After polling several of my friends, Chris and I decided on a new allowance program. Here's how it works: Every Sunday is payday, and ChellBell is given $9. That money is divided evenly into 3 jars, labeled Save, Spend, and Serve. Save is the money she will put away and hopefully help with college expenses one day. Spend is the money she gets to use for whatever she wants. On the last day of each quarter, Chris and I double anything ChellBell has in her Spend jar as a way to teach her that it pays to hang on to your money and wait until you can buy the big things. Serve is the money she uses to serve God and people. She can give this money to the church, use it to buy a coat to donate, etc -- she gets to decide how she wants to use it, with the understanding that it is used to make the world a better place.
ChellBell's school is having a food drive this week, which of course has been turned into a competition between the classes in each grade. ChellBell decided to take this week's Serve money and see how much she could buy with $3 to donate to the cause. What an educational, eye-opening shopping trip for her! Chell was of course motivated to get as many items as possible for the competition, but also so she could have more to donate to the Food Bank. So for $2.98, she was able to get 12 packages of chicken ramen, a can of green beans, and a can of corn. In contrast, while we were at the store, Chris called and asked us to get him a 12-pack of diet coke. That "sleeve" of soda set us back $4.38 -- $1.40 more than all of Chell's food!
When we got home after shopping, ChellBell wrote about her purchase in her Serve diary -- she is tracking everything she does with her Serve money over the course of the year. She wrote, "I spent $3 to help feed a family for 12 meals! Or 14 if they will eat corn and beans for a meal. But I wouldn't." (some things are more difficult to teach -- we'll keep working on the veggies!)