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So as parents of 6 children, my wife and I have really ran the gamut of various allowance and chore systems. I know there’s a lot of schools of thought on that – everywhere from just give your kids allowance so they’ll learn how to manage money to kids get no allowance because doing chores is expected since you’re part of the family. I don’t think there’s a “right” answer, and families just have to do what works best for them.
Recently our family has started with a website called ChoreMonster. The basic idea with ChoreMonster is that you assign “points” to various chores, and each time the child earns a chore, they a) get points which they can redeem for different rewards and b) they get a spin on a carnival wheel where they can possibly earn monsters with funny names like “Blobby Phillay”
Blobby was a recently earned monster by one of my kids. We’ve had this in place for about 6 months now, and I gotta say, it has been working pretty well. Any time you can get a 9 year old boy to say the words “Mom, can I go take a shower so I can get ChoreMonster points”, you know it’s good times!!! 🙂
We decided to value the points at 1 cent each, so earning 2,500 ChoreMonster points was enough to get a toy or other item that cost $25.
Major Devaluation hits OVERNIGHT!
Like I said, we’ve had this in place for about 6 months and it’s been going great, except for one problem. It’s been so successful that so many points are being earned and THEY ARE BLOWING OUR BUDGET!
So we decided to do a Chore Monster devaluation!
We didn’t want to devalue on the redemption side, because 1 point = 1 cent makes it very easy to figure out how many Chore Monster points something costs, and who wants to do more math?
We ended up devaluing on the earnings side.
- Oh, cleaning up toys used to get you 25 points? Now it’s 10.
- 5 points for getting dressed by yourself? Now it’s just expected.
- and so on and so on.
The kids were not amused, but just like us travel hackers, we just have to suck it up if we want to keep flying (getting toys). And the kids don’t even have the option of switching to a different airline / family!!! 🙂
A comparison to airlines and hotels
A few weekends ago, there was a big to-do in the miles and points world. It all started with an innocent tweet
Did Iberia go revenue-based while I wasn’t watching? Short domestic flights are pricing out astronomically
— Free-quent Flyer (@FreequentFlyr) August 24, 2014
Then, after a post on View from the Wing, it seemed like the whole world went nuts. I had a brief post on the subject, but all on Twitter, people were expecting British Airways to follow suit from Iberia and thus reporting burning all their Avios booking any and all trips that they felt like they might possibly make.
In the end, it was for naught as British Airways hasn’t (yet?) made any changes to their award chart.
Were they wrong?
So were people that burned all their Avios wrong? I guess it depends – I don’t see a problem with people booking speculative travel – remember, it’s earn ’em and burn ’em in our world! Plus, sometimes you’ll have a trip kind of in mind, but never get the oomph to actually MAKE the reservations. So sometimes a kick in the pants can be a good thing!
And it is true that oftentimes devaluations DO hit overnight. It does seem like more and more companies are announcing them in advance, which is good, since it gives people who may have built up a balance of miles a chance to decide whether or not to spend them, but you can’t count on it.
I totally expect devaluations to continue though – it’s inevitable and to me it’s just a matter of supply and demand. As more and more opportunities arise to EARN miles, it’s inevitable that to balance that out, award prices will continue to rise. But smart travelers will be able to continue to capitalize on things – just familiarize yourselves with the principles, don’t over-invest in one currency, and stay alert, and you’ll do just fine!
What’s your worst story of being caught by a devaluation?