So, vacation has come to an end and we are back in reality again. The trek to and from Navarre, Florida with our crew of 8 plus 2 grandparents was quite adventure filled with great memories and lots of much needed sunshine.
In a recent article, The Anxiety Free Vacation, I shared our plan for staying within our budget.
The $100 Plan was simple:
-Each child will receive $100 when we pull out of the driveway
-Each child is responsible for budgeting their $100 for the week
-Mom will grocery shop for all meals plus extras to be cooked/eaten in the condo
-Beginning the minute we pull out of the driveway, they are responsible for all meals out, souvenirs, sodas, junk food, snacks for the road etc.
-We will eat at nicer restaurants 3 times during the week
When our girls began trying to manipulate the plan, we added the following stipulations:
#1 They may not take any of their own money
#2 Any money not spent by the end of the week is to be given back to the parentals
#3 If they run out of money, they are out of luck. That means they will be eating in the condo for the remainder of the week and/or packing sandwiches for the drive home.
I am pleased to tell you the vacation and THE $100 PLAN was a HUGE success.
As soon as we pulled out of the driveway and handed $100 to each of our kids, their eyes lit up. The game was on. I have to admit, micromanaging their purchases and keeping my control freak trap closed was tough. When one of the girls ordered a $6 meal at McD’s on the first day, my heart palps kicked in as I envisioned her broke by day 3. The kids hit the gas station and to my great surprise, they made very wise purchases.
I saw a transformation begin to take place before my eyes with all of my girls. They avoided the high priced junk and normal, thoughtless indulgences and looked for bargains.
I took my five girls to Waffle House for dinner the first night while the hubs opted for the BBQ joint with the grandparents and our son. I listened to the conversations amongst my teens and they carefully planned out how much they wanted to spend and detailed what they were saving their money for later in the week. The server overheard their conversation about whether they should get water to save money and she directed them toward the $5 menu which included a soft drink. They all got so excited. Then our 7-year-old daughter announced for all to hear that she wasn’t spending $5 on anything because that was way too much. She opted for a waffle and water and made sure to tell the waitress that their soda was too much money for her to spend. Day 1 was a success.
The week continued on very much like that first night at that Alabama Waffle House. The wisdom they displayed really blew my mind. Of course, Ramen and soda was a staple for them that week after they raided the Dollar Tree. They had lunch together at the pier next to our resort, but it amazed me how frugal they became when they were empowered to act like adults.
When we went out to dinner, the kids each got their own bills. They chose to share meals and appetizers and still had a marvelous time.
The only cheating that took place was by Mamaw and Papaw. It was hard for them to accept “The $100 Plan” and not spoil the kids. I have to admit, they did pretty well too, but when the girls would choose not to eat at a restaurant, they felt guilty and offered to pay. The girls had plenty of money to pay for their own meals; they just chose to save for what they really wanted to do later in the week. I urged Mam and Pap to let the girls make their own choices because this was a great learning experience for them. In the end, I think they saw the value as well.
We did offer to pay for ½ of a special event for each child that week. I took 3 of the teens to Panama City for a Dolphin and Snorkeling Cruise. The $22 Groupon was too great to pass up. Three girls chose to go, knowing they would have to pay for half. One chose to stay at the condo with Pop because she wasn’t really into it and wanted to save her money. It was WELL WORTH the money as the girls and I had a blast. Then we took our youngest daughter to the Gulf Breeze Zoo and she had to pay for half of her admission ticket. Again, well worth the expense as we had a ball and made great memories.
By the end of the week, Our 7 year old had $40 left, so she opted to buy a Hide-a-Pet stuffed animal and the teen girls had between $.08 and $3 remaining and because they did such a great job, we let them keep the remaining money 😉
As far as Mom and Dad were concerned, we ate at restaurants quite a few times and felt no stress or anxiety about over spending.
The girls made numerous comments throughout the week such as:
“I never realized how much money you and Pop spend when we go out to dinner.”
“If all of us ordered a soda at this restaurant, it would be over $20.”
“Budgeting for myself really makes me think about everything I buy and I have to plan ahead.”
“This really made me think about how much money I spend on stuff I don’t even care about.”
“It was awesome getting to buy whatever we wanted.”
The girls LOVED being able to budget their money for the week and are eager to go on our next trip so they can do this all again. When we asked if they wanted to budget their own money for every trip, there was a resounding, “YES!”
Happy Kids. Happy Parents. A fabulous and stress-free vacation.
Thank a Foster Parent HERE
Thank a DCS Professional HERE