Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A BIG Goal Reached

Kyler has wanted a Nintendo DS since he entered our home three years ago. Unfortunately for him, I have never purchased one of these gaming units for my kids, nor will I. Undeterred, I have seen this "gift idea" show up on birthday and Christmas lists, all to no avail.

A year ago I suggested he start saving for one. I talked about moving from simply wanting something to doing something to get it. This did not appeal to him. Then he received a twenty dollar gift card to Target for his birthday. I suggested instead of running to Target to see what he could spend it on (his idea) he should start a "DS Envelope" in his budget plan. We got on-line to check out the cost of a DS, this seemed exciting and daunting to him at the same time.

A little reluctantly, he created an envelope and put the gift card in that envelope. Each month when he receives his budget he delegates income to his "Tithe", "Savings", "Spending" and "DS" envelopes. Saving for this item over the past nine months has been an exercise in staying power and delayed gratification. This was especially true when he told the neighbor boys what he was saving for and they each offered to sell him their old devices, which Kyler then wanted to purchase.....he just wanted the DS now.

Seven months into the savings plan, he had almost all the money he needed when he scratched one of my tables in the living room...on purpose...to be destructive. This type of destruction has been an ongoing problem, so I needed to figure out a new consequence. I told him since the table was a recent purchase, he would take his DS money and go to Target (he is so lucky I bought that little table there!) and buy me a new table without scratches. OUCH. That rather hurt. (which means it was an AWESOME consequence).

Added to the table set-back, Kyler also has a history of paying a lot of fines to me at the end of the month. Each time this happens I remind him he has control over these fines and if I were him, I'd rather see the money go in my envelopes instead of my mom's wallet. The last two months he has indeed been fine-free and has enjoyed the benefit of being able to keep his entire monthly budget.

Yesterday was the first of the month - budget day at our house - and he finally, after nine months, had enough money to purchase the Nintendo DS (+tax...oh the realities of purchases). It was kind of exciting driving to Target with all that cash in his hand and hopefully a sense of accomplishment in his heart. When we got home, he was very excited and had it open within seconds!

He has to have learned much through this process, I am hoping he picked up on these big ones:
  • He has control over his "wants".
  • He can achieve BIG goals over the long term.
  • A little becomes a lot over a period of time.
  • Waiting to get what he really wanted was worth it.
  • Pride in himself for accomplishing this goal.
Its hard to say what he will pull out of this experience, he still doesn't share a lot of his feelings, but I do feel this was a priceless lesson, and I am so proud of him.

Click here to read about how we teach our kids to manage money.


  1. I'm proud of Kyler - those are awesome lessons to learn at a young age and can prevent big mistakes later. Many of our government leaders could benefit from learning those same principles.


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