One such broken record track I’ve mentioned already is, “Good luck with that.”
The other one is, “How much money did you bring?”
If you read no further, just remember that last phrase. The next time a child in your care asks to buy something in a store, you can reply with enthusiastic love, “Sure! How much money did you bring?”
The way it works around here is that my kids get weekly allowance equaling one dollar per each grade. (A lot of experts say to give a dollar per year of age but personally I think that's too much.)
The entire purpose of allowance in my house is to teach kids fiscal responsibility. They don’t get paid to do chores. Helping out around the house just goes with the whole “family” gig. Non-negotiable. Otherwise, most kids are smart and potentially lazy enough that they will eventually attempt to forgo the cash in favor of shirking their responsibilities.
Someday I may let them negotiate not doing chores in favor of paying me (i.e. rent). For now, we’re just a loving family all living under the same roof, each doin’ what’s gotta be done. Shared responsibility, respect and gratitude.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not above bribery. A well placed extra buck here and there can do wonders; even more so when they know that pretty much any “extras” they want will come out of their own pocket.
Examples of past “extras” include:
- Many “as seen-on-TV “ toys and games
- Yet one more stuffed animal (shoot me)
- iPod apps
- Candy at the grocery check-out
- Pokemon cards at the grocery check-out
- Disgusting green goo in a nose-shaped package at the
If nothing else, we have had some very interesting discussions about the tricks of marketing and merchandising.
They’ve also learned a lot about saving, delayed gratification and taking better care of one’s investments. (I know a sad tale of a girl who didn’t put the caps back on her "Blendy Pens," thus throwing three full week’s allowance in the trash.)
What’s also great is the positive pressure on Big D and me to set a good example. Goodness knows we have made some financial doozies over the years. By teaching our kids, we are more focused now as well.
Here’s a quick budgeting game you can do with the kids or without:
* Ways money comes in:
* Ways money goes out:
Have fun listing (or drawing pictures of) all the things that bring and cost money on a regular basis. Jobs, lights, phone, food, school, clothes, fun, gifts, cars/gas, etc.
See clearly that the money only comes in from one or two places and usually doesn’t change each month.
Meanwhile, certain things on the going out list are also what we call “fixed.” (You can put a cute symbol on those to illustrate.)
When we want to buy or do more, other expenses can vary by making choices. If something new comes up to do or buy, then something on that "variable" list has to budge in order for that new thing to get on the list.
Our next foray into household financial responsibility is couponing. Miss M. is conjuring up a shared-savings scheme where she controls the coupon clipping for the family. Yikes - I may be teaching her too well. Stay tuned!