We recently set up an online game budget form for our kids and it has helped reduce the amount of family drama around here so much.
One of my kids always wanted to spend their money on in game purchases for online games like Fortnite, RoBlox, and Minecraft.
To be fair, this child didn’t ask to spend mom and dad’s money. This child had money. However, this child was always asking to spend money.
“Mom? Can I buy Robux?”
“Mom? Can I buy V-bucks? Please, please, please?”
“Mom? Can I buy them now? Now? How about now?”
As a parent you know they would blow through their life savings (or yours) in a month on in game purchases, so you can’t say yes every time.
But when I said yes or no was tricky because there didn’t feel like a rhyme or reason for my response. Just a gut feel of whether or not it had been enough time.
I get why my kid was frustrated with my wishy washy responses.
Finally, I set him up with an online game budget.
I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out. Budgeting is part of Life Skills 101. Plus, my kids function much better when they know the rules or expectations for any given thing.
To set up my kiddo’s online game budget, we first discussed what a budget is. In this case, a framework and ground rules for which this child can spend money on in game purchases.
Then my kiddo counted all the money he had been saving and we discussed what would be a reasonable amount to spend each month.
I had this child do the math (he’s 10, so it was pretty easy for him) of if he started with X number of dollars and every month reduced that by a certain amount, he would have X amount of dollars at the end of a year.
We also discussed how his savings would grow with birthday or Christmas money. Our kids do not get an allowance, but sometimes they earn extra money for doing tasks above and beyond what is normally expected of them.
We also discussed that in real life unexpected things come up and it is nice to have some wiggle room in your budget, if possible.
Here’s the kicker. By talking about actual numbers, it was my child who decided what he was comfortable spending each month. I didn’t have to be the bad guy in the situation.
He decided that he would budget $10 per month for in game purchases and an extra $10 that would float in any given quarter that he could spend in any of those months if he so desired.
That brings his total to $40 per quarter or $160 per year.
Because he agreed to this online game budget and liked the control that it gave him, it has taken all the fight out of his online game spending.
As a parent, I have parameters for saying yes or no to his spending. As a kid, he knows what those parameters are and he gets to evaluate how he wants to spend that money. It also requires him to look at the deals each game is offering to see if and when he should spend some of his floating budget to get a better value.
When he spends his online game budget, he’s required to write down the date he spent the money and how much it was. That way, he keeps track of when he’s eligible to spend more of his budget.
So far, he’s spending his monthly budget on the first of every month or very close to the first, which is to be expected.
A few times he has asked about spending money before the month is up, but instead of saying yes or no I just have him check his budget to see when he’s eligible to next spend his money.
Learning how to be fiscally responsible is a life skill that will serve my kids well their entire lives.
I can’t think of a better way to connect an important life skill with an activity that makes them so darn happy – online gaming.
I just wish I would have thought of the Online Game Budget earlier. Ha!
If you’d like to download and print a free copy of this Online Game Budget Form for Kids, I’ve made it in a jpeg and pdf format.
Online Game Budget Form for Kids – JPEG VERSION
Online Game Budget Form for Kids – PDF VERSION
P.S. We like this brand of headsets for gaming. After too many complaints of headsets “glitching out” or being “scratchy,” we finally upgraded and haven’t had problems since.
Thanks for being here today. If you’d like another post to read, I aim to please! Here you go:
Teaching Kids to Type (My kids definitely need a refresher course on this!)
Travel With Kids: Safety Tips for Foreign Travel (can’t wait until we can travel again!)