Friday, September 23, 2011

A morning with Mommy Dollars

We've settled into a comfortable routine with Mommy Dollars.  My boys have become both savers and spenders:  my older son has about $500 in his BoMama (Bank Of Mama) account, and the other has about $600.  Because the September MPR is 1.4%, this means the boys are liable to earn $7 to $8 dollars (that's U.S. dollars) for the month.

The main things the boys spend their money on nowadays are bedtime snacks, TV time, and late fees.  (Yesterday, while we were at the pet store, the beta fishes really tempted one son, though.)   But every once in a while, something new comes up.  On Tuesday, the boys started arguing over who gets to put the napkins on the table.

Oh, the napkins . . . (sigh).  Because we use personalized napkin rings, the person who puts the napkins on the table essentially decides where everyone sits.  This is a HUGE deal to my boys, so much so that when I first set up Mommy Dollars, I had a scheme where the boys rented a seat at the table for a week, just to stop arguments.  The system worked so well we've abandoned it . . . but obviously, it's time to reconsider.

At any rate, the boys were muttering to each other in low tones, hoping I couldn't hear the bickering.  Hah! Moms hear everything!  So I proposed an auction:  highest bidder gets to set the table.
  • Son 1 immediately says, "$10".  
  • Son 2 counters right away with "$20".  
  • Son 1 comes back with "$30".  
  • Son 2 now realizes something is wrong but says, "$50".  
  • Son 1 is now torn . . . on the one hand, he doesn't want to pay that much, but on the other hand he doesn't want to lose a contest, so he says, "$100".  
Son 1 "wins" the auction.  And then he chickens out, because he knows that the money in his account is earning him more money.  He's decided he'd rather be rich.  He says, "Actually, I don't want to put the napkins on the table.  You can do it, brother.  I need to save my money."

I could have enforced the auction, but I think the lesson was learned.  Still, we're going back to renting seats at the table starting right now.  Not coincidentally, the boys were 5 minutes late out the door, so they each paid a $5 fine.

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