This week my husband and I took off from work to be home with our younger two children for Spring Break. We are not flying to Florida for Disney, nor are we going to a beach house for the week. I wanted to make it a fun week for the kids but decided $200.00 was the max I could spend on Spring Break "fun". The kids had mentioned that they wanted to go to the Baltimore Aquarium ($104.00 for four tickets, not to mention the gas to get there). They also wanted to go to the Science Museum ($56.00 for four tickets, not including the IMAX movie amount). That was $200.00 for one day!
So, I decided to try a technique that I learned from a book I just read, All Your Worth. There was a story about a divorced Dad who only saw his two boys every other weekend. He was literally going broke because he was spending hundreds of dollars in entertainment spending on the boys, trying desperately to "make up for the time not with them". He was deep in debt, but worked out a plan to still be able to have some fun. The next weekend he had his boys, he showed them 12 $10.00 bills. He told them that that was all he had to spend for the weekend. They would be able to decide how to spend it. The boys thought this was a lot of money and were careful how they used it. Bottomline, they had a great time and Dad stayed out of debt.
I did the same thing with my kids, and it worked perfectly!! I told them we had $200.00 for the week. It was up to them on how to spend it. When I told them how much the trip would be to Baltimore, they decided that the Smithsonians in downtown DC were the better deal. (Free). They want to fly kites on the mall (DC) and bring a picnic lunch. (Free) They also would like to go out to eat one night during the week. By giving them the choice and having them figure out how to spend the money, the pressure is off of me. I have already budgeted the money. And they know that when the money is gone, it is gone. It will be a totally CASH week.
They are feeling empowered, I'm feeling relaxed. It's going to be a good week. :)