I know shopping on a budget isn’t technically housework, but it’s certainly a skill that benefits the household.
The grocery store lesson is coming up and we have a lot to learn there, but for this one I wanted my oldest boy to see just how far his own money might go when buying things, namely toys. It’s a subject that is important to him, and I chose to keep it really simple.
We stopped in at a pharmacy-type store to buy milk the other day when we were short on time. He saw a Minecraft toy in the (amazingly decent) toy section when we were there, and he wanted to go back and buy it with his money.
In all of the work he’s been doing at home, he’s had the option of choosing to earn money for each task, or screen time, and he has been choosing screen time. But he’s a good saver, and he still has quite a bit of birthday and past chore money left.
He is Minecraft crazy these days. He bought Minecraft books at the book fair, and he has a video game version. He wanted to buy an additional Minecraft figure to go with the one he got for his birthday.
He originally picked $10 to bring with us, but I told him that it would very likely be more than that, so he brought $20. I left it at that. (P.S. The figure in the picture is a Spawn Enderman. I’m still a little fuzzy on what he does, but he’s a troublemaker in the game.)
In the car on the way to the store, he said he wanted to get 2 things. I raised my eyebrows a bit, and hoped for the best price-wise…
The Toddler Task was easy to predict. I knew he would be going through the toys in the aisle, so his job was to reorganize the toys he got out before we left.
So we got to the store, and he was on the hunt for the Minecraft toy we saw a week ago. It was nowhere to be found. He was looking for the Zombie figure.
I told him he still had his $20 and we could come back and try again another time, or he could pick something else. I also said we could look online, but he would have to wait for it to come in the mail if we found it. He opted to look for something else.
He found two Star Wars light sabers. One was $10.49 and the other one didn’t have a price. So we checked with the store clerk and discovered it was $19.99.
He was excited because he thought he could get the one that looked to be more sturdy (the more expensive one.) But then I had to break his heart and tell him about that nasty 5 letter word (that should be a 4 letter word) that breaks all of our hearts. Taxes.
He said it wasn’t fair that we have to pay extra money than what it says it costs (I know, right??!)
It tugged on my heartstrings. I can easily pony up 1 or 2 more bucks to cover the taxes for him. But I refrained. I really want to drive the point home about spending within your means. So he kept looking.
Ta-da! He changed his mind about the other light saber because he found a Minecraft Creeper figure.
It was $9.99, so he found a winner! And since he had $20, he was bound and determined to find a second Minecraft thing.
I told him that he could just save what was left and that he didn’t have to spend it all, but he could not be swayed. So I let him try.
He spent the next several minutes searching and adding up totals and trying to stay under $20. It was adorable.
He was excited to find these Mystery boxes for $4.29
He saw all of the figures pictured on the box and thought he was getting a box full of mini-figures. But the dasher of dreams had to point out on the back of the box in very small print the phrase “Contains 1 figure.” And that we won’t know which one until we buy it.
He scoured the toy aisle for another alternative, but nothing he was into was less than $9.99, so he chose to gamble and picked one of the mystery boxes. His purchases cost $9.99 and $4.29, so he had a little over $4 left to save.
The toddler was very cooperative in putting the toy cars back into the display and was accepting of the fact that he didn’t get anything. (His birthday is in less than a week, and I told him he would be getting something then.) And he accepted it! I wanted to smother him in kisses!
So we got home, he played with the toys that he bought with his own money, and we all lived happily ever after. With a Spawn Enderman, a Creeper, and a mini Wither skeleton.
What I learned: Kids will live when they make do with what they have, and you will be proud when you refrain from rescuing them. And toddlers happily turn corners!
See all of the lessons in the School of Mom:
- Why We Did The School of Mom
- Loading the Dishwasher
- Dishes by Hand
- Grocery Shopping
- Learning to Shop on a Budget
- Laundry Sorting and Washing
- Laundry Drying and Folding
- Cleaning the Bathroom
- Sweeping the Floor
- What We All Learned during The School of Mom