Awhile ago Sarah expressed an interest to go back and visit China sooner rather than later. We had originally talked about going after high school was done but she seems to want to go in the more non-distant future to visit with her foster family, aunties and friends. And we want her to love her homeland and to be excited about a visit back. So we've started looking into options to see if it will be possible.
We put together a budget and are trying to watch our spending more closely. This has been a great learning tool as well as Sarah sat a bit while we were working on the budget. She asked some questions and we found a way to involve her more in our day to day running of the household.
Now, instead of a weekly allowance she receives a certain amount of money at the beginning of every month. She is responsible for selecting (with parental veto power!) and purchasing her own clothing, jewelry, makeup and fun items. Of course we buy all the household stuff, school stuff, pay for her cell phone, etc. And we buy the "essentials" as to clothing and shoes (coats, tennis shoes, undergarments, etc) but she buys the pants, shirts, sweaters, dresses, etc. If she decides, she can be happy with clothes and items she has and save all her money.
We thought this would be a good way to help her start now figuring out how to select items for herself regarding "wants" vs "needs" and how to compare items, shop for bargains, etc. She and I go "girl shopping" every Sunday and last Sunday we window shopped quite a bit, but she decided to keep all her money! She was such a good shopper looking at sales and figuring out percentages off prices, comparison shopping and list making. She made this Mama proud!
One of the first "budget conscious" things she did was to make her kitty a new toy. She had looked at a cute little cat play house at the pet store that cost $20. She came home, found a box, covered it with wrapping paper, hung a shiny paper ball inside and some ribbon down over one of the doors she cut into the side and put a big bow on top. Romeo loves it! She declared, "I just saved us $20!" She's so darn cute!!