My husband and I married last April and along with getting him for the rest of my life, I also became a step-mom to his daughters—Violet, 11 and Samantha, 8. They have been a part of my life for three and a half years now and I’m learning as I go how to be a mom and provide for them. They are amazing girls—great students, good manners, very helpful, and only occasionally bicker and fight like all siblings do.
One thing that Jake (my hubby) and I take advantage of whenever we can, is teaching the girls life lessons—homework time, putting clothes in the hamper if they want them washed, and turning off their bedroom lights when not in the room are some of the most recent. We recently had the opportunity to show how spending money works.
The girls were gifted money and gift cards for Christmas and birthdays from family and friends. We asked them how they wanted to use it and gave them ideas—an event, a family trip somewhere, or go shopping. It was eventually decided we would go to the mall and Toys R Us to find things they could purchase.
We asked them to gather up their money and cards and they were in charge of it—each girl toting a purse. We would allow them to purchase anything they wanted (within reason). We started at Justice, and I instantly saw a difference in the two girls shopping styles. Violet looked at the price before trying on anything and realized her money wasn’t going to go as far as she wanted. Samantha took a while to figure out what she liked and how this was all going to work. After about thirty minutes of browsing and staring and more glitter than my husband ever wanted to be around, I asked them both to select a few things and start trying them on and we would worry about the prices later.
When they were done trying everything on, I explained the prices to each girl separately. Violet had the hardest time deciding on what she wanted, because she wanted it all, but luckily had a gift card so she knew she had to at least spend that. Once decisions were made, each girl went to check out with their dad and learned the checkout process, handing money/cards to the clerk, sales tax, and getting their pink bag of goodies.
Side note, Violet was actually gifted two gift cards to Justice for her birthday—we asked her to put them somewhere safe. While getting ready to go shopping, she could only locate one of the two. After a few minutes of everyone looking, the assumption was made that it was most likely thrown out with the gift bag. We found another $5 gift card to Barnes and Noble in all places, her garbage can. She didn’t know how that got there but it was definitely a lesson on the importance of keeping things tidy. She handled losing the gift card surprisingly well.
After the shopping experience at the mall, we headed over to Toys R Us (RIP). Violet went right for the makeup and fake nails—Samantha loves toys and craft kits. Again, we gave the girls about twenty minutes to look and then asked them to make final decisions. When I saw everything that Violet wanted to buy, we did some quick math (relying on Violet to tell us how much each item cost) and figured she would be close but it should be covered. Upon checking out, she overspent (by $20), and we made her put some back instead of chipping in to show how far her money could go. She thought all nail kits were the same price, and unfortunately they weren’t. Samantha decided to save some of her money and only buy one craft kit.
On the car ride home, both girls instantly asked how or when they could earn money and when we could do this again. As a parent, this was a total win-win. With us being in a split household, it’s hard for us to do a standard chore chart as we only have them half the time. Neither has a birthday for a while, so we made some suggestions of things they can do around the house to help us and asked that they keep a list in their iPads of everything they have done. Then after two weeks, their dad and I would sit down and assess what they have earned. The girls now understand that things cost money, and money needs to be earned (or gifted) in order to be spent.
The girls are very happy with their purchases and it took no time for me to be in demand helping with the craft kit and fake nails. I think the girls are more appreciative of these items because they bought them with their own money.
Contribution by Sarah Appleton of FunFoodWaukesha
Hi! I’m Sarah, 36, and have lived in Waukesha for the past 10 years. My husband and I bought a home and got married in the same month last year—it was a crazy time, but when you find your forever home, you have to jump on it. (And what a way to start our new life together). My husband has two daughters, Violet is 11 and Samantha is 8 and they live with us half the time. The newest addition to our household is our pup, Letty, who just turned 1. She keeps us on our toes, stealing socks at every chance, but also gets us outside for walks and playtime. Becoming an insta-mom has brought its challenges but also many amazing experiences and I’m loving every minute of it. I love Waukesha and have my own blog about my experiences in the area. When I’m not out and about in the city, I’m enjoying time with my friends grilling out, drinking wine, and playing games—Uno is one of our faves. Or I’m in my kitchen trying new recipes or recreating ones I have had at local restaurants. FoodFunWaukesha Facebook // Instagram // Blog