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How Our Boys Saved Up & Paid Cash for Their Own Kindles

We paid cash!A testimony from Stephanie at Mrs. Debtfighter

Everyone around my boys seemed to have a Kindle Fire — or their own electronic gadget. And every time they were around any of these people my boys would tell me how they wanted their own.

Finally, over the summer, my husband and I sat them down and had a talk with them. We told them they could have their own Kindles but that they would have to pay for the Kindles themselves.

We wanted them to know and understand that we aren’t just going to buy them something because they really want it. We also felt that they would take better care of them if they had to save up the money and pay.

After two months of hard work, here’s how they saved the money for their Kindles:

1. My oldest son saved birthday money — Granted, this made a huge dent in how much money HE had to save but he still had to give up receiving toys from family.

2. We sold the family iPod — Selling the iPod also made a big dent. My husband and I got the iPhone 4’s last year for $1 each when the iPhone 5 came out. The iPod pretty much became non-existent then so there was no point in hanging on to it.

3. We purged their closets and bookshelves — The boys went through their closets and found items that they did not like anymore and haven’t used in a long time. We listed the items on Craigslist and sold them $5-$15 each. We were able to do the same with books that they outgrew; selling them on Amazon $5-$15 each.

4. We waited for the better version to be on sale — When they began working towards their Kindles I decided to start researching them. The 8GB was $159 and the 16GB was $199. I knew to be able to put more apps and books on the Kindle, we would need the one with bigger memory. While they were saving, the 16GB went on sale for $159; however, they weren’t ready to buy yet. They finished saving the money and we had to wait for them to go on sale again. My older son asked why, and I explained to him that he would have to save $40 more if we didn’t wait. So, he got a little lesson in sales, too!

new kindles

The excitement and pride on their faces the day the Kindles arrived was priceless! They were so excited to tell their friends (they even shared how they had to sell things to pay for them)!

Stephanie is a mostly-stay-at-home-mom to two boys and wife to her best friend! She blogs about her debt-fighting journey at Mrs. Debtfighter.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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  • sona says:

    Love the life lessons:) Not having ANY of the techie things you mentioned, I remain confused as the differences between them. Example why does the Kindle hold more interest than an Ipod? I thought they were the latest and greatest. Was going to get one for husband, BUT if that isn’t useful… what do I do? 🙂

    • I am probably the worst person to be asking about the differences between gadgets!! 🙂 The reason WE got rid of our iPod is that my husband and I got the iPhones last year. In my mind, the only difference between the iPod and the iPhone, is the phone part. Our two boys would use our phones instead of the iPod. I like the Kindle versus the iPod because it has a much bigger screen. As far as getting one for your husband, I got one for my dad a few years back and he loved it!!! I think it all depends on what you think he would use it for.

      • Lacey says:

        I suggest if you aren’t gadget savvy, you start learning. Your kids will surpass you in a heartbeat and that can be dangerous. They will know how to do things your wouldn’t even think of just by other kids teaching them.

    • Erin says:

      Perhaps you are confusing iPad and Kindle? When it’s an option, most people tend to go for the iPad over the Kindle. . . .

      • Kim says:

        Not sure I agree that most people go for the iPad over the Kindle. I find most people who choose the iPad, do so mainly for the status symbol. Apple products seem to be very popular and chosen by many because they can say the have an Apple product. I personally chose the Kindle over the iPad because of the huge price difference. That being said, there are many other tablets on the market cheaper than the Kindle, however I also did a lot of research as I wanted a product that was going to work well and last a long time. So based on the research, Kindle and iPad were fairly equal except for price.

        • Lacey says:

          As a former non Apple interested, Kindle Fire Owner, I assure you that the ipad4 my husband bought me for Christmas last year totally beats the Kindle Fire he bought me the year before, I have not picked it up since and my kids have no interest in it at all either. They don’t own any tablets, but Just thought I’d mention it.

        • Linda says:

          I’ve had both. The iPad wins hands down. I don’t choose iPad for status but for dependability, ease of use, and the consistent updates. My friends who have made the Apple choice didn’t do it for status either.

