Problem 1: My kids (Theresa and Paul) always complain about the dinners I cook.
Problem 2: My kids have a poorly formed understanding of money.
Problem 3: My kids are looking for ways to assert their independence.
Problem 4: Our bank claims that we need to be better about budgeting — and eat out less.
Enter the best idea I’ve ever had in my entire life:
Solution, Part 1: Give the kids an allowance. Not like a huge allowance or anything. Let’s say $5/week.
Solution, Part 2: Take the kids grocery shopping every week. Go with a shopping list and a meal plan that takes every night of the week into account. Have the kids help find all the items on the list.
Solution, Part 3: Have the kids decide whether they want to use their allowance to buy food to replace any meals that they don’t want to eat. For example, if I’m making eggplant parmesan (which they’ve decided is awful for some reason, in spite of it being one of Wendy’s and my favorites) and they decide they don’t want it, they can get a box of mac and cheese or whatever they want — as long as they can buy it themselves. They can even have their own grocery cart and go through the line on their own. The catch, of course, is that $5 won’t buy meals for every night of the week.
After the novelty of buying their own meals wears off, they might even decide they want to use their allowance for something other than avoiding eggplant parmesan! Maybe they’ll decide they want to save up for a new game or something … and just buckle down and eat the eggplant parm, thus learning an important life lesson about making tough choices now for a future benefit.
So, what am I missing? What have I forgotten that makes this a bad plan?