Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 20, The $2,362.00 Question (93...Free!)

By North American standards, we are not overindulgent parents. Neither are our children deprived. Usually I feel pretty confident in my ability to maintain that balance. Not today.

I am stuck. If anyone has advice, I'd appreciate it. Here's the story...

For several years, Lizzi and a few friends have been talking about the "8th grade trip." An aunt of one of Lizzi's church friends started the tradition of taking nieces/nephews on an educational field trip to the East Coast at the end of 8th grade. Friends are welcome to come along. We never said she could go; neither did we say she couldn't. I did, however, always sorta assume it would happen. I completely trust the chaperone. She'll be traveling with friends, girls from church. It's an educational opportunity. And it will be a lot of fun.

Now that we have the particulars, I'm not sure what to do.

The trip costs $2,362.00, not including souvenir money. We would also likely have to pay an additional $200 or so for "travel insurance" in case the organizers cancel. At the moment we are saving for a big, overseas family trip that Lizzi admits is a higher priority. It's not that we absolutely can't afford to send her; it's more like we aren't sure that it's a good idea under the current circumstances. On the other hand, to not go means that she misses out on an opportunity that most of her friends will be attending, so she's sorta the "odd man out" if she can't go. It's also an exciting educational opportunity and being the bright, motivated kid that she is, I know she'll get a lot out of it.

Lizzi's Nana offered to have her clean house in exchange for money toward the trip. Lizzi had Thursday and Friday off school and didn't take the opportunity to use her time that way. She said that she was waiting to see whether or not she was going first. I'm not sure how to feel about that. But in the spirit of not nagging, I didn't push her.

Lizzi desperately wants to go, but she is not whining or insisting. She's a very good kid. She understands the problem. But none of us are very clear about what's reasonable under the circumstances.

What would you do?


AmyP said...

I'd be inclined to split it with her. I'm not sure what kind of $$$ she has right now, but if possible she'd need to pay 50% of her portion up-front and then could earn the rest over know, given that she has some $ and the opportunity to earn more. Is that a possibility?

Anonymous said...

I am with amyp. If she earns 50%, she can go. But if she doesn't, you aren't going to just end up paying the full amount. The trip will be canceled AND she'll owe you for the amount you had to pay.

I don't expect my 11 year old can earn enough money for a trip. But he has to learn that he has to contribute. So we started with him saving for his camp canteen fund and also saving for spending money on the annual family vacation. After 8th grade he wants to go to camp for a popular 8 week program, and we told him that he could, but he'll have to save up half of the difference in cost. (His cut? $2k) He has already started saving.

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