While we were counting up our final savings for our road trip, my daughter realized that savings can really add up. She remarked, "Next I want to save up to redecorate my room!" It's amazing how empowering success can be. Part of me wanted to say, "No, your room is fine. We don't need to spend money on that...or time...and it will take a LONG time to save for that."
But she's incredible. She's growing up, and she's ready for taking on greater challenges. Sometimes I'm the only one that stands in the way of her becoming the young woman God has designed her to be.
This was also a challenging project for me. I'm a strong and opinionated mother. How do I let her spread her wings, when she might want to go a different direction than I would?
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She's an ambitious thing and I wanted her to succeed, but I also wanted to help her realize what the reality of the cost of a bedroom might look like. We're not extravagant decorators, but even so, the little things can add up quickly.
Here was her initial budget:
- $50 for 2 cans of paint
- $50 for a new comforter
- $40 for lamps
- $100 for a desk
- $50 for a headboard (she quickly commissioned her daddy to make her one...she offered to pay for the materials)
She had bedside tables and a couple of bookshelves to round out her design.
She quickly got a measuring tape and went to town space planning. I watched her dream and wondered if she would be able to save enough to accomplish her dream before she lost interest, or before she became discouraged.
While I didn't want to rescue her from an opportunity to do a hard thing, I also knew she's only 11. There are limitations to her money making ability.
But I could help.
She had a couple of opportunities to babysit for one of my good friends, but I wasn't ready to let her go alone. I would take my laptop over to the house with her and camp out and work while she took care of the kids. I didn't rescue her from the hard times of babysitting, but I got to be blessed by seeing my girl step up and manage four young people with grace. She was really good with them! After a couple of babysitting jobs, the money started adding up, and I started to gain hope that she might just be able to pull this off!
Even though her budget looked good, I knew that there are always surprises...things always cost a bit more than expected. So I looked for ways to trim the budget.
Trimming the Budget
We worked through her space plan, and I talked her out of a desk in her room. As much as I want her to be independent in her schooling, I love having her near so that I can help if she needs it. Plus, she didn't really have space in her room. That saves $100 right off the bat.
Even though I wanted her to have the ability to express her own design style, I still could recommend and suggest things. I noticed that she liked antique wood, and I remembered that we were storing my mother's old headboard in the garage. When she saw it, she fell in love!
Although, while trimming the budget, new ideas came around...how about a bench?!
The Christmas Blessing
Around Christmas, Grace had saved around $240, which promised to be enough, but I still feared things would cost more than she anticipated. Grandma blessed her with a comforter, bedside lamps, and a couple of throw pillows.
We also had the blessing of a quiet week between Christmas and New Years. This was important because we had serious purging to do in order to have a grown up room. With a clean room, things came together quickly!
- $78 at Lowes for supplies (minus a $50 gift card we gave her for Christmas)
- $55 for a bench we found at an antique mall
- $30 for vanity accessories
- $35 for throw pillows
- $20 for organizing containers
- $30 for wall art
Grand total = $198
She did come up with some cute ideas for her daddy to make, like the wood sign above. She had seen this on Pinterest and loved it! He made it from slats from the antique bed. I painted the words that she loved from a favorite hymn and prayed that this sweet young lady's heart would be bound to the Lord.
She also wanted him to make her a place to hang some pictures on the wall, so he made here these cute wooden slats with wire hung across to pin up her black and white photos.
Overall, I love how the room turned out! She did a beautiful job blending old and new. I also love that I got to see her succeed in saving, as well as express herself. It's so hard as a mother to allow your children to grow up. But it was pretty wonderful letting her design her room on her dime!
She also inspired other cleaning up and redesigning around the house...which led to reclaiming our school room!
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.