Parenting: One mom implements her own Halloween candy 'buy back' plan
photo by flickr user Jeremy Brooks
Instead of freaking out as I have mentioned in a previous post, I thought I would take on this candy problem in a different way.
After a week of many candy meltdowns (pun intended), one resulting in a full stomach emptying vomit, I announced that I was buying back my kids' Halloween candy. With large, ridiculously sad eyes (resembling Precious Moments figurines), my kids looked up at me in surprise.
"You are taking our candy away, mommy? What are you going to do with it?"
"I am going to throw it away. However, I will pay each of you $25 for it and take you to Target to spend it. You may not buy candy with it."
Though they seemed sad, they were plucky as we piled into our car and drove over to the store. It was then that I decided to introduce their first lesson in tax law.
I said, "By the way, you can only spend $23, because of sales tax. The government takes some of the money when we spend money, and since I am giving you each $25, we have to allow for that."
Let the first lesson begin! My oldest shouts, "That's not fair! I don't like our government! Why do they take away money?" I simply reminded him that our government needs to have money to make laws and keep us safe.
To that he replied, "Why don't we get to spend like the government does?" I didn't answer that because I wanted to say,
So, into Target we went. I let each kid have his or her own cart so that I would hopefully avoid fights and also keep their loot separate. It was amazing to watch them try to reason out what they could spend money on and make priorities. Here were some of my favorite quotes, with my thoughts in parentheses....
"I want walkie talkies!" (Sorry, they are $50.)
"Really? I can buy this for only $1?" (Yup, the dollar section is awesome!)
"I want a Christmas tree headband!" (Okee dokee...)
"I want to put these markers back. I am getting the squishy!" (This is as my youngest picks the skull shaped gumball dispenser with squishy characters. Random doesn't begin to describe this toy...)
"I want a spycam so that I can catch people stealing stuff in my room!" (How can he tell anything is missing? I can't see the floor!)
After the kids picked their stuff, we checked out and headed home. The whole trip was fun, light-hearted and very educational! Since our outing, I haven't heard a peep about the candy. They love their new stuff, and I no longer have to hear them beg for sweets.
Yes, $25 seems like a lot of money, but they ran around for hours collecting it on Halloween, so I figured that I would give them a good rate of return. It was a lesson learned in taxes and opportunity cost. Plus, it made me feel less like a mean mommy, at least for now...
Did anyone else buy back their kids' candy? How did your adventure in finance go?