Thursday, July 17, 2014

Like Sands Through the Hourglass....

My, oh my. Things began to get good in the Brown house today.

     The ladies stayed the the night with Grandpa last night, which cost them $1.00. Dane said he was charging them for vacation time for staying at an all inclusive resort. He's so creative. Right now the girls really hate him, but I really love him.

     When they walked in this morning all bright and happy I gave them their list of things to do today to earn some money. One thing was I left every single dish that we dirtied yesterday and this morning on the counter for them. 1) I wanted them to have the opportunity to get some cash by doing a big job and B) because I made it a point to inform them that that is what it would look like all of the time if I never ever touched the dishes. I made sure to point out how much work that Dane and I both do around the house and we don't get paid for it because that's what you do, pick up after yourself and take on personal responsibility (that was last summers theme...they hate that phrase now). This whole thing caused a serious increase on the poutometer.

     Dane has slept about 5 hours in the last 48, so, after getting off at 7:30 this morning he is sleeping. The girls get free TV time today only. They were stoked. Then I told them that they had to clean their room first. This room looks like Justice just vomited in it (if you have little girls, you know what I'm talkin' about....that effing store). It's awful. Cue.....more pouting. Once they were in their room, Dane went in to collect rent (I didn't realize they were being charged $0.50 per day). They owe for Tuesday, Wednesday and today. So, lets make a little tally.....

Veronica took out a loan............$12.00
Owes me for lunch yesterday....$  1.60
Owes for rent ............................$  1.50

Gabby owed me for lunch and TV time yesterday so she paid me this morning.
She owes for rent $1.50
and her savings is dwindling fast.

     Veronica proceeded to giggle as Dane was telling them what they owed. At that point I informed them that this lesson was going to continue each week until their debts are paid in full Cue...silence.

     Dane asked them if they remembered what he had told them Monday when he was explaining to them why we were doing this. Neither one of them had anything to say. He repeated to them how their entitlement behavior the last week and weekend was unacceptable. He told them how many hours he has worked (and how he had an inmate throw urine on him on one shift) so that the girls and I could go to St. Louis with him over the weekend to have fun, and that all they did was complain and pout the entire weekend. He explained to them how much the house payment costs us each month (to which Gabby got wide eyed and said with panic in her voice, "I don't have that much money!") and that we were doing this on a much smaller scale for them to understand. He explained why we drive crappy cars; because they are paid off and we don't want to have debt. At that point a cat hacked up a hairball so I had to clean it up and get to work.

     I think with each passing day and by repeating the meaning behind what we are doing, they are finally getting it to sink in. I think they really hate me right now and I'm sure I'm the wicked stepmonster, but I hope that later on they will thank us. A friend posted on my Facebook that her parents did something similar to this when they were teenagers. Only on a bigger scale. They had to buy their clothes, hygiene products, everything. I really want to do that when they hit the teenage years. Believe me you, we won't be bailing them out when they grow up and neither will their mom and stepdad. I understand that a lot of parents want to give their children the things that they didn't have when they were growing up....I get it! I really do! BUT, I feel like that causes more harm then good. I'll spare you my soapbox...I digress....again....

Anyway, that's up to speed. We'll see how things go once I get home today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

First World Problems for Little Girls

So, a few folks asked about our little life lesson week we are having at the Brown house. Let me first start with what brought this whole thing on.

The girls are seriously good kids. For real. We get compliments all the time about how good they are. The problem lies at home with spending and this feeling of entitlement that they have. They don't understand that going out to eat, going to the zoo, all of the food they eat just because they're bored, etc. costs a lot of money. So, a couple of weeks ago Gabby told Dane, "I don't have to do my chores. I don't need money, you guys will just buy us everything anyway." He decided that they needed to learn a little life lesson about working for your own things and not living off of others. We are not the government here! We aren't giving out Obama phones! Let me also say that their mom is totally on board with our lesson as well....she is lovin' it.

Needless to say, Monday morning, when Dane told them what was going to happen this week there was a lot of butthurt. Here is what we are doing:

For every chore that they do, they get paid for it. We decide after everything is done, and done 100% to our satisfaction, what they will get paid. The first day, V did about 6 chores and earned $3.50. Gabby did about 5 and got $2.50.

