The Lego Earning Scheme

Ane has become quite the collector of Harry Potter LEGO sets.

This, of course, had everything to do with Christmas and her birthday being in quick succession.

Her LEGO Pottermania hit just in time, because when we visited the LEGO Store at Bellevue Square a couple of weeks ago (the only LEGO store in the state, by the way – you’d think there would be more of them!), we were told that the Harry Potter sets are in the process of being retired, since the movies have all come out and there won’t be any more big marketing pushes.

Still, there are a couple of sets that I knew that she would want.  And I was beginning to see which way the wind was blowing with these sets right before Christmas.  So… we have a couple of sets hiding in our closet at the moment, which she does not know about.

But then I had an idea.

When I was a little younger than Ane, but not by much, I desperately wanted the toy of the moment – a Cabbage Patch Doll.  Don’t laugh, it was the 80’s.

However, my parents set up a chart for me in the kitchen.  The Major had a similar one.  We both were receiving an allowance at the time, and we were saving up our money for our “goal” – the toy of our dreams.  For me, the Cabbage Patch Doll.  For the Major, it was an AT-AT.  We eventually saved enough money to buy our toys – I got mine first, since the Cabbage Patch Doll was cheaper than an AT-AT, and I had a bigger allowance because I was older.  But the Major finally went to a Toys ‘R Us in Portland, Oregon (no sales tax, which is why I also bought my doll in Oregon on a visit there), and plunked down the contents of his piggy bank for that AT-AT, which he still owns to this day.

And yes, I still have my doll.

So, I proposed to Ane that she start an earning chart.  If she can earn $80 (considering the rate of inflation and the size of the toy, this is probably not that far off from how far the Major had to go), then the Webmaster and I will pay for the rest… and she can buy the full Hogwarts Castle LEGO set.

(Which is already sitting in our closet because I was able to buy it for considerably cheaper – with a rain check sale price – than what it’s being sold for on the LEGO website.)

She liked the idea, so we’re going to do it.

This is good for both of us.  This is really going to reinforce to her the value of a dollar – something she has been discovering lately.  She got a lot of gift cards for her birthday, but has been surprisingly stingy about spending them.  She walked around the American Girl Doll store right after her birthday party, with gift cards burning a hole in her pocket… and declared that she was too overwhelmed to choose anything, so could she just go home and come back later?

It’s also going to help her with the concept of saving – not that she hasn’t done that before, but she’s never done it for something this BIG.  I really think every kid at about this age should be encouraged to save up for something big that they want.

This scheme is also going to help me… because I am not good at remembering to give Ane her allowance every week.  Granted, she has no problem spending MY money on things she wants. But then, when I say, “Fine, but it’s coming out of your allowance,” it doesn’t have any meaning to her, because that money was never in her hands in the first place.  It’s like I am Mom, the credit card with a limit.

Nope.  I need to be Mom, the ATM, that you have to withdraw from and see the cash in hand before you spend it.

I kind of wish we could do this with Tad, but he doesn’t earn an allowance yet because he doesn’t have any regular chores that he is expected to do around the house.  He helps to clean up and sweep every now and then, but Ane dusts, helps take out the garbage, watches Rerun for me while I am either taking Tad to or picking him up from the bus stop, and is supposed to keep her own room clean.  Plus she does earn extra money for extra jobs, like watching Rerun while we are working on a big project (like painting the house, for example), or for doing yard work or helping her Dad wash the cars.

If Ane gets really motivated, she could earn that set quicker than she thinks.

I guess we’re going to learn how motivated she really is.

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