Jessie: A Trip to Walmart and Spending Her Allowance

Yall, there’s just so much good stuff to be learned by earning an allowance and then going through the process of making decisions about what to buy with your money. The entire process from start to finish is so full of learning opportunities.  Yes, about money, but honestly so much more too.

If you’ve missed my other posts on allowance, I’ve talked about what my other 2 kids learned from earning an allowance and how allowance has specifically benefited Jessie, who has Down syndrome.

On this particular day, we were out running errands mostly for her brother, Evan. I knew we would be going to Wal-Mart (he needed new work pants) so I told her she should bring her wallet, just in case she found something she wanted.

We don’t always take her wallet so that she won’t have to keep up with a purse, but I had a feeling she would want to see if Wal-Mart had any new wrestling diva (the girls) action figures since the last time we had been.  Well, they didn’t have any divas that she didn’t already own, but boy did she hit the Barbie section hard today.

Jessie earns $5 a week and usually saves it for a good while before she goes shopping. Today, she also had a Wal-Mart gift card (we had not remembered how much was on it till check out) for $15.

I used to be more cautionary about Jessie spending a lot of her money at one time but I’ve seen for a while now that she really knows what she is willing to spend her own money on.  I can’t remember a purchase she’s made with her own money that she has regretted. She’s happy to spend MY money on things that she wants in the moment, but she is only willing to spend HER money on something she really wants. This is one of the biggest learning benefits of allowance (decision-making) and it eliminates so much waste or the guilty feeling I have when she wants things I can’t or won’t buy for her.

Today, even though the dream house has a small closet, Jessie bought this separate closet. She is currently obsessed with the organization of Barbie’s clothes and shoes. For her birthday she had gotten a washer/dryer/ironing board set for Barbie.

The last few times that I’ve organized her closet Jessie has been in on the process.  Maybe that’s one reason she is obsessed with Barbie’s clothes organization!

For a while Jessie had stopped playing Barbie’s. Until she started collecting wrestling diva action figures, Barbies had been the only toys Jessie has played with in several years  When she moved into a larger room when her sister got married, she told me she didn’t want to move the Barbie house to the new room; she only wanted grown up things in her “teenager room”. She used to tell me regularly, “I’m a teenager now”,  but she has recently taken to telling me she’s an adult.

When she moved into the new room I went against her wishes and moved her Barbie stuff in with her.  There were a few tears about that.  We had a LOT of money invested in Barbies with the dream house, a camper and SO many accessories that I had just wanted to be sure she was done before I got rid of it all.  I’m glad I did because shortly thereafter she started really enjoying her Barbies again.

Jessie bought FOUR new Barbies! She told me she needed a new Ken doll, that she only has 1 right now. She always appreciates a man in a tuxedo so I was pretty sure he was coming home with us.  She chose the two girls based on their pretty colors of dyed hair.

While on the Barbie aisle I had counted her money and determined she had enough but that this would use almost all of her money. She said was fine with that.

If your kid is younger or doesn’t seem at all to understand the concept of when they have enough money or don’t for a particular item, take heart! I’m still doing the math of it, but through practice Jessie takes it like a champ now when she doesn’t have enough money. She’s getting better and better about knowing if she would rather choose something less expensive or save for a specific item. It takes lots of practice!

We went through the self checkout and Jessie scanned all of her own items. I talked her though the payment process and she used her gift card first.  Then, I counted in front of her the cash she needed (I had already organized her $ in her wallet with like bills together so it would be easy to count. I hope to teach her to do that herself one day.). Then she put the cash in the machine bill by bill (she had 10 or more ones).

I can remember when this would have been a completely stressful event for the both of us.  She has learned SO much through the experience of earning and spending her own money.

Talking through and making the decisions of what she wanted to purchase would have been confusing and frustrating for the both of us.  Just like with everything else, decision-making gets easier with practice.  Not that it always is, but today was completely painless for me and entirely fun for her.  A win-win.

She was so excited to come home and open all her new goodies!

Till next week friends,


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