Two cardboard mailboxes sat under the Christmas tree, one for each of our kids. They contained a homemade certificate granting the recipient a free month of Netflix streaming service. The kids were both very excited about the gift, as they’d been begging us to sign up for quite a while.
Between the two months given as gifts, and the free promotional month offered at Christmas time, the kids received three months total, after which they’d have to make a decision.
Drop the service, or pay for it themselves.
We’re now into the third month, so it’s time for them to decide their path. I sat them down and explained to them that the service costs a total of $8.60 a month. If they choose to keep it, they will each have to contribute $4.30 per month, or about $1.07 a week, from their allowances.
How My Kids Use Netflix
I asked them both to tell me how often they use Netflix, and what they watch on it.
My daughter is a big fan of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” She’ll wind down for the evening by lying in bed and watching several commercial-free episodes on her laptop.
My son has become a fan of “The Walking Dead” and will watch it on his PC when he’s taking a break from video games. He also uses it to watch movies through his Xbox when his friends are over. It’s much cheaper than renting a movie on demand through our cable service, and is more convenient than asking my wife or me to go get a movie from Redbox.
Both of them agreed that the service was worth the cost.
Why I Let My Kids Decide
My wife and I look at our recurring bills each month to ensure they’re adding the appropriate amount of value to our lives in relation to the cost. I explained this process to my kids and said I wanted to do the same with them. We’ll have this same conversation each month, during which I’ll ask them both to analyze whether or not they want to continue paying for the service.
I’ve seen so many people sign up for a monthly service such as a big cable package, cell phone service, satellite radio, etc, only to not use it to its full potential. They pay the bill month after month, year after year, never questioning whether they could downgrade, or live without the service entirely.
By questioning their Netflix service each and every bill cycle, my kids will really think about whether they want to continue spending their money. I call it being wise with money, and it’s a process I want to ingrain into their minds as they become young adults.
Have you ever paid for a monthly service even though you hardly used it? How long did it take you to finally cancel it?