piggy bank

So today we hear that the UK Purchasing Managers Index is down to its lowest level in seven years. So no-one is buying stuff. In the aftermath of Brexit. Am I surprised. Nah. The Chancellor is planning ‘something’ in his Autumn Budget statement. When he reviews fiscal policy.

The fiscal policy in our house has also come under scrutiny today. This is how the land lies.

I don’t give my kids pocket money. It is something we have never got round to ‘negotiating’. We provide them with all their needs. And in my opinion their wants are more than catered for. They have a lot of stuff. Too much stuff really. So to my mind they do not need pocket money to spend on sweets or whichever collecting cards are currently in favour. We have many sorts of these cards on bookshelves. Pokemon, YoGhiOh, Match Attacks etc. The get used for a few weeks in the playground and then they lie discarded on surfaces around my house. Causing a dusting hazard.

And anyway every birthday and Christmas they are usually in receipt of a fair amount of cash or vouchers. Party invitees slip tenners in envelopes. Family are generous.  Sometimes vouchers can be problematic but I will redeem them for stores they won’t use at face value. As long as it is a a store I would be buying stuff at in any event.

Youngest has just had her birthday. And is therefore in possession of a lot of cash. She spent some of it on shoes which were over my ‘ceiling price for a piece of footwear for an eight year old’ but still has quite a lot left.

Edlest had his birthday in January. An unfortunate incident with his phone (please see The Cost of Everything, The Value of Nothing if you need a recap) saw his cash stash all but wiped out.

Middlest’s birthday is in a little over a month. He was down to his last fiver.

On our shoe shopping spree a couple of days ago we nipped into a well known toy store for a browse. I had found some old vouchers and the kids wanted to spend them on water guns. Unfortunately the vouchers had gone out of date. So Eldest spent the last of his cash on a water pistol and Middlest spent his last fiver and wrote me an IOU for the remaining £10. It is taped to the fridge.

I considered allowing an IOU reasonable taking into account the short time frame until his birthday money comes in. Eldest asked for the same treatment. Err no I am not waiting until Christmas. Think again matey. He is not a good bet, lending wise. No collateral. My kids really need to learn that I used to bounce cheques and turn down car loans for a living…

Yesterday a series of events which I will not bore you with but which involved Pokémon Go, whining, and multiple warnings, culminated in me threatening to remove Eldest’s phone for a week. He claimed not to have understood the ultimatum. The other two heard it loud and clear though. He ended up phoneless. I don’t go back on my threats. Ever. It. is. Very. Bad. Parenting. To. Go. Back. On. One’s. Threats. If one goes back on one’s threats they then think they have won. I am the alpha here goddamit. It is a position I am keen to maintain at all costs.

He is so bored he has resorted to helping his sister with her colouring in and now fancies one of those adult colouring in books for himself. When I say adult I mean intricate not the other thing. Three pounds was the cheapest he could find. I asked him if he had three pounds with which to buy the book. No. No book then, sonny Jim.

I explained that I was happy for them to earn cash by doing chores. The going rate here is £2 per bathroom clean. It is a job I hate, they do it quite well, at least better than it not being done at all.

The boys hatched a plan to clean all three bathrooms and thereby glean £6. Youngest wasn’t having any of that and pulled rank to be allowed to clean her own en suite. I agreed even though she has no need of the £2. They set to.

The whole process was loud. Middlest donned his old school art apron to tackle their toilet. It is a full body PVC affair. With sleeves. When I asked if it was strictly necessary he reminded me that daddy uses that toilet. Fair enough then.

It took them about an hour. They did an ok job.

I doled out pound coins.

But not to Middlest. I merely reduced his IOU to £6. He wasn’t best pleased. And stormed off.

But fair’s fair. Three more bathrooms and we will be even.

It’s a harsh life lesson. But one I think it important to learn.