Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 1-It all started.....

with me curled up in my favorite spot on the couch, under my blanket, drinking my coffee, and reading an interesting post from one of my favorite bloggers and childhood friend, Mary.  

You friend, Mary, (who happens to have ten children that she home-schools) posted recently about a very interesting project that she and her husband came up with to better prepare their teenage children for the real world.  You should go and read it!!!

She and her husband gave their older children $20 and they were to plan, shop and prepare all of their meals for one week, (with the obvious knowledge that she would not allow them to starve).

I found it to be very interesting, so I was reading all about typical fashion, Destin was curled up next to me on the couch trying to wake up.  But when I began reading and scrolling caught his eye too.  One thing led to another, and before I knew it, all of the kids were looking over my shoulder to read about how her teens were going to survive on $20 for the week, and all of them thought it would be so cool to try to do! 

So in talking it over with Darwin...he jumped on the bandwagon and said, "I'll tell you what....if they're serious....since groceries are higher here...I'll give them $40 and they can do it too." 

(Now let me just interject right here and say that the cost of groceries in Idaho seems to be considerably less than here in Alabama.  And....given the amount of time that my kids are at school, there had to be some consideration given to that.  They simply do not have the same time as if they were homeschooled, to do money saving things such as make homemade bread, etc., but they will still learn some valuable real life lessons, I'm sure.)

Well....who knew???  Who knew that not one, but all three of my children still left here at home would be so eager to try to do this on their own?  EVEN Jack...who is only 9. 

So last week....the boys sat down and began list making....amidst a table set for dinner and a pre-dinner snack of carrots and hummus.  (And please forgive the quality of these pictures....they are taken from my phone.)

(Notice the washcloths for napkins? :-) Another great money saving tip from Mary!)

And there's a handy dandy app for your iPhone that you can get....the Wal-Mart app.  You can look up prices on many items!! 

Listening in on the conversation was priceless, as they thought about different things they could buy.  $40 seemed like SO much money to them.... 

I was so impressed with all of them for wanting to do this, but was especially surprised at Destin....just being 12....and having such a good, common sense approach and plan for his week.

(And yes....I know his handwriting needs improvement, but I have found that boys find that less important than girls do, and in the broad scheme of things....who cares...this is just a grocery list!)

Now bear in mind that this is just a rough idea of prices.  Estimations mostly and a general plan of making a pot of beef stew to eat off of for the week and grilling chicken. :-)  ( I had my concerns, but that worked itself out on.)

So after feeling like his list was complete.....we sat down together, and he calculated how much it looked like this was going to cost...based on the estimations. 

$56.00 !!!!  He just couldn't believe it.  He said, "Man!  I thought for sure I was gonna' have some money left over!!"  (Dontcha' just love when they see the reality of life!!)

So he immediately had to begin scratching things off the list and decided that even buying chicken legs from me at $2.50 (half a pack that I found marked down recently), might need to go.  He decided that grilling chicken and zucchini wasn't necessary and that he could live off of the stew. 

Well....a few scratches here and there off the list, and a couple of add-back-to-the-list items, and we were headed to the to find the best bargain....with little brother Jack to make sure that he knew that "Great Value brands are just as good, Destin!" (smile)

Destin even managed to find a local ad for Wal-Mart to match so that he could afford some Doritos!!  My only stipulation was that they had to have a fruit and vegetable included in their purchases....but one bag of Doritos I could handle ;-) 
Now all we had to do was make a couple more stops (yes...Wal-Mart is a one-stop shopping experience, but I don't like to buy their meat, and Sam's has a better price on milk)

I don't think he did so bad for a first time shopper.  I let him purchase things like a stick of butter from me for .60 so he wouldn't have to buy a whole pound, and a pound of rice from me for .40 since I buy it in bulk from Sam's. 

The reality of how ridiculously over priced cereal is really hit him.  He was originally planning on a fried egg for his breakfasts, but then decided he wanted the convenience of something faster.  He searched the cereal aisle for what seemed like FOREVER looking for a decent cereal that wasn't completely laden with sugar....for less than $2.00....and he finally found some Great Value Raisin Bran for $1.97.

The receipts are shown below, and then he paid me for the groceries he bought from me as opposed to buying in bulk from the store. 

And I would say this list has been in and out of a 12 year old boy's pocket a time or two, but you can see on the right where he figures up what he owes me.  The total for all of his groceries came to $37.76 and he has $2.24 leftover for anything unexpected this week.
Wonder what he'll spend it on???  Time will tell....I'll keep you posted....but for now, he's got a mean batch of stew in the crock pot that he started before he left for school this morning. 

I'm just sayin'.


  1. That is so cool!! Can't wait to try that w/my youngest when she's a little older. :)

  2. Classic.. :) Enjoyed reading about that. Miss you guys.

    1. Well as a college freshman, I would say you're probably living this out in real life!!! I'll bet you can relate to how little $40 will actually buy!!! Miss you too!

  3. Love this Leah! You always inspire me. Love you and miss scrapbooking with you. Thanks for blogging this! Can't wait to read 'the rest of the story.'

  4. are so sweet...and I miss you too!! You should check out She has posted the updates from her children who did it!!! I was SO inspired after reading it!! The greatest thing has been how excited the kids have been to do it!!!

  5. That is AWESOME! I'd like to try this with my 14 year old son.

  6. Days 1-5 on the blog, and now the end of the week is in his own words:)