Lunch Money

You give a kid 3 bucks to buy lunch at school. You find out that he has used one of those dollars to pay back a one dollar loan he got off one of his brothers. You call him on it, he says that the lunch money is the only money he gets (no allowance), and 2 dollars is more than enough to buy a good lunch.

Is he well within his rights to spend his lunch money as he sees fit, or should he have been upfront about needing 2 bucks for lunch and one buck to pay back a loan?

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  1. tesyaa says:

    Upfront. Come on.

  2. batya from NJ says:

    “honesty is the best policy”!

  3. R' Daniel says:

    Just give the kid the extra dollar. No need to be anal. Children need love.

  4. I would just let it go. (And I’m a big believer in allowance. Kids need some money that they can spend any way they want.)

  5. batya from NJ says:

    me again, i should add that although i said honestly is the best policy, i don’t think it was such a crime that your son used the other $1 to repay the loan. in the future though perhaps he should let you know if he needs to extra $1 & hopefully you will be able to give it to him so he won’t need to resort to sneaky behavior in the future-not that i’m calling your kid a sneaky kid but hopefully you know what i mean…
    at my house i have instituted a reward chart where each child will get a smiley worth $1 for overall good behavior each day but if they fight with each other, bicker & i feel that they just don’t deserve it, they get a frown instead. sometimes though, several frowns per day cancel out smileys from other days but i usually just use the extra frowns as a threat b/c i don’t like to take away from the smiley’s/$1 that they have earned. this way, i feel that i am giving my kids a little budget (similar to an allowance) but instead it is based on their behavior (rather than just giving it to them w/o expecting proper behavior in exchange for their reward). i also will give extra smileys for extra special behaviors such as several good grades on tests, a phone call/note from the teacher praising my child’s good behavior etc..this system is working in my house but i realize it may not be feasible for every budget although i’m sure it could be adjusted to 50 cents per day or whatever is affordable that will work as an incentive for the kids…

  6. ui, ui says:

    You could make a “lunch included allowance”

  7. Rachel Ann says:

    I guess a lot would depend on how I gave the money. If I gave him the money and he had to give back whatever money was left over, then yes, he should have been up front. BUT if you weren’t counting pennies at the end of the day, then he was just saving money and I would think the money would be his. (Though he should have been up front with you…)

    Are you able to give an allowance? I think it is good for kids to have money to spend (and save). Also extra chores to earn some extra money.

  8. HSaboMilner says:

    I wish I could give them an allowance. Unfortunately it is not in the budget. Generally they have what they need, they get to buy lunch once a week, and if there is anything extra they need or want, they ask, and we work out some chores to do to help earn it etc. or they wait for birthdays.

    just out of curiosity – how much do people give as an allowance? Talking about boys of 14, 13, 12 and 7.

  9. Leslie says:

    At our foster home, we give our girls (no matter what age, and we get girls between 12 and 18) allowance on a sliding scale depending on how good they are doing on our behavior system. That can be anywhere from $4-7 per week.

    However, that whole $4-7 never goes directly into their hands. For a child just coming to our home, who has not yet had a chance to earn up to a higher level, they get $2 in their hands and $2 in a special “savings account” so that they will have some money when they leave us. Most of our girls get $3 in their hands and $3 in that account per week, and they do just fine with it.

    Of course, that doesn’t include lunches or personal care items — we provide all that. But for pocket money, they seem to do OK.

  10. RubyV says:

    Look at it this way – it is a lesson in money management. He’ll figure out pretty quickly that if he isn’t careful, he won’t have a decent lunch. Hunger is a great motivator.

  11. My parents used to give $2 allowance per week, but eventually, they got lazy and stopped paying me and my brother. So we kept a ledger, and we’d say, “Mom, can you please buy me an X? You owe me $200 allowance anyway.” Yes, we kept a ledger of what our parents owed us – that’s what you get for having children with above-average IQs. :P

    Actually, it was my brother who kept the ledger. He always was the scheming one who gave my parents problems. :P My mother has kept track of which grey hairs are attributable to which son, and most of them are due to my brother. Although I personally have to my credit the time when I was seven years old, when I tricked several psychologists into believing I was suicidal. I told them I would seal myself into a room and seal all the air passages until I ran out of oxygen. Remember, I was seven years old.

    Eventually, we stopped keeping a ledger altogether, and would just ask for stuff stam (impossible to translate).

    But my brother and I weren’t the sort to constantly ask for expensive things, which is how it was possible for our parents to buy us everything we asked for. Mostly, we asked for the occasional computer game, and that was it. Nowadays, I’ve been recently spending a ton of my mother’s money, but it’s easy to convince her to buy me everything I ask her, when all I ask her for is books. It’s amazing how easy it is to convince your mother to buy you $150 worth of books about Cochini Jewry. :P It’s like the episode of King of the Hill when Hank (the father) says to his friend, “Bobbie [Hank's son] sneaked out last night and broke his curfew … … … to attend a Bible club. How do you respond to that?”.

  12. Rifki says:

    Our allowance policy is that it kicks in when you lose your first tooth, around the age of six and in grade 1. We start them out with 10 NIS a week, with 5 NIS, having to be put into savings. They may make deposits into ‘their accounts’ whenever they want, BUT during the first year, they may not make any withdrawls whatsoever. Then, on their birthday, they count up their savings and WHEN they calculate the 10% interest owing to them correctly, then they get it said sum. Every year, thereafter, they are very careful with how they spend their money. This has proven to be a very useful lesson in managing their own finances. It has worked very well throughout their elementary school years, and since they are getting older, they are encouraged to figure out where their spending money goes, and must approach us with a plan if they would like a raise. This is always done at birthday time, as it seems to go hand-in-hand with growing up and being more responsible. FYI, allowance is supposed to cover birthday presents for friends and relatives, occasional treats from the store (read: junk that your parents won’t actually buy), and things that you’d like to get for yourself (toys or the like). Our oldest is now past his bar mitzvah and can make good decisions about what to spend his money on and how much to pay for things, even though the numbers have grown tremendously. It is very comforting to know that we have helped him learn through his mistakes at a very young age, when the consequences weren’t too crucial!

  13. Otir says:

    I think it should not been seen as a “crime” or a bad thing that he didn’t tell upfront – I haven’t read all the comments but got some cross-reading impression that it was what was implied in saying that he should be given a slack about the issue. I think it is important to teach our kids how to deal with money, because no one really teaches that in a healthy way at school, on the contrary, they are bombarded with advertisement on what they should *get* never how they can actually earn those stuff.

    In adult life, if I am given a scholarship, I am supposed to use it for its purpose. Well, it should be the same for lunch money. If he decides to use the lunch money in a very conservative way, the spare money can go to tsedaka, feeding the poor, or helping the family to complete the food budget, that is how I see it.

    My children don’t have an allowance, because I do not have a budget for it, and it would never match the “standards” of where we live anyway, so it would lead to more trouble than otherwise.

    One of my sons is not asking for an allowance, but he still has needs for things that cost, and that he damages (like earphones, mouse for his computer, cd roms). He needs to “work” for them (he is 14 and has autism, working for them is within showing a certain amount of good behaviors that deserve rewarding).

    His sibling does chore and earns money. This money he can use exactly as he likes; he does not like doing chores, and he earns very little. Sometimes, he wants something so badly that all of a sudden he becomes very helpful around the house!

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