Wednesday, October 6, 2010
So as most of you know, my husband is in grad school. And being as though we'd already paid off all of our school debt, we really were not interested in anymore. We basically figured out that we could barely pay his tuition out of pocket if we were really careful and diligent. Too bad we pay out of state tuition since he attends Texas A & M online. Bummer. It just makes things that much tighter. Then we added Isaac attending school. Even though he goes to a very, very affordable school, it still adds up. But anyway, you get my drift.
So we sat down to look at it all before the new school year started and just shook our heads. Every single dime and penny was accounted for. At least we could pay for everything but we had absolutely no wiggle room. Between saving, giving, tuition and all of our bills, there was not a single dollar left. Now before you start thinking you should feel sorry for me, please don't. That's not the point. We're no strangers to this type of lifestyle. In fact, we lived it for many years while we were married and still attending college. We kinda laughed as we realized that we just had to go back to the same ole same ole again and simply tighten up. So tighten up we did. We fixed some areas of our budget that were bleeding and things started to settle a bit.
But we still didn't have any spending money. No money to eat out (which we don't do often but like to every once in awhile), no money for a Starbucks coffee here and there, no money for gifts or really anything unless we wanted to spend our savings. It was all accounted for. What were we to do? I had to think of something I could do to make us some spending money that wouldn't take that much extra effort on my part. Then I remembered what I had attempted for awhile when Caleb was a baby-The Cookie Stand. I actually didn't do it for long because I was too overwhelmed with two small babies. You probably are laughing as I say that it's easier for me to pull it off now with four small children but really, it is. I'm a lot better at my job now than I was three years ago and the two little ones were tiring for me- but I'm digressing. Back to the cookie stand.
So about six weeks ago we started selling cookies and brownies to the students after school once a week. It has totally taken off. I can't believe it. Every week we're selling out. And most days we have lines. We're also starting to get regulars. It doesn't take me too much time to make all of the yummy treats and the older boys help me sell them. They're actually the selling points. Isaac is quite good at marketing...he asks everyone that comes by if they want a cookie. And Caleb reminds everyone that they "only need just one dollar." They're also learning some life skills about how to deal with customers, etc...It's been great.
Yet, one of the best things that's come out of this little business is that we've used the opportunity to start teaching them about money and working. They each get paid every time they work. And part of their training is learning to put some money away for tithe, some for savings and the rest can go toward spending. It's been interesting to see how they handle it.
A couple of weeks ago we let them bring their money to Target to spend. They each wanted 100 piece puzzles. Before you think they're totally nerdy, both my boys are puzzle kids. It's just in their blood. And both of them can do the big puzzles. Caleb keeps Isaac on his toes. Ha ha! So they each got one. It was so funny because after they spent their money (that they'd saved up for a few weeks at that point), they panicked that their money was gone so quickly. Isaac said, "Mom! We're not supposed to spend it all at one store!" And Caleb responded, "Yes! We're supposed to keep our money!" It was a great opportunity to talk about how money can be spent so easily and how once it's gone-it's gone.
Don't laugh at my outfit here. I'm doing well to even be dressed on some days. And I just love that skirt! I just probably shouldn't be wearing a sweatshirt with it but what can I say? I have no fashion sense whatsoever. I was given that skirt by a friend who also gave me a brown one as well. I wear it all the time. And about the sweatshirt, in my book, Cal Poly sweatshirts go with anything!! So I have no shame.
This is what's left. We sell after school and after all of the sports practices get out. There's not too much left for the football players. Awwwww...too bad. You snooze you lose! Ha ha. So as you can see, it's a very simple little business. But it's helping to keep us afloat while the hubby gets his Master's in Math so that we can still enjoy some extras every once in awhile. And it's been fun to work with the boys. It's also been fun to interact with the students and get to know them a little bit. All around, it's been a really great experience.
I look forward to seeing how God uses this little stand in our family and in the lives of the students we interact with. Because there's just nothing like a homemade brownie to make someone feel special. And if it help us out too by teaching the boys about money and by giving us some spending money, then I say everybody wins. You know, as Michael Scott put it, "It's a win, win, win!" And that, my folks, is just splendid.