Tis the season…

…to shut the door!

The weather has cooled beautifully here in south Texas.  The sweating has come to an end, and we’re enjoying the sort of fall weather that leaves us with silly grins on our faces.  But the mornings can be chilly sometimes, and we’re putting off the trip to the storage shed for the heaters.  So far we have stayed very comfortable if we remember to close all the windows before bed.

But today barely topped 60 degrees, chilly by our standards.  It’s time to break the summertime habit of leaving the front door wide open!

I’ve been issuing reminders right and left for weeks now:

“Close the door!”

“Don’t leave that door open!”

“Close the door!”

“I don’t care if you thought somebody was coming behind you.  CLOSE THE DOOR!”

Even the baby has taken to bellowing at her sisters: “Dose-duh-doooo!”

But it just isn’t working.  Why is it that children refuse to heed repeated verbal warnings?  Why must they provoke us to real action before they decide that what we’re telling them is really important?

My blood runs thin and I’m afraid of the cold.  I’m a desperate woman driven to desperate measures.  I’m now charging a $.25 fine for each infraction.  As always, if the perpetrator doesn’t have cold hard cash she is given the privilege of working off her debt.  Making my bed, starting a load of laundry, or swatting 5 flies are 3 ways to earn a fast quarter.  If necessary, I can come up with others.

I suspect this will work well over the next several days but today it had an unexpected side effect and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  Those of you who think my plan is too mean will be relieved to know that I’m losing money on the deal.

It works like this:  every time I demand the fine from an offender, she remembers that I actually and legitimately owe her money, so I end up paying out money to the offender.  As of now, I think I’m at least a dollar in the red even though I’ve collected 6 or 7 fines today.  Sigh.  Another great entrepreneurial idea gone awry.


  1. We give our children and allowance of $0.25 per year (their age) per week. They have enjoyed saving their money in their black metal bank boxes. They take great pleasure in counting and comparing and have even started asking for money for any gifts they receive.

    I got so tired of lights being left on that I started 2 weeks ago charging $1.00 every time I find a light left on. Most times I know the person who did so but if not then everyone owes a dollar. This only took 2 days and now lights are not left on. If someone leaves on one, someone is quick to turn it off.

    So now I am using the $1.00 fee for dog, chicken, and cat food left laying on the garage floor after they animals are fed. It is absolutely AMAZING how well it works 🙂

  2. HA!

    I charge a quarter for every dish left on the counter and not put into the dishwasher, which is RIGHT UNDER the counter that the dishes go on to get washed! That includes silverware and cups and plates and bowls. A quarter each!

    So your idea is great! Nobody ever had any money here, so I like the idea of having them work off their debt!!!


  3. Angie,
    I like that! My inclination was to make them come back practice closing the door 10 times, but of course then we’d lose 10 times as much warm air. Your friend’s plan is much better.

    Awesome link! Thanks – I’m going to post this to Frugal Hacks.

  4. If they are working off the $.25 debt, why would you owe them anything? In my opinion, they are working off the debt they owe you.

  5. I thought you might enjoy this blog post about a Family of 15 and their $65 Power Bill:


  6. I have to agree with the first poster .. If they continue to forget the door, then eventually you will owe none of them and they will owe you. Pure profit and a great way to pay back your debts to the girls! LOL Its almost genius!

  7. Love your post! Just found your blog. A girlfriend of mine does this, more in the summer when the A/C is cranking in Central Oregon –
    The offender has to come back. Close the door. Stand with hand on knob for a set amount of time, increments increasing throughout the day upon infractions. 🙂 Works for visiting friends too. 🙂

  8. Hee, hee. This was a good post. My, 60s are NOT chilly for me. That sounds like absolutely perfect weather. My mom’s way to punish for forgotten things has been that we have to take a scrubbing instrument (hand held) and scrub her bathroom floor for 15 minutes. She cleans it herself but there are all sorts of cracks and dents in the tile that need hard scrubbing. I personally think punishment of this kind works better than paying money. Take it from someone who knows! 🙂

  9. You might be cranking up some heat soon. I think it is supposed to be in the 40s tonight. Yikes! Keep warm! Mine is already on, but set to 68 degrees.

  10. you pay well. 🙂
    I pay the children 1 cent per fly , 5 cents per chore, 1 cent per character quality shown, and 1 cent per “yes ma’am”.
    hope you stay warm! we are enjoying the weather too!

  11. Now I would never give the job of swatting flies to my kids. I take too much pleasure is destroying those beasts. LOL!!! I apply the idea of fines to everything we do when we need habits changed. I love it. Your stories crack me up. You’re a great story teller.

    Bundle up tonight. We’re suppose to hit 35 in Dallas (less on the outskirts where we are.) we’ve seen the last of the tomatoes for the year. we’re trying to go without heat a bit longer. Everyone has at least 3 layers of blankets on the bed tonight. Unfortunately, I am afraid I am not going to be able to keep my 1 yod warm enough. She’s layer and in heavy PJs but I am afraid she can nuzzle down under the covers so the heat may go on sooner than we’d like. Stay warm.

  12. Oh man, I award 10 cents for each cricket killed. My kids have a racket going on!

  13. Rebecca from Texas says:

    It is a terrific idea none the less and I too will be tucking this info away for future use. I love the stories you share!

  14. I’m not sure which chore/punishment I love more, “Make my bed” or “Kill 5 flies.” As a young mom, I’m tucking those ideas away for when my kids get older. Hopefully, you’ll be turning a profit soon. (:

  15. Well,e ventually you’ll run out of kids you owe money to and then it will be pure profit!

Don't just think it: say it!

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