A testimony from Amy from Amy’s Peas and ThankYou
With the start of the new school year, my 9-year-old, Owen, wanted (and needed) new sneakers. This year was the first year he was brand specific — he wanted Nike Air Jordans, which are around $100 a pair.
My initial response was that designer sneakers are out of our budget and totally unnecessary. But then I thought maybe we could make this a learning experience, and Owen could have his pricey sneakers after all.
There are not a lot of ways a 9-year-old can earn money. He is too young and inexperienced to mow lawns or walk dogs, and a lemonade stand is a hard way to earn a buck.
However, Oregon is one of ten states that requires a refundable deposit for soda, beer, and water bottles, and I’ve noticed that most people let those sticky cans build up in their garages and dread the hassle of returning them. So we decided to offer to pick them up from our friends and family, giving them a cleaned out garage and Owen a chance to earn some money.
I posted a notice on my Facebook page stating that my son was working to earn money for his own shoes and if anyone had cans they had no interest in returning, we would gladly come get them. I was surprised how many people contacted us!
Over the course of one month, Owen and I picked up and returned cans from our friends and family. Owen would feed them into the machines and take his tickets inside to redeem. For a shy kid, I felt like he was learning his first lesson in thanking our friends and family and then conducting the transactions at the return centers.
By the end of one month Owen earned $161! He earned his shoes — but more importantly to me, he learned the sense of pride in earning your own way, the value of delayed gratification, and the hardest lesson for him: to actually save his money instead of trying to spend it on every trinket and piece of candy that caught his eye.
Owen is now busy saving for his own Kindle Fire!
Wife to one, Mama to two. Stay at home mom. Left behind an uninspired career in waitressing and retail management because my Dad was right and my Latin American Anthropology degree didn’t prepare me for a decent career. I blog my love of cooking (and eating) at Amy’s Peas and ThankYou.
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