Time to Exhale: The True Joy of Giving and an App You Must Get Right Now

I just need to tell you . . . I’m barely keeping my head above water around here.

I know we’re all crazy-busy right now so in no way am I trying to one-up anyone but for crying out loud . . . Enough already.

Jason had ACL surgery two weeks ago and is still recovering and I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia last Monday. Good times for the Snapp family. (Yes, sarcasm present.)

I share this because I’m not around as much this week and I’m wanting to respond to comments, etc. but I’m running out of hours at the end of the day and I’m tired. I need some sleep.

So forgive me if I’m a bit sporadic next week . . . And of course, I’ll be taking my annual two weeks off at Christmas because I want to just be. I don’t want to have to be anywhere at a certain time or have to say “hurry up!” even once to my children while they’re out of school. I also want to watch movies after they go to sleep or lose myself in the amazing Divergent series that I just can’t put down.

It’s rejuvenation. And while you know how much I despise the word “should” I’m going to say it now – you should do it, too.

Now exhale.

This past weekend, I spent two days with four of my sorority sisters from college. It was so wonderful to pick-up where we left 0ff – I haven’t seen some of them in years and we didn’t skip a beat.

Not to mention the fact that when you get five mothers together, you get a wealth of information.

Like good toys for boys (because seriously, I am not of that gender and sometimes I just don’t get it.)

Beauty products. How to create wavy hair.

Apps to make your life just a bit easier.

Yes, we did have deeper conversations than this but I also love learning from other mom’s because let’s not kid ourselves – like Hillary or not, it really does take a village to raise our kids.

So.

Do you struggle with the whole chore/allowance thing like I do?

I’ve been hammering this out for a few years and I haven’t yet found a system I like until recently. I’ll share more about what’s working in the chore world at a later date but I need to share this app with you because I’ve used it for two days now and I love it. As a mom, I know you will as well.

This year, I told the kids they needed to use their own money to purchase Christmas gifts for one another. They’re old enough to feel the act of giving but I’m not sure they can fully feel how awesome it is to earn money and use it to buy gifts for someone else until they’ve done it.

They’re invested because they sacrificed. They could have used the money on themselves and not purchased gifts for the other two siblings but they knew they wanted to give.

That’s the first step.

The second step is doing the shopping so they CAN give.

So back to the whole app thing . . .

One thing that’s always driven me crazy about allowances, etc. is the managing of the money. I don’t always have dollar bills or quarters. Oftentimes on payday, I found myself without cash and it was a letdown – then consistency slipped.

Over the dinner table last weekend, my friend Etta shared the Buckaroo app with me.

Oh, friends. Angels sang. This is a cash-less allowance and spending system that’s so easy.

Here’s how it works:

1. Download Buckaroo from the App Store.

2. It’s super self-explanatory on how to add your children. Here’s what it will look like when you’ve added them all:

buckaroo 1

3. When you are adding them, you can pick 1) what day of the week you want their allowance to be added, 2) if you want to allow them to accumulate interest (we set ours to 5% as a way to teach them about interest AND to encourage them to save) and 3) set a savings goal (this is optional – so if they’re saving for say, an iPod mini, it will keep track of their progress towards that goal.)

4. Sarah and I went Christmas shopping yesterday. Here’s what her spending looked like when we were finished:

buckaroo 2

So she started with $85.00 and when she bought something for her brothers, I subtracted it. I am the one paying for it out of my debit card but it’s her money – this way, all I have to do when she earns money (as she did with that $2.00 charge from last night) is simply click that little plus sign on the bottom and add it.

I don’t actually have to give her the money right then and there. Genius, I say. Genius.

Not to mention Sarah was beyond-thrilled and took great ownership knowing she was purchasing gifts for her brothers with her very own money. We even got a lesson in paying attention to deals and coupons because she wanted to get Spencer an Imaginext toy and they were buy one, get one half off at Meijer. We discovered this while standing in Target so we promptly jetted over to Meijer and she was amazed by how much more she could purchase simply by paying attention to sales – another valuable life lesson, no?

So since I’m all about us helping each other and serving as one another’s village, there you are. It’s awesome.

And no, I’m not getting paid to tell you how much I love this app. That’s how much I love it.

Now exhale.