We paid them and then we immediately took back $0.50 for rent for the week. They have each earned additional money by asking for more jobs above the chores they do (which is sweeping, cleaning their rooms, vacuuming, etc.) They also earned an extra $1.00 at the dentist office for being really good. They have to pay us $0.25 to watch an hour of TV....each. It costs to use electricity. If I have to repeat to them to turn off lights after they leave a room, it costs them $0.10. When we take them to the store, they have to chip in for gas if we were going there anyway...they pay us $0.25 each. If we don't need to go and they want or need to go, it costs them $0.50 each.

We drove the to the grocery store to get their groceries for the week. Gabby had some money saved so she dipped in to her savings and is supposedly going to pay herself back (she has a hard time wanting to do any work, so i'm doubting that). V, on the other hand, had no money. She took out a loan at The Bank of Dane for $10.00. She signed a promissory note to pay him back the $10.00 plus $2.00 interest by Sunday.

We let them buy what they wanted at the store. We guided them along by teaching them to compare costs and how much they are getting for their money. I was really surprised at how quickly they understood this concept and really utilized it. It KILLED me to let them buy processed junk for food!! My god. It is so sad that they could get a weeks worth of food for an average of $16.00 each and not one single thing is good for them. The best thing is the peanut butter and jelly....that's terrible. It's no wonder so many Americans are overweight. It's so much more affordable to buy food in a box....chemicals....not food. I digress....

Gabby got all of her food for about $18.00 and V got hers for about $14.00...they will run out, but that's besides the point. The food consisted of frozen dinners, peanut butter (we gave them the new jar I just bought) and jelly, bread, microwave mac and cheese, ravioli, everyone's favorite poor people food.....ramen, cereal bars, yogurt, ice cream, fruit snacks, applesauce and soup. All of those were the cheapest brands you could get. When we got home they wrote their names on their stuff so the other one won't eat it. Man are they gonna be ready for college life.

They loved doing their grocery shopping, but they HATE doing the work. I mean HATE. V has cried several times and Gabby says she quits. Today I stopped to grab lunch, I told them that I'd buy them lunch if they wanted, but they had to work it off...oooorrrr....they could not eat out at all. They both chose to work it off. As of today, Day 3, they both owe me $1.60 for lunch (it was $2.60 but they each gave me back the $1.00 they earned at the dentist), Gabby owes me $0.50 for TV this morning and V still owes Dane $12.00. Neither one of them has any money at the moment and at the mention of doing more work all I get is whining and attitude!

Come Sunday, they are going to have a real rude awakening when they realize that it's not over and that they have to keep doing this until they pay off their debt. Poor, mistreated little kids :)

We really hope that this shows them how much goes into what their Dad, Me, Mom and Stepdad do for them. We don't want them to think that someone is always going to take care of them. They have to be able to take care of themselves. Now, of course we would never let them starve!...we'd let them borrow more money! We want them to understand how money works. They need to know what it's like when you borrow money and don't pay it back. I never learned that. Dane never learned that. I sure wish that I had!

My personal hopes is that they remember this forever and what it teaches them. My family didn't have any money when I was growing up. When I started working I appreciated every single dollar. These two don't really have that problem. We can all afford to go do fun things and for them to have cute clothes etc. In my opinion, not having the cute clothes or cool shoes or not being able to go do all of the cool things the other kids are doing is what really builds character and makes you appreciate things that much more. I really want them to be grounded and well rounded ladies when they grow up. If they were to turn into "Mean Girls" their mom and I would both knock them down from that little platform real quick!!

Anyway, that's what we have going on here this week. I'll keep you updated as the week progresses. They are staying the night with Grandpa tonight so I can have some sanity recovery time. They are so happy because they don't have to eat the food that they bought tonight...or pay for any TV time!

I'm sure some people would disagree with what we are doing, but I frankly just don't give a shit. We know what kind of women we want these girls to grow up to be. That being said, save your criticisms because we really just don't care. I promise you, we don't tell other people how to raise their kids. I wrote this because some of you asked what the details were so you could give it a here it is!

I'm sure I've forgotten something, so if you have any questions, please just ask!