We did a thing last week with the kids that I think was more fun than I was expecting. When I first mentioned it to them they cringed and complained of course, but after I got some rules drawn up they were more excited. I noticed recently how much more food costs and how quickly we tend to go through it- especially with my oldest that is a teenager. Yes…. Yes… I know being a teenager and a boy, I should expect as much. I am pretty understanding, but he is getting older and wanted to teach him a thing or two about money. We went down to the bank and opened a teen checking account for him before we even started this experiment as well. The thought of him being able to work and drive here soon is sort of scary for me. It came quicker than I ever imagined! I was really hoping this exercise might open his eyes a little to the real world around him but I do realize he is still just a teen.
I came up with this idea in my head one night while taking a shower, my main goal is to simulate bills as an adult. It took some time to come up with ground rules but I eventually made a worksheet for them and each child got $50 to start off with. They would end up paying rent, electric, phone, water… etc. They could pay in advance or daily – it was their choice. Whatever they had left over or wanted to spend would go toward groceries. I took them each down to the store on Saturday to buy their own groceries for the entire week. I wasn’t sure how this would all pan out as we have never done anything like this before, but they finally started getting excited. Friday night when they got their papers and money, they started writing out grocery lists. It was pretty neat to watch them each go about it a different way. My oldest and youngest got together and used the Kroger/Frys app to figure out the cost of each item they wanted so they could total it up before going. While my middle one sat down in his room and used a little more organization and logic for his list. Surprisingly, they all paid in advance for the bills so they had a set number to use towards groceries. My youngest was really trying to buy as little as possible so he could purchase other stuff from the store which pretty much cracked me up.
Once we got to the store, they had way more fun than I ever imagined. Granted I know they won’t choose the best meals but for a week they will live and its one of those experiences they won’t get often, right? Well, that’s what I keep telling myself. Ha! While picking up their food they shopped on their own and did the entire transaction by themselves with the cash they had. It worked out great and they did very well budgeting for the week. I think the oldest two children that are 15 and 11 really seemed to understand that you don’t get much but that amount of money seems like a lot when in hand. I loved watching them figure out what to do and what to eat especially for dinner. They did buy themselves some treats along the way whether it be a small thing of candy or six-pack of soda – which I don’t really buy anymore. So they got to spoil themselves a little too! I took photos of the kid’s stash of food for the week after we got home too – check them out below!
This is what my oldest ( Corbyn ) picked for food for the week. I think he did a pretty good job of picking out each thing. Now, he seemed to be the one that fought me the most on wanting to do this activity but by the time we got it done… you could tell he had fun. He was even telling other family members about it and how excited he was. I was so happy to see him come around! He seems to be the one that eats most of the snacks and sometimes even two dinners at night. He is a growing boy that is for sure and can eat so much! The pop tarts here are actually his “snack” not a meal. That part made me laugh a little.
The next food shown here is the middle one child – Caiden. He is 11 years old and seems to not eat too much. He does like junk for the most part but he hasn’t hit his growth spurt of eating everything in the house. I am sure we will get there with time though. He did a good job and took a little more time to do his list and made sure he had enough stuff for school. He was determined not to be hungry in school, which was totally cute! He seemed to get a little more food than my first and planned to make it last. He had a plan and was going to stick to it.
Last but not least is my youngest – Kobe that just turned 9! He wasn’t too thrilled about this whole experience and needed a little more help along the way but overall he did pretty darn good too! Once the week seemed to go along he enjoyed it more and more! He got a good amount of stuff at the store and does an amazing job of budgeting his food out to last. He seems to be the worst one in the house to eat junk. He is very picky and honestly could eat top ramen if need be every single night. He does football throughout the week so we did have to be careful with that so he wasn’t just eating junk and not feeling well at practice.
PS: I will do an updated post on the kids as the week goes along and maybe some things they learned along the way. I am hoping this is a learning experience vs something mom just wants to try out. I want it to open their eyes and also learn some skills. I do have to mention they did learn the value of a sale. That’s for sure! They mostly went for the cheaper brands as they knew it would save them money in the long run. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and seeing what our household does and our crazy antics! I love to try out new things and teach my kids as much as possible, but I do value that they are just kids too! Talk to you soon!