Earlier in the year our 11 year old son (10 at the time), told us he wanted to save up for a Nintendo Switch game console and some games. This was the first time he had ever expressed an interest in saving up for a large item; beforehand as soon as he received his weekly allowance he would want to spend it on as we put it “cheap plastic crap”. So this was a big step for him.
We sat down with him and came up with a plan. The game system was $300, and games are typically $50 to $60. Therefore he would need to save up around $400 to get it. His current allowance is $5.50 a week. Once he had done the math on that he was very disheartened as it would take nearly 2 years.
Clearly this was not going to be acceptable. So the first thing we told him is that we could consider the system a partial family item and that it could also form part of his Christmas present for 2018. Originally we said we could contribute more but that he would receive nothing for Christmas this year. That option didn’t go down well.
So after a bit of negotiating we were now down to him needing to save $200. Still a year’s worth of work.
The next step was to go through his room and find a bunch of old toys that he didn’t want anymore. This served two purposes, firstly he could sell for cash and secondly it freed up a bunch of space. Historically he has been the sort of kid that never wants to get rid of anything.
After going through this process he raised $100. Leaving him $100 to go. Much more manageable but to a child, 6 months more saving was still a long way to go.
The next step was also quite mature for him, recognizing that he has a tendency to spend money, he asked for his allowance to be put straight an envelope with the other raised money so that he didn’t spend it as soon as he got it.
We then tried to encourage him to do more chores for which he would be paid. This didn’t go as well as hoped. Some of the chores like watering the garden for $1 were okay, but some others really didn’t meet with success!
Anyway, after a few months of diligent work, last week he reached his goal and he is now happily spending a parent-approved amount of time playing new games.
This was a great lesson for him in how to reach a goal. He is also much more thoughtful on what he wants to spend his money on and is already thinking about his next large purchase.