Friday Fun with Food and Finances

Friday March 26, 2010


Wendy, my kindergartner, is a lunch bringer.   Her Dad packs her lunches most mornings, something I am eternally thankful for.  But she began to complain that she wanted a chance to buy her lunch at school occasionally, so we worked out a deal.

If she did a good job eating her lunch Mon – Thurs, we decided she could buy lunch on Fridays, typically pizza.  This has worked  pretty well for us – she makes more of a conscious effort to finish to eat everything in her lunch each day  (Mike is good about putting all kinds of healthy stuff in there), and she gets the reward of buying on Fridays.   Our school system participates in My School Bucks, so I was able to look online and review her spending.  Then I realized she was not only buying the pizza lunch for $2.50, but also purchasing ice cream for an additional $.90.

I wasn’t too thrilled about this, realizing she had carte blanche to buy a bunch of stuff that I’d rather her not have, so we worked out a deal.

If Wendy wants to buy a treat at school, the money for that is not to come out of our prepaid account, but out of her own “Spend Bank“.   This dovetails nicely with the money unit she’s been working with her class.  Friday mornings, she opens up her bank and counts out the amount of dimes and/or nickels that she needs.

I feel much happier about this because she’s learning that treats come at a cost and she’s the one sacrificing her own “fun money” to enjoy them.  At some point, she may feel like her money is too valuable and she’ll save it for other stuff.  At least, that’s the hope.  Or her “spend” bank will run dry and she’ll have to figure out another plan.

What’s your approach to lunch at school?

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One Response to Friday Fun with Food and Finances

  1. 1
    Nancy says:

    I am so impressed! I agree that taking lunches to school is the best way to control what they eat. Even though there have been some improvements to school lunches, they’re still not where they should be. (It’s a little mind-blowing to think a Kindergartner can buy ice cream at school.)

    We go to a Catholic school, where they have a hot lunch program, but you have to pre-pay at the start of school for all the meals. The lunches sound very healthy, but for now she takes her lunch to school each day.

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