We are so happy to be the vehicle for Louisa's Saving, Spending and Sharing. We look forward to sharing more stories about kids and families who are "Moonjaring" their money. This article was in the Wall Street Journal this past
An Allowance for Summer Secret Santa
Louisa Thompson-Longshore wanted to be the best gift-giver at her camp this year
Louisa Thompson-Longshore's allowance of $10 a week helped her put together a gift recently for her camp friend at Newfound Camp in Harrison, Maine. ENLARGE
Louisa Thompson-Longshore's allowance of $10 a week helped her put together a gift recently for her camp friend at Newfound Camp in Harrison, Maine. PHOTO: MARJIE W LONGSHORE
By ANNE MARIE CHAKER
Sept. 27, 2016 2:38 p.m. ET
Allowance for Louisa Thompson-Longshore this summer went to a gift of socks and a rock for a fellow camper.
The summery Secret Santa concept at Newfound Camp in Harrison, Maine, is called peanut-and-shell. Some campers are the shells that anonymously give other campers, their peanuts, goodies. Louisa, a 13-year old eighth-grader at Harrison Middle School shopped at Cricket’s Corner, a gift shop in Raymond, Maine, for her peanut. Among her gift selections: Pink and purple socks printed “left foot” and “right foot,” a rock that has the word “strength” carved into it, two beaded bracelets, a notebook and a door sign that reads “you are my sunshine.”
She spent a total of $30 on the gifts, which she would leave piecemeal by a fellow camper’s trunk on different days. “She wanted to be a really good shell,” says her mother Marjie Longshore, 45, a parenting educator for a nonprofit in Yarmouth, Maine.
Ms. Longshore started giving Louisa allowance when she was five years old, as she began expressing interest in having an American Girl doll. “It seemed like a nice teachable moment,” says Ms. Longshore.
At the time, Ms. Longshore cleaned out three jam jars and labeled them “Spend,” “Save” and “Share.” Allowance was $3 a week, paid in two one dollar bills and four quarters, all to be divvied up as Louisa liked. Spend meant money that could be used any time and however Louisa wished. Save meant money that was set aside and placed into a savings account set up in her name. Share would be money used to help a nonprofit organization that served a good cause, selected around the holiday season at the end of the year. Louisa’s donations have included $40 to the Audubon Society, $60 to the National Zoo and $80 to the New England Aquarium.
Ms. Longshore has never tied allowance to chores at home. Picking up, cleaning up and helping out are things she feels the children should be doing irrespective of whether they will get paid. “We should be doing it to be part of a team,” she says. “Managing money is different from learning to keep a house clean.”
Two years ago, the jam jars were upgraded to a $30 MoonJar brand three-part moneybox that Ms. Longshore purchased online. It comes with a ledger that Louisa uses to track her earnings. There have been raises—and cutbacks, discussed in weekly family meetings. Three years ago, when she was 10, it was decreased to $3 a week, then to nothing, when the family budget got tighter. Six months ago, she got a raise to $5 a week from her mother.
Her father, John Thompson, managing director for an energy logistics company who lives in Portland, Maine, contributes $5 a week as well. In the next couple of weeks, he says, he hopes to teach the concept of investing in stocks to both Louisa and her brother Barrett, 10. “That’s our next step,” he says.
Louisa currently has $395 saved; $23 in her share jar (in June she donated $45 to her summer camp for a capital campaign to rebuild the lodge); and $16 in her spend jar.
She is now saving up for a Yogibo cushion-chair set which she expects will cost about $200, which she will draw from her spend jar when it builds back up. “It will take me about a year,” she says.