My online grocery order was finally delivered yesterday and I have to say I am very impressed. Sure beats heaving mountains of carrier bags to and from the car, my shopping was put away in a fraction of the time! What I noticed most of all was the lack of impulse buys and unnecessary items, particularly for the boys. I used to estimate I would spend around $40 extra on magazines and little treats to keep them happy each time we trailed around the supermarket - the only treat they found in our online packages was a bottle of lemonade!
Not that I have a problem taking Liam shopping anywhere - my two children's spending habits are as far removed as can be. While Ali's money burns a hole in his wallet, I wouldn't be surprised if Liam had moths flying out of his! On our recent trip to Australia, Ali was madly buying souvenirs wherever he went - being the wildlife nut he is, within a few days he had acquired a new toy snake, a pelican, platypus and several types of penguin, his major fascination. By the time we were halfway through our trip, he was already well in pocket money overdraft and writing out IOU's to his parents. In contrast, Liam refused to buy anything whatsoever, keeping all his money for the one Playstation game he had saved his birthday money for, from three months before. Not available yet in NZ, he knew he could get it cheaper in Australia, and remembered to bring his EB Games coupon from a magazine from home, in order to obtain an even better bargain. 'We know which of those two will have all the money by the time they're 20!' pointed out Fiona at the time.
She's not wrong either. I print off the free Kids' Balance Sheets from the Simple Savings Payday Scheme and stick one for each child up on the fridge. It is a great way to monitor their progress and we have been doing this for many months now. Apart from his precious game, Liam put every cent of his birthday money in the bank and has done the same with any Christmas money he received, because at just nine years old, he is conscious that he is going to need a car one day and is determined to do as much as he can to make darn sure he gets one. The only problem now is Liam's frugal ways are coming back to bite me!
You see, both boys receive $5.00 pocket money each week, plus $2.00 from their Grandma. There are several small jobs that they have to do consistently to make sure it is paid and we write down their new balance every week on their Payday sheets. To be fair to Ali, he doesn't do too bad; he currently has $39 on his balance sheet. Each time he wants to buy something, we simply deduct the sum and write what the purchase was, so he can see where his money goes. Liam however is a different matter! Because he is so conscious of saving, he refuses to let me give him his pocket money, preferring me just to hang on to it so he can watch it mount up. For months and months he has saved everything he can get his hands on; as well as his pocket money he has also snaffled away money from the tooth fairy, bonuses for outstanding school reports, all the dollars he earned in rugby (he gets paid $1.00 per try), even coins retrieved from behind the washing machine. The grand total on his Payday chart as we speak is $277.65!
Don't ask me how I let it get that far. 'You've got to pay him!' gasped Noel when he saw the extent of our eldest son's savings. 'But he doesn't want me to, he wants to keep saving', I defended myself. 'Then put it in the bank for goodness sake! Otherwise we'll have to fork out enough for a car by the time he's 12!' Needless to say, from now on Liam will be forced to stash his money away a week at a time to avoid expensive scenarios like that again! No such danger of that for Ali - had he been allowed his way yesterday he would have come home from town with a fencing sword and mask, a plastic 'gripper' with a handle and a $50 musical penguin. Goodness knows how Liam learned to be such a miser, but I'm glad at least one of them has some restraint over their finances!