Sunday, October 9, 2011

Money Matters at Any Age

In the same way that Tim Gunn of Project Runway is best represented by his catchphrase, “Make it work!" I fantasize about my own made-for-reality-TV vignette where I am seen repeating my signature parenting phrases in multiple scenes.   (Hey, we all need dreams.  Don't judge me.)

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
         grocery check-out

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:

Write out on a big piece of paper (or use a spreadsheet if playing the grown up version):

 * 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.

Make sense? 

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!

Happy budgeting!

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Naqvee said...

HAHA.. While reading your post I over heard my mom and sis discussing about ways to do budgeting. LOL. really i buy so much and at the end of month im no better than a beggar. oops.

esahm said...

These are all great tips! Returning you visit and stumble!

Pam said...

Great tips. I need a budget!
Please visit Mom Blog Society to find out how to get your blog featured. We need mom bloggers like you!

Vulnavia Gura said...

i have always been one for paying a buck to get the dishes done, but you are right. that is family stuff, and if i cook and clean, you will wash. and with that i become a follower

May said...

You are really on point. I love this post. Yes money matters at all age. Thanks for sharing this tips with us and also thanks for linking up in Exposure 99% weekday hop, looking forward being part of your blog. said...

Following you from Exposure 99% hop. Please follow back! And maybe we have a book or two to interest you!

All Best,


CC said...

Whenever my children see something in a store and want it badly, I always ask, "Did you bring your wallet?" They have been trained that pressuring me for something unearned does not work. LOL!

I remind them that budgeting is an extremely important skill to learn. Since we have an older crowd, hubby and I have discussed getting the Dave Ramsey program that's geared toward teens. For now, I love the idea of playing the budgeting game you mentioned. I'll even let them design the spreadsheet.

We're not above occasional bribery or incentives. My 13-year-old received $270 in birthday money in July and quickly spent most of it. He prepaid $5 for a video game that will be released in November and must pay the remaining $55 + tax on his own. My husband, ex-husband, and I have all offered a $5 each in bonus cash if he actually achieves his goal of saving $60 for over 3 months. That would be a small miracle for this kid and for that, we'd gladly give him a little extra. All bets are off if he comes up short though.

Nicole said...

Hi! I'm so excited to follow you - I found you through the Exposure 99% weekday hop. Especially love the name of your blog - my main goal in life is to succeed at finding the balance:)

Katie2SS said...

Good tips. It's tough to teach kids the value of money and how far it can or can not go.

Charlene said...

Thakns for all the great comments! I will be visiting you!

Mary said...

Great tips, I'm going to do this sit w/my family and let them see where we could crunch!! TFS

Daria @ Mom in Management said...

This is exactly what I do with my kids too! I give them $10 a month and it is to teach them fiscal responsibility. Every time they ask for something I respond with "Do you want to buy it with your money?" SOOO many times the answer is no. :)

Here's my very similar post on this topic:

Darlene Demell said...

Hi there
Following you via GFC from the weekly blog hop.
Hope you come and visit me.

webb said...

I think you are so wise. So many kids have no idea what either money or shared chores for the family are all about. How can you expect a kid to manage in college or in the world if mom has always washed his clothes and paid for her "toys" and incidentals.

Good tips for starting a discussion and a program. No surprise there!!

Megan said...

new follower from It's great to find new blogs to read.getting to Would love a follow back.

Nekky said...

Very helpful indeed. As a mother of two toddlers, I need to start applying this tips, they will help me a great deal. Thanks for stopping by, returning the favour.

Nina Kunni said...

Following back from tne 99% exposure blog hop. lovely post.thanks for linking up with us.

Angela said...

I just wanted to let you know I found your blog thru the blog hop and am now a follower and would love to have you follow me. My blog is

Darlene Demell said...

Hi Charlene
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I take it you haven't found the follow button yet. You have to either refresh your page or go to the very top bar where you sign into your blog and hit the follow button there.
Hope you find it. :)
Have a great day.

Sarah said...

It's never too early to teach them money and the responsibilities that come with it. They are off to a good start and future. Now if only we can all do that the credit card companies will all go down and the world will be a lot happier!

Anonymous said...

If you don't mind hearing from someone who has "been there, done that, and then some" I'd like to tell you about two very lovely women who grew up in a home where boundries were enforced. When they were young, their allowance was based on age and savings had to be a part of their "budget." As they grew older, the rules changed. For example: when they were in high school, lunches were $1.00 a day. So on the first of the month, each of them received $30. (Yes, I know that's more that a months worth of lunches but it was also consistent.) If they ran out of money before the end of the month, they had to fix "brown bag" lunches until the first of the next month. Every month, one of them had money left over at the end and one of them ran out long before the end. Today is not much different - one of them has managed their money and saved for the future and the other only partially so. To this day, that's pretty much the same pattern in spite of all my efforts to teach them how to be responsibile. Sometimes nothing works. M

Amandah said...

I'm teaching my nephew money management skills and how to create a budget. I don't want him to 'repeat' financial patterns he may have learned from his parents; I'm trying to dissolve the 'money blueprint' he may have been programmed with during early childhood. Luckily, he's a saver. At 15, he has a part-time job and thinks about his financial future. He's a good kid.

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