  • That’s great! I was in Toys R Us Lego department earlier this week, and overheard a Mom reminding her young kids that they had saved up $20, and only $20, to spend on Legos. She reminded them of all the chores they had to do to earn that money. From what I could tell, it was a good lesson in hard work, math, and delayed gratification. It sounds like you’re doing something similar with older kids. Great work Mom!

  • julie egbert says:

    My son also saved up for a kindle. He sold his ipod to dad (who then sold it to little sister for a discount!). We have chickens and he sells eggs, so he saved that money and he saved birthday money. It took a long time, but he takes care of the kindle better than he would if I’d just gotten it for him.

  • Lisa says:

    Our kids (both teenagers) have to save their own money to buy their electronic gadgets. Our daughter does the laundry for $1 a load (wash, dry & fold) and our son mows lawns and house sits for friends. Its a slow process for them to save this way, but they sure do take care of their stuff once they’re able to make that purchase! We truly hope these life lessons will impact them for the rest of their lives !

  • Cori says:

    Our son had to save up for a Nintendo DS, and he definitely takes better care of it because of that.

    • YAY, glad to hear people responding that their child takes better care of the purchase if they have to buy it themselves! 🙂

      • Amanda says:

        I think it is great to have your children earn money to buy things. As soon as a started babysitting, I started buying clothes and things for myself. However, it didn’t matter if the toys, clothes or electronics were purchased by my parents or myself I treated/used them with care. My other three siblings were also always very particular about their things as well. My parents still have some of our toys, all in great condition. I asked my husband who was an only child and his parents pretty much bought him anything he wanted, said he also treated his toys and electronics with care. So, I think it depends. It is a great lesson for kids to earn things they want, but that doesn’t mean they treat their things better. Some kids, like myself, did that either way.

  • JoLayne says:

    My two boys, now 12 and 13, started at around age 8 buying their own electronics beginning with Nintendo DS and then the newer versions and even XBox game console (used). Now they have each bought their own laptops. One chose an economic model and one saved for a long time for a pricey MacBook. The oldest also saved for his smartphone when we would only by him a basic no-contract trac phone with very limited minutes. He also pays for his monthly service. When relatives ask what they want for birthdays and Chirstmas they usually say money and tell them what they are saving for. Even “Santa” brought mainly money wrapped creatively. They give up more smaller gifts in order save to get bigger ticket items. They also added in money done for extra jobs around the house or for neighbors or babysitting their little sister. They end up with better gadgets than their parents! We even went to Disney that way with our kids chipping in gift money. They were young but when anyone gave them money they would give it to us to “give to Mickey so we could visit.” I think they’ve learned to take ownership this way and they have a sense of pride that they bought it themselves.

  • Lindsey Swinborne says:

    Way to go! What an inspiring story Stephanie! Great parenting! I love my Kindle Fire that my folks got me for Christmas last year. It was the largest gift they’ve ever given me and I use it daily!

  • Elle says:

    My 3 and 6 year old do the same thing. They earn quarters for different things and we will go pick out a toy at the store, take a pic, and save up for it. When they get enough, they take their money jar and help the cashier count out the change 🙂

  • Tracy says:

    When my son was 7 he wanted a Nintendo 3DS so bad. I told him he would have to save up the money for it. He worked at extra chores plus his allowance. He also sold a lot of toys he no longer played with at a Garage Sale we had. One day when we went into Gamestop where we were going to end up purchasing the 3DS from one of the clerks we knew really well told us that they were going to stop taking DS’s towards trade in credit; we went home grabbed the DS and the money he had saved and went to buy the 3DS. The 3DS was also on sale at the lowest price I had seen in 6 months. So we found out that he was lacking about a years worth of allowance. We talked about what to do, and we made a deal I would loan him the money but in exchange he would not get an allowance for 1 year. He accepted the deal.

    He has had that Nintendo 3DS for almost 2 years now and it still looks brand new. He takes such good care of it. Now he is saving up for a Wii U and this time he knows I will not be giving him a loan. So he is really careful about saving up for it.

