Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Shopping Surprise

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a few opportunities to take Joshua shopping for clothes.
And I didn't cringe with every passing moment.
I didn't get frustrated.
Didn't agonize over looking for one.more.thing.
Why, I didn't even wish to be done - just for the sake of being done.

In fact, I think it's safe to say, I enjoyed taking him shopping.

There was a day - not too long ago - when I would never have thought I'd make a statement like the one above!

You see, my past experiences shopping with Joshua have been anything but enjoyable. We disagree on an amount to spend on a particular item. I think something should be good enough, and Joshua says it isn't. So we argue, both thinking we're right and the other is completely wrong, and I just wish the shopping experience would be over. (Pretty sure Joshua feels the same way in those moments.)
We usually end up getting one item and leave the store frustrated. And when Joshua asks me to take him shopping for something else in another week or two, I think, We just went shopping! How could you need more already?

So this time, we took a different approach.

We had Joshua make a list of everything he needs for the rest of the season. I looked at the list with him and gave him a dollar amount for each item, which I would be willing to spend on such an item. We added the numbers, and came up with his budget.
I explained to Joshua that he could use the money however he wanted. If he chose to spend $40 on an item for which we budgeted $20 - so be it. But that would be less money to spend on something else. Conversely, if he was able to find sales - which brought him under budget for an item - he could end up getting more clothing than he planned.
It was up to him. I wasn't going to say NO to any item he wanted. It was his budget, and he could use it however he wished. BUT, this budget was the only money he was getting. Period.

So we shopped. And, honestly? I never expected it to go as well as it did. My son rose to the occasion. He took ownership of the decisions, paid attention to prices, valued them - even, and seemed to understand the benefit of looking for sales.
At one store he was trying on jeans and when we were talking about a buying decision, Joshua admitted he didn't like them A LOT. They were just OK. I told him I only buy something which is just OK if the price is AWESOME. And that's all I said. Joshua realized these jeans were a few dollars over the budgeted price and chose to pass them up. (Found an under-budget pair which he actually liked at the next store!)

In the end, Joshua got all the clothing items he wanted (plus a couple extra) and had $8 left from the original amount we said he could have. So I gave him $8 cash and told him he could use it however he wishes.

I love happy endings.

Have you found a new way to do something which has been troublesome in the past?



Kaira said...

This is such a great idea, Karen. And, you are totally teaching him to be a gift to his future wife by teaching him the value of budgeting! Woo Hoo - Mom of the Year! :)

Karen Hossink said...

Kaira - Thanks. I do want to bless his future wife, you know. :)