PB+J Finances

One month down of super tightening of finances and my budgeting and – drum roll – our Visa bill this month was HALF. Less than half if you discount A’s volleyball registrations this month. Whew!

Which begs the question, what on earth was I spending money on before?

Of course I HAVE been living off PB+J’s for lunch for an entire month… OH, wait – groceries! – THAT’S what we’ve been missing!

What helped:
– fewer (but, yes, still many) trips to Starbucks
– bigger weekly grocery trips rather than daily smaller ones
– less eating out
– eating up some of the stock around the house that’s been in cupboards for-ev-er!
– no new shoes 😦 or boots 😦 *sigh*
– no Toys R Us! actually, no malls in general!
– less driving (it’s been “off season” for the girls sports for a month)

I’m takin’ those holidays if I have to eat PB+J for an entire year, man.

Maybe I’ll just mix it up with PB+B once in awhile…
(PB + Banana)


Another day, another dolla’

Tt loves toys. Partly because he’s completely spoiled rotten, and partly because he just loves toys (I was never spoiled rotten, and I still loooooove my toys, so I’m sure it’s not ALL linked to being spoiled). Anyhow, every time we go out now, he asks for a toy. My fault. Entirely. 1 monster, created by me. But, now that he pretty much has any toy that costs less than $10, he’s set his sights a bit higher. $40 higher, to be exact. Actually, it’s $50US , so… ya, anyhow.

BUT, I figure, what a great way to teach him about money, counting, saving, etc. We have the piggy bank all set up, so why not teach him how it works? So we briefly reviewed how when we get some money, these different variations of coins equal $1.00.


Then we talked about how out of each $1.00, some goes to “INVEST”, some goes to “SAVE”, some to “TITHE” and the rest for “SPEND” (about $0.60 on the dollar). He doesn’t really get it for now, but that’s ok. He does know that all my spare change goes into his various jars.
But, really, I just wanted to teach him patience, and the exchange of reward for work.


So, we instituted 2 things – allowance, and child labour. Allowance is now $5.00/week, and once he divides it all up, that’s about $3.00 in his pocket. He has to clean his room and toys for free, but he can help out around the house (cleaning all the tops of those baseboards with a wet rag was a great one) for some extra allowance. When he has a babysitter, he can make some money if I hear that he HELPED babysit his little brother (plus I get peace of mind that the sitter might possibly want to come back one day!). If he gets “gift” money, he can keep some in his “SPEND” jar.

And, OF COURSE, we set up a chart for him to follow and keep track. (I love charts like I love spreadsheets and lists…).


He’d been doing mostly great – even told a friend once that “I’m not buying a toy today because I’m saving my money”, so I offered him an extra boost ($50 is a long ways off for a $3.00 allowance, after all). I told him if he wrote (dictated) and drew out a story for me, I would pay him $1.00 “royalty” on every copy I made to give away as Christmas presents to family. He did such a fantastic job of creating a story about a Knight named King Arthur (how orginal) and a dragon named Filosoby, I added $10.00 just to his “SPEND” pot alone.

51yqxdfqoml_sl500_aa280_By the time he was just a few dollars away from his $50 goal, Hubby took him to buy his hard-earned treat (with one more allowance “owed”). I wasn’t there, but apparently Tt asked if it was “on sale”, and when it wasn’t, he chose a $10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy instead. Just as happy as a clam.


I’m not sure he got much out of the exercise, except that for just a few weeks he actually said “no” to new toys all by himself, and that now he actually has spending money in his piggy bank because he saved it. And of course his enabler mother bought him the Lego for Christmas.

We’ll try to do it all again later (counting, money responsibility, etc).
(and maybe next time we’ll explain US exchange and taxes/duty to him…).