I started tracking the benefit of the coupons I clip and use each month. It averages out to about $9/month. Not enough to pay for the paper anymore. Yesterday, I announced to the boys that I would be cancelling our subscription. Benjamin and Caleb were horrified. Nathaniel was, too, initially, but then he figured out how much the paper cost each year, and decided he could just get comic collections from the library for free.
Benjamin was ready to sign over his first born right there and then if I promised to keep getting the paper. We came to an agreement that I would pay $8 each month for the paper, but it would cost him $5 each month. He was willing to pay more just for the chance to read the Sunday comics, but I tried to use the moment to teach him about negotiation. (He is historically awful at negotiating. Nathaniel on the other hand seems to have a little Tom Sawyer in him. I caught Benjamin doing Nathaniel's chores the other day, just for the chance to play Nathaniel's DS. Benjamin owns a DS, too, but couldn't find it at the time.) Caleb wanted the comics, too, but knew Benjamin would pay. So he disappeared for the negotiations saying, "Well, I don't care that much about comics."
Benjamin is good about earning money. He's willing to work hard for it. But once he gets it (after he puts a percentage in savings and tithing) it burns a hole in his pocket. Ah, well. I feel like he will learn the lesson eventually. And probably sooner rather than later. Smiths seem to be genetically predisposed towards accounting or other financial services. In the meantime, I will try not to take too much advantage of him.