The Strategic Kid on Snack Money


The Strategic Kid on Snack Money

24 Sep, 2014
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So for the past few years I have told my four school aged children that during the school year, if they are good all week long, I will give them snack money on Fridays. I would send them in with $1 each and never think about it again. It worked great or so I thought. But as the months passed it was harder and harder for me to actually have the cash since 1. I am always broke and 2. I never actually carry cash (because of number 1!). I would find myself scrambling to get to a store before school to buy something just so I could get four single dollar bills. What had become of me? Now I was spending money to well, spend money.  This was not good.

But then summer came and I did not have to think about it. Oh how I love summer! Except for the fact that I have ALL of my kids at home with me 24/7. Let me not digress though. :) Then it was blissfully August and all of the school paperwork started coming in. I got a note about how we could charge snacks. I think we were always able to do it but this was the first time I remember reading it and mulling it over. I liked this idea a lot. I would no longer have to spend money in order to get cash for snack money and I would no longer have to worry about having cash on me. Brilliant!

So the first Friday of school came and I informed the children they could “charge” their snack. They understood immediately, even the 4 year old, because kids nowadays seem to be a lot more in tune to these things than us adults. Go kids! So for the younger ones I had to fill out a piece of paper of what they wanted. The price was next to it and all of the sudden it began: I felt butterflies in my overstretched tummy, my face lite afire, and I was full on blushing. $.25, $.50 – OMG I am rich. I am saving money. Go me! Go!!! I kissed my brain and then I hit my head because what was I thinking the past 3 years?! Anyhoo, that first Friday was fantastic!

Then Monday came and I was unpacking my 6 year old son’s lunchbox and I saw something I hadn’t put in there: cookies. “Anthony, where did you get cookies?” I asked, to which he replied, “I charged it, Mom. It’s great, now I can charge whatever I want each day! Thanks Mom! This new system is GREAT.” GULP. OMG. My plan foiled. I immediately was overcome with a vision of dollar bills going down the toilet. “Nooooooooooooooo! You can’t do that!” I said and then I went into great detail about why he could not do that. He understood. WHEW. Thank you God for making Anthony put his leftover cookies in his lunchbox. THANK YOU!

At this point I was thinking to myself: Backpedal! Retreat! So I decided to revert back to the old plan. That was the safest route to take, right? So Friday comes and, as I tear up a bit, there I go handing out the cash. I ship the kiddos off to school and that was it until the following Monday. On that Monday I was cleaning out my 5 year old daughter’s lunchbox and what do you think happened? I find leftover snacks in her box that I had not given to her. “Maria, where did you get this?” I nervously asked, to which she replied, “I got it with the leftover money from Friday.” I take a moment to myself and ensure that I haven’t begun drinking and/or there is not something wrong with my brain. Nope, not yet. But I may need Chardy now because what just happened? So I asked her to explain to me in detail what she meant. “Well, on Friday I bought one snack and I had leftover money so I put it in the front of my backpack and I used it today.” All of the sudden the world completely stopped and I realized that I, queen of all-time sneakiness, had just been outwitted by my children! How did this come to be?  And the worse thought came after those thoughts which was: THEY ARE NOT EVEN TEENAGERS YET. I cursed to myself privately and quietly and then went for the Chardy. After all, it was five o’clock somehere. :)

Fast forward a few weeks and my eldest child and son who is 8 years old begins to talk to me about how he wants to buy minecraft for the computer. He has decided that he is going to take the dollar I give him every Friday for snack and he is going to skip the snack and save up money until he has $25 to buy minecraft. Why did I have to make such smart people, why oh why?!

Moral of the story: stick with giving only 4 year olds snack money because they clearly aren’t old enough to figure out how to buck the system just yet.

God bless,


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