The Buster received some Lego sets for Christmas from Grandma Iowa, and that was a reminder of how much he enjoyed putting lego sets together. The legos had been waiting quietly in the basement to be remembered.

He decided he wanted to purchase as many sets as he could with the allowance he had been saving since before Christmas. We settled in, warming ourselves around the hearth of the macintosh, and perused Amazon together. He picked three different Chima sets, and we waited for them to arrive.

Here are some shots of the clan working together to put them together.

A beautiful, sunny day with Legos.

Dad fakes interest for a minute…
Then gets sucked in by the Lego Magic.
Monkey eventually appears to take part.

Looking at these shots reminded me about how impressed I am with our crew about how they handle their allowance in general.

Zoe, as would be expected with the eldest, started the pattern, and the youngers have liked it so much they do it, too.

Allowance at our house follows a similar pattern to what Buds’ family did growing up: Each child has a notebook where allowance is recorded each week. Nonni has told me she thinks it may have been better to have actually given each child actual money to help with the connection process (We did talk about that, right, Nonni?), and I wonder about that sometimes, too, but Buds and I never carry cash, so it just doesn’t happen.

Each child receives $1/year of age, up to $10, and that is the max. Unless Monkey bargained us up to $12, which is a distinct possibility. (I’m out at Massadoah with just Gina, so I can’t confirm my facts with any members of the family.)

From that amount, 10% is set aside for donating, and 10% is set aside for long-term savings, for college, or classes of their choosing when they reach high school age, etc.

Note to children: Dad and I haven’t actually been keeping track of that “other” 20%, so we owe you each a couple million dollars by now.

Anywhoo, in general the money accumulates in their notebooks until one of them has an idea for how to spend it. Sometimes group think comes into play. Last week, they all decided they wanted to get a Club Penguin membership for one month.

If we do happen to go to Target, we figure up everyone’s allowance and they spend a pleasant 30 minutes wandering the aisles, picking what they would like to purchase.

What frequently also occurs at Target is that someone has amassed a large amount of saved allowance, and finds something s/he wants. It may or may not be the amount of money the child happens to have. The other kids also have found the items they’d like to purchase.

Then the bargaining begins. They barter and plan and work together until each of them has something they’d like to take home. Money is shared, toys are exchanged, dream castles are built.

Sometimes one of them, generally Monkey, will decide there just isn’t anything there worth spending her money on. All of them are of the internet age and know that a physical store offers a much smaller selection than the vast internet. Especially Monkey has discovered that the specialty items she prefers for Eva are best purchased through a virtual store, and she’s teaching this to Yessa and Buster.

Monkey’s other gifts to the youngers has been to show them the pleasure in gift-giving. She has lent and borrowed money for toy purchases many times, but she has also secretly purchased presents for them as we’ve wandered around Target. I’ve loved watching their delight when we get settled into the “5” for the drive home and Monkey presents them with their surprises.

The strongest lessons Buds and I are teaching about money are the unspoken ones that make up our day-to-day lives, but I love recognizing the lessons the children are teaching each other about money and finances and gifts.