied. 

There was silence on the other end for a few seconds.

“Ethan, are you still there?” 

“Yep, I’m still here. I was just wondering” 

“What were you wondering?”

“I was wondering if you would pay us extra if we cleaned under our beds.  I’d clean under my bed if you paid me another dollar. Then I’d have two dollars!”

The twins have finally started to realize the power of money and are always trying to figure out how to make more of it. However, they don’t really have a concept of what a dollar can buy yet.  For example, yesterday Emma told me she was going to take her one dollar and buy a game for the Wii and then with the change she wanted to buy a Barbie. 

The other night after dinner I was doing the dishes when Emma and Ethan came running into the kitchen carrying Ethan’s piggy bank.  They both had huge smiles on their faces

Ethan said, “Hey Mom! ….. Hey Mom! ….. Mom, Mom, Mom!”  

“Yes, Ethan … what’s up?” 

“Me and Emma put all our money together and we have eight dollars and fifty-three cents.” 

“Wow – that’s great.” I said as I continued loading the dishwasher.  

“We were wondering how much past our bedtime would you let us stay up if we gave you our eight dollars and fifty-three cents?”  Emma asked.

I laughed at their proposal and asked, “So you want to ‘buy’ extra time to play and watch TV before bed?” 

“Yes! That’s correct!” Ethan exclaimed.  

It’s interesting to watch how the kids view money and the creative ways they think of to spend and to make money.  We have recently started having the kids do some chores around the house like taking out the trash, washing the dishes and doing the laundry. So far it seems to be going well and they have been working hard to getting the stars on the chore chart so they can get their allowance at the end of the week.  However, they now seem to think everything they do should earn them a star or more money for their allowance.  I have been trying to teach them that we don’t always get paid for things we do … like Mommy doesn’t get paid to clean the house or cook dinner but I do it because I love them.  They are getting better but they still have times when they try to slip in some extra money-making opportunities.

We were getting ready to leave for church one Sunday morning and I told Emma and Ethan that I was going to be leading children’s church and they needed to be on their best behavior and set a good example for the other kids.   Ethan thought for a second and asked, “Are you going to pay us?”   

Sweet Treats

April 4, 2011

Ever since Emma was a baby she has loved to eat chocolate.  Chocolate candy bars and chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  She not only is known to eat chocolate on a daily basis, but also is known to wear it.  She has a special talent for getting chocolate on her face and clothes and, on at least one occasion, she managed to somehow get chocolate on the BACK of her shirt!  

While we were in Florida we stopped by the shops in Downtown Disney because Ethan and Drew wanted to go to the Lego Store.  On our way to the Lego Store Emma and Caleb were distracted by the Goofy Candy Store … Emma because she saw the word “candy” and Caleb because Goofy is one of his favorite Disney characters. They both really wanted to stop so I sent Dwight on with Drew and Ethan to the Lego Store and Emma, Caleb and I went into the candy store.  I have to admit I was much more excited by the candy store than the Lego store … I’m all about the candy and chocolate too!

Talk about being a kid in a candy store … Wow! There was wall-to-wall candy, cookies, cakes, and anything else sweet you could possibly want.  They even had a giant Rice Krispie Treat shaped like Mickey Mouse that looked like a cake.  The bakery was right in the center of the store so you could see and smell all the delicious treats throughout the store.

Emma went over to the bulk candy bins and found what looked like gummy  bears, but instead of being shaped like bears they were shaped like Mickey Mouse.   Mickey Mouse Gummies?? How could we not buy some?  Emma put a few scoops in a baggie and then also suggested we buy some M& M’s too since they are Emma & Ethan’s favorite. 

The cashier rang up the candy and said, “Your total comes to $9.78”  “I could have bought the same amount of M&M’s and gummies at Wal-Mart for about $2.00!” I thought.  I glanced back at that the sign above the bulk bins and saw that It said “Bulk Candy ~ $12.00/lb”.   After handing the cashier my debit card and paying for our candy, Emma and Caleb followed me out of the store.  As I looked back at Emma who was skipping happily out of the store with the two bags of candy in her hand and a smile ear to ear on her face,  I knew it was worth the extra $7.78 !

Getting Fancy Now

January 26, 2011

OK – so to spice things up as I continue my journey in the world of blogging I have decided to try something new and fancy …. adding video to a post. 

This hilarious video clip by comedian Anita Renfroe is for all those moms out there that know they could run the country better due to their experience. Afterall, aren’t all  politicians kinda like kids?  …. they don’t want to admit anything is their fault, they don’t clean up their messes and they think that there is an endless supply of money.  What this country needs is a mom to come in and save the day!

If you enjoyed this clip as much as I did you can find more of Anita Renfroe on YouTube or check her website to see when she might be coming to your area.

We have been trying to teach our children that, contrary to popular belief among children, money does NOT grow on trees nor does it come for free out of the “Magic Money Machine” (aka : ATM).  We have showed them where the money that Mommy and Daddy makes goes …  to pay bills, to buy groceries, to buy clothes, etc. so that they understand why we cannot keep buying the latest and greatest new toy or electronic device.

I remember growing up my Mom and Dad used Monopoly money to show my brother, sister and I how much money they made and then what bills had to be paid so we could see what was left afterwards. This was a very good visual lesson so I decided to try it with our children I showed them the money that Mommy and Daddy made and put it in a pile. “Now this is called ‘income’ – it’s the money coming in.” I explained.   Then I showed them all the places we had to use that money and they watched as the pile got smaller and smaller. “Now these are called ‘expenses’ – the money that we have to pay out.”  Then I showed them how much money was left.   Emma looked at the small pile of money and then looked at all the money that had been taken away. “So how many hours do you have to work to make the money you started out with?” she asked.   “Well, Mommy works 40 hours each week and Daddy works 40 hours each week and that money is the money we make in 4 weeks so that would mean we each work 160 hours to make the money we started with.”  “Are you serious?” she asked.  She thought for a few more seconds and said, “Money sure seems a lot harder to make and a lot easier to spend.”  Drew laughed and said, “I think she’s catching on.”

We found a visual example like this gives kids a better grasp of how they need to be careful where and what they spend their money on because it goes quicker than you think. After all, if it were as easy to make money as it is to spend it and if it were as easy to lose weight as it is to gain it … we’d all be rich and thin!