A suitcase of souvenirs
Updated: Aug 4, 2019
When we first started our family's allowance system, we had a limited vision of the Saving pocket - the kids would think of something they wanted, save for it, and then purchase it with their own money.
However, we soon realized that having kids save their own spending money for family vacations got us really excited as parents. We could stop dreading the endless souvenir shops and the constant sing song of “can I have this? How about this?” They could save their own money, and it was up to them to manage what they purchased. It was amazing that when it was their money on the line, all those things that they just had to have now didn’t make the cut. Don't get me wrong - there was still some great teachable moments. They would buy a toy that we all know would break within the hour and then be upset when they didn’t have enough money to buy something else. Or when they learned that five dollars really couldn’t get them much in a store. But overall, it's made our family trips so much more enjoyable for everyone!
We give our kids a heads up several months in advance, so that they have sufficient time to save (I mean, two week heads up before a theme park is hardly fair). And for good behavior, we may still kick in for one souvenir from us. But for the most part, they get to decide how important it is, whether they want to wait to see what else there is or how it compares to other things they're saving for back home.
Oh, and one last hint. If your kids have had a lot of time to save, be conscious of the extra suitcase room they may need for the treasures they plan to acquire. While they may start to understand the meaning of a dollar, getting them to understand airline baggage costs is a whole other beast.