  • Dawn says:

    I did something similar when my kids wanted Ipods. My daughter makes and sells jewelry at craft shows with me and my son saved gift money and chore money to get his. We watched for sales and then purchased. I definately think they appreciate it more when they have to earn it. I know it’s hard in a world where alot of parents hand their kids Ipods, Iphones, Ipads, Xboxes and laptops like they are handing out candy.

    • I love that your daughter makes and sells jewelry!! I used to grumble as a teenager when I saw all the new things people at my school had but now as an adult I am SO thankful that my parents made me work for what I wanted rather than handing it to me! 🙂

  • Hi there! You cannot know how timely this is. My son is 8 and has been asking for a kindle. I’m still not sure if I think that age is old enough for a kindle, but many kids he knows have them. I knew I wasn’t going to just buy it for him – I don’t even have one! – but I felt like there must be a way to handle it. I have printed this and will read it to him. I’m also thinking of having him be allowed to save up for a larger purchase each year if there is something he wants. I have some questions if you don’t mind answering and will check back here to see: Did the kids use money they previously had or did they just raise new specifically for the kindle? Did you consider buying used?

  • Kim says:

    I must say that those lessons on saving will probably last them their whole life. I always had to save for those purchases growing up and I still do today. When I made the decision that I wanted the Kindle Fire, I could have easily gone out and bought one without thinking about it. I make enough money and am financially stable that spending the money would have been easy to do. However, I felt the Fire was a “luxury” item, not a need so I chose to save up money to buy it. And I didn’t want to save my normal pay to do it either. Instead I did surveys online for Amazon gift cards and also things like MyPoints and Swagbucks. Took me almost a year, but that was how I saved up for my Fire. Another advantage to doing it that way, price often comes down during the savings time period AND I can be sure I want it once I have the money as I’ve started saving for other things in the past and then realized later that I didn’t want it, need it or there was something better out there for the use I wanted the object for. No buyer’s remorse for me!

  • Linda says:

    You rock as parents!!! Great suggestions! America’s economic health would be so much better if more families did this!

  • Sandy Fowler says:

    What great lessons! We did the same thing with my daughter when she wanted a class ring. Some parents said yes and some said no but we told her she could have one if she paid for it, then helped her brainstorm ideas.

    First she considered what she really wanted in the ring and chose a less expensive metal. Then she asked for money toward her ring for her birthday. She looked at money we had set aside for other things like swim team, music lessons and her school yearbook. She weighed each one against the ring and chose to use the money we had set aside for a yearbook. She went out and got some lawn mowing jobs and use some of the spending money she had saved up.

    It was so great to see her evaluate her priorities and to realize that there’s more than one way to get something.

  • hannah says:

    that’s awesome! If all parents did this we’d have much fewer spoiled, entitled children.

  • Susan F. says:

    So glad to hear that other parents are doing what we did when our girl’s were young. We told them that if they wanted an expensive item they would have to work to earn at least half the money if not all the money. My girl’s are now 27 and 25 and both have a good sense of responsiblity. If we as parents don’t instill good morals in our children how can we expect them to grow up to be good parents to their children.

  • Vicki says:

    I love the Kindle. If you spend a lot of time reading, the screen is optimized for you. iPad (correct me if I’m wrong) uses a backlit screen, which is hard on your eyes. Dedicated readers like the Kindle are gentler on your eyes for spending extended periods of time reading. I won my first Kindle (a Keyboard Kindle) on a blog contest/giveaway. I recently also won a Kindle Paperwhite in another author contest/raffle. The author held the contest to promote her Kindle books, so for every review I wrote I received an entry into the raffle. It’s the second time I’ve won a Kindle in a blogger/author giveaway, so I recommend trying that, if you follow several blogs with smaller followings/fewer entrants. Lots of bloggers give away Kindles. I don’t know if there are as many iPad giveaways on the internet or not. I actually haven’t looked into it, but now that I think of it, maybe I will! 🙂

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