Rip had been asking about going to the zoo earlier this week so we made plans to go Friday after school.  I had the car all packed up, Riley & I picked up Rip and I handed Rip his mail that he received that day.  Uncle Jeff and Aunt Krissy had sent R & R halloween cards with $5 in each card.

Now here I need to step back and inform everyone about our allowance policy in the home (and we get this philosophy from Parenting On Track – Week 9, Family Meetings).  We hand out weekly allowances with the intent of teaching our kids about money management.  Our goal is that by the time they leave our home, head for college and are bombarded with all kinds of financial decisions, that have the necessary skills in place to make wise decisions.  Anyhow, the kids get $1 per week for however old they are.  Rip is 5 so he gets $5 each week – as long as he attends and participates in our family meetings where allowances are handed out.  Side note, Riley isn’t 2 yet so we haven’t started giving her allowance yet, but the time will be coming soon…very soon.  One last note on our allowance philosophy, if money is left lying around (i.e. not taken care of in an appropriate manner), it is put into the vacation jar.  There is a whole bunch more about allowances but instead of repeating it all, check out this blog entry:  http://www.parentingontrack.com/invest-in-the-best/money-management.

OK, back to the main story.  After our family meeting this week Rip left his allowance sitting on the dining table.  We actually left it there longer than we should have (24 hours) in hopes that he would notice and put it away.  It’s been a very long time since Rip lost any money to the vacation jar so we were hopeful.  Unfortunately, his allowance did end up in the vacation jar.  He was pretty upset for about 5 minutes but then seemed to come to terms with the situation.  This is great because usually he stews on this stuff for days so 5 minutes is quite an improvement.

Now we’re in the car getting ready to head to the zoo and I let Rip know he got some mail and handed it over to him to open.  He opened it and was quite joyous at having money to spend.  I suggested he could use it for a treat or something at the zoo.  He questioned what he could buy for $5 at the zoo…snacks maybe?  We drove maybe 100 yards before Rip suggested we not go to the zoo but head to Office Depot instead.  Reference this post for why he picked Office Depot.  I was TOTALLY fine with this because I was pretty beat and didn’t really want to go to the zoo.

So we head to the Office Depot and Rip buys some stickers (not what he originally planned on buying) and Riley made her first purchase:  crayons and paper.  Rip is pretty experienced and buying stuff by now – doesn’t understand the math involved but knows he puts his stuff on the counter and then hands over his money.  Riley, as far as I know, doesn’t have a clue.  However, she did pretty well for her first purchase.  I stood her on the counter, asked her to hand over her stuff to get scanned (which she did with a little hesitation), then asked her to hand over her money (no hesitation here).  When the change came, she held out her hand and put her few coins in her pocket.  Not too shabby for purchase #1.  Of course we did have a minor meltdown as we were leaving the store because she wanted some peanuts…but she didn’t have enough money.

Update on Training:  Kirk and I have sketched out some skills we would like to work on with the kids over the next 6 – 8 months.  Now it’s time to go put a timeline to the training list.  I’ll post that later so everyone can see what we hope to accomplish.

Next week we focus on Mistaken Behaviors – why do kids act like they do.

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