|Alan Cleaver's photos on flickr|
This is not the first time we have loaned money to our kids. Our older son went on this same field trip when he was in sixth grade and he repaid the money. Our daughter borrowed money for some of her school trips and paid her loans back over time as well. However, this is the first time I have blogged about it and publicly discussed it. The blogging comments were all positive, but I did get some questions and raised eyebrows from friends and family. I even got the question, "Are you really going to make him pay you back? He's just 12." Ummm....yes. We worked out a plan and he agreed to it.
The results of our loan arrangement:
- He loved the trip. He is still talking about how fabulous it was. I have asked him several times if it was worth $300 and the answer is always, "YES!"
- He hasn't asked us to forget about the loan. He hasn't whined or complained having to pay us back. I think that helping him create a plan ahead of time has been critical. He knew what he was getting into and helped design the repayment plan.
- He is honoring his commitment. He has paid off $250 of the debt in the past three months and only has $50 left until he is debt free. His goal is to have it paid off by July 1st. Where has he gotten the money?
- Allowance: He gets $5 per week and has used every bit of it toward his debt.
- Birthday: He asked for money instead of presents. Again, it was his choice.
- Extra jobs: He asks for extra jobs around the house to earn money. He has washed cars and steam cleaned the dining room chairs.
- Hidden money: He has cleaned out his desk drawers and under his bed looking for quarters and dimes that are hiding. He has become much more careful about taking care of his cash.
- He has learned that he does not like debt. We were in Target several weeks ago and he told me that being in debt was no fun. He went on to say that he doesn't like feeling like he owes somebody and that looking at the new toys was boring because "what good does it do when I know I can't buy anything because I have no money." He also mentioned that he hates seeing the negative sign next to his account balance.
|from halseike's photos on flickr|
The interesting thing is that I offered to let him keep some of his birthday money and allowance money so that he would have some cash. He didn't want to do that. He wants this loan to be over and done!
The Orlando field trip has been a wonderful learning experience for him. He went on the "coolest field trip ever", has learned about budgeting and loan repayment and has developed confidence that he can accomplish big goals.
Have you ever loaned money to your child? What was your experience like?