September 12, 2017
People seem to have kids, be having kids, or thinking about having kids. It must be something in the water for people to have that kind of activity. I have two of my own.
Growing up my dad would get paid at the beginning of the month and then would expect to be able to go shopping at that time and that the food would last us the entire month. That would be $300 to last 5 people (2 adults, 3 growing kids) and 1 black Labrador. More often than not it didn’t. We would run out of food about a week into the month and live off of nothing but Top Ramen, pasta (in any way you can possibly think of- dry; with butter; salt and pepper; etc), or just dry cereal. Sometimes it would last two weeks in. I’m so glad that my siblings and I were able to get food at the school, otherwise, it would have gotten even worse. During the summers, and breaks were the hardest for us.
If you were to hear this, many people would think that we didn’t have money, were poor, or were just down on our luck. The truth is, my dad actually got enough money to support us decently for the entire month and not have to worry about anything. The problem was that my dad didn’t know how to manage his money. Or make wise money decisions.
This is sad that some kids have to go through this. As a way to counteract this with my own kids, Husband and I implemented a way for the kids to earn money, and have the freedom to choose how to spend it, within reason.
Since it’s the beginning of the school year I bought 2 different chore chart notations. (To the left is for my oldest). This is a tester model to see if this system is a right fit for my kids. On the left side is the weekly dates. Across the top are 5 repeating expectations for my oldest with monetary values:
Homework- 2 cents
Quiet Time- 3 Cents
Pick Up Toys- 1 Cent
Eye Patching- 2 cents
All 4- 2 cent incentive
So far it is having mixed results for the effectiveness. My oldest is in Kindergarten so he doesn’t come home with homework. So there are two workbook pages that he CAN work on if he wants. Quiet time is during the times that I’m working. I cannot be on the phones at home and have someone hear, “Mommy, can you come wipe my butt? I pooped”. They need to be quiet. Picking up toys is so easy and basic. And eye patching, oh man. With my son’s eye problems, he hates wearing his eye patch, for every day that he wears one for the full 6 hours, he gets some money. As you can see the ones that are consistently being not done are the homework and toys.
At the end of the day, I will put a sticker in the correct spot to show that he accomplished the task and then on Friday I will pay him accordingly. I will give him pennies for each task completed and any incentive that was earned, and also make a separate pile for the money that was missed out on so he can see what not doing something does for him. Once I’ve finished divvying out the pennies we will count and exchange for Nickels and Dimes. Quarters are needed for laundry money so he won’t be getting any of those, unfortunately. But he’s still learning about how to exchange money.
On Friday’s I get a weekly report from his teacher about his behavior and anything special that happened so he will get 10 cents for every “Dojo” point he gets during the week as an incentive to listen to his teacher. Also, if he does anything “extra” that is paid out on that day, right after it happens, i.e. putting away dishes, matching socks, taking out the bathroom trash.
Friday is the only day that he can “buy” something. The reason for this is because we needed to limit when he would be able to utilize his money. And make conscious decisions about it, right when he gets it, instead of changing his mind. Plus, if he wants to buy something on Wednesday night, he will have a couple days to think it over if he really wants it or not. He could buy a piece of candy for 50 cents, a soda for $1.00, an hour playing on my iPad for $5.00, and if he saves enough money ($10) he can pay to have a bowling night. Bowling night is something that the boys decided they wanted if they were to save a lot of money.
Also, we are teaching consequences and that some bad or negative choices come at a price. If my oldest son is being mean to his brother then he has to pay a 5 cent fine, pay 10 cents for every “Dojo” point taken away by his teacher, 50 cents for losing his temper/throws a temper tantrum. There are other things that he can do to pay a fine, but he is a good kid.
This proud guy has saved $4.50 and decided that he wanted a soda so he with his own $1 money he walked with Husband down to the gas station and bought his own. You can tell he is so proud of himself.
The reason why I’m doing this is that I want my kids to be money smart and learn to make financial decisions, learn the value of $1. I know that next year because things will be different, we will need to change the chores, and also change the values. Next year he won’t get paid for picking up his toys, while his younger brother won’t be paid 1 cent for going on the potty (I am not a fan of potty training).
Being financially smart on this journey is imperative because there is no need to go into debt for a vacation. Start being smart with your money now, so that it will be easier when we cross that finish line together!!
See you on the other side!!