Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kids and Money

Posted by Mandy at 10:20 AM

In today's crazy economic times, it seems like we parents are very aware of teaching our children all about money. How to earn it, how to save it, and how to spend it. I feel very torn on so many issues surrounding kids and money:
Is allowance a good idea?
When should they have to spend their own money?
Should they only be allowed to save it?
Is it totally up to them how to use it?
From the top: ALLOWANCE
Our children do not receive allowance. Not a dime a day, not a quarter a week.. nothing. I know many families love their allowance system and it works so well for them - but I cannot imagine it for us. It just seems as though children SHOULD clean their rooms and help with house chores because that's what families do; they help each other. I don't want their motivation to be $$... so far so good. Everyone is expected to chip in and help and it goes smoothly. (well, minus Samuel who is hit or miss with clean-up time)
Having said that, recently we were staying at my mom and step dad's house. Papa went outside to do some yard work and the kids and I followed because they really needed to burn off some energy. Carter chose, all by himself, to help his papa pick up sticks and such in the yard rather than play like Madison. When we went inside a couple of hours later, Papa gave Carter $3 for his hard work. Carter's eyes totally lit up! He was SO proud of his earnings! I couldn't help but be so happy for him.. he had learned that hard work equals earning money. That's a good life lesson! (I was also proud of Papa's strength to not also give Madison and Sam $3 just to make it "fair" when only Carter had helped.)
Clayton followed that weekend up by giving each kid $1 each for helping pick up trash (that someones dogs had drug up in our yard.. can't imagine whose those would have been..) and they were all just giddy!
Then comes the dilemma. Will they always expect outside work or "extra" work to be paid jobs? Will their only motivation be money driven? This is not what I want for them... yet I do like them learning how to earn money.
Then, the second question. What happens with the money they earn?
Many parents cite "learning money management skills" as the main reason to give allowances to children on a regular basis. To help teach them about the 'real' world on a kid level.
If that's the goal, it seems to me that the children should have to use their own money to buy things they NEED.. not to save it all to buy fun stuff and things they want. If we gave allowance, I would expect my kids to chip in on things like school supplies.. or small items they could purchase. This would definitely teach them how far a dollar doesn't go. If they had anything left, then they could possibly treat themselves with something. Isn't that how the real world is? Wouldn't that be a realistic way to teach money management?
What do you think? Do you think it's okay to give allowance for daily chores or do you also worry this sends the wrong message about why everyone helps clean house? What do you expect your kids to do with any money they earn?
I'm torn... help me figure this issue out!


Brandy on Thursday, 20 August, 2009 said...

Mandy ~ Hunter has mowed grass for others this summer to earn money to fix his 4 wheeler. We told him we wouldn't fix it so he decided mowing would earn him some cash. He mows our grass BUT we don't pay him... we feed him, give him a place to sleep, and put clothes on his back. When we went school shopping he wanted shoes that cost $100 and I told him I would not buy them but if he wanted them he could use his money... he choose to save the money for the 4 wheeler. Once Lauren gets a little older we will figure out something she can do to earn money... not sure what that might be yet tho. Lol I hope that helped somewhat!

Doug Hibbard on Friday, 21 August, 2009 said...

We do allowance, but it's not for doing chores. Chores are expected as part of the family. We give allowance just straight out. (We do $0.50 per year of age. Why? I don't know, it seemed like a good idea at the time.)

Allowance is then used for tithe, for fun items or for extra stuff. It's not used for necessities, because Mom and Dad provide those needs, because we're a family.

If you choose not to do your chores, you are choosing, however, to hire that work out. Didn't remember to make your bed? You chose to hire the Mom-alert system to remind you that afternoon. And it cost you. Choose to utterly violate some rule? Your sentence is community service or incarceration and a fine.

It's a vastly imperfect system, but that's what we use. The kids are encouraged to save money, they are given the option to spend it, sometimes, and they are learning to tithe. It also communicates responsibility and consequences.

But it doesn't set up the I work around the house so I get money. Doesn't happen for Mom and Dad, doesn't happen for kids.


(I think we got part of that idea from a Parenting Study I've got at church. It's a video thing with workbooks, you can take a look-see if you want.)

Rene Teater said...

We call it commission which is earned for jobs on the job chart. It's clear what the commission is at the outset and each child must choose two commission chores per day. There are still other things that need to be done in the house on a daily basis and since we are a family, we all pitch in to get them done. It works for us.

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