Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two Birds with One Stone

Since school has begun all over the country, I thought I'd post one of our strategies for teaching my son responsibility and frugality all at once.

When he started kindergarten he started taking a lunch to school every day. At the beginning of the year I put the sandwich, fruit, and snack in their own separate baggies in his lunch. His lunch also included a juice box. Each day, he threw away the juice box (whether empty or not) and all of the empty baggies.

As the year progressed, I realized that this was a waste of money. I could send in a thermos of juice and he'd bring it home along with any juice he didn't drink. That worked well.

But, what to do about the baggies? So, I started asking him to bring the empties home. He balked at first saying, "Nobody else does that!" Then, I came up with a plan. I would pay him to bring them home. The first year we did this each item had it's own value which totaled about 9¢, the next year he was pretty much in the habit and we just averaged it out to 10¢. This made payment much easier.

This year, we've upped the responsibility. Bringing home his lunch materials now qualifies as a "Red Chore". When he does not do this job, he has to pay me the 10¢!

This is definitely working for us.
You can also find more frugal ideas at LifeAsMom.

7 comments:

Kelly @ The Miller Mix said...

Cool idea! I make our kiddo bring home his baggies when we use them, too. I graduated him up to plastic containers last year and that has worked well, too.

Paula @ Organizing Tips For Moms said...

What a great idea! I try to use reusable containers as much as possible, but they do disappear.

Sharon said...

Great ideas!

MissMeliss said...

great ideas! :)

Corrie at "Cents"able Momma said...

Interesting...my son just started full day kindergarten (he's only gone twice), and the first day I sent all baggies...and he didn't bring them home. I guess I just assumed that he'd do like I would :-). The second day, I sent some reusable containers and then prayed they'd make it home (they did). But, I did label all the containers to help if he left them somewhere. I'm sure tying the containers/baggies to money would help give him some motivation.

~Sara said...

Good idea having an incentive for him. I am trying to decide if I should switch to homemade lunches for my son or keep paying for school lunch. School lunch for us is $2 a day. I am sure I can make his lunch much cheaper than that.

UnfinishedMom said...

Sara,
School lunch costs about $2.00 here as well. I can make my son's lunch for about $0.50, sometimes less (even with an expensive fruit snack. Over the course of the year that's about $250.00. With two kids I save about $500.00 each year! Packing lunch is definitely worth the effort for me.

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