Years ago, before I ever had kids, I saw the couple who wrote this book on Oprah, and I was duly impressed. I vowed to follow their system when I had kids of my own.
I do own this book now, and I’ve read it, along with lots of other viewpoints on kids, money, allowance, saving, giving and everything else. About two years ago I even bought a bank from Moonjar; it has three separate components: one for spending right away, one for saving for something special, and one for sharing (charity). It’s the same basic concept as the authors of “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees” use. I like it.
When K turned 5 I started giving her an allowance of $3 a week. She had to put a dollar into each of the three segments. To earn the allowance she was supposed to do some basic jobs around the house, such as putting her coat away when we got home, putting dirty clothes in the hamper and brushing her teeth. In theory, she could also earn extra money by doing a “bigger” job, but honestly this never happened. The whole allowance thing didn’t really last very long.
It’s now two years later. Both my kids seem to have plenty of money from grandparents, aunts and a favorite teacher who seem to give it frequently. I don’t make them portion out gifts of money into spend/save/share, though I wonder if I should. And the chores I expect them to do around the house are either understood (sort of), or me flying off the handle when something isn’t done.
Last week K asked if she could get an allowance. We sat down and talked about it, and came up with five jobs she needs to do everyday/regularly to earn $5 a week. Of that, she can use $2 to spend right away, has to put $2 away to save, and $1 to share – we’ll wait till we have a larger sum accumulated and choose a charitable organization that is meaningful to her to donate to. Payday is Friday. We haven’t reached the first Friday yet, so we’ll see how it goes. She hasn’t always shown herself to be responsible with money – she loses track of it easily, and I’ll find dollar bills hanging out wherever. I’d like to see more respect for money, but maybe she needs a regular source of it to develop it – I’m not sure.
K is a true child of the 21st century, since she already has a very expensive electronic item in mind that she wants to save for. For now she has elected not to use any of her “spend” money and put all $4 in savings. I’m perfectly OK with that. Especially since I will not buy it for her, not at age 7.
So, allowance question time – and if your kids are too young for an allowance, how do you think you will handle it when/if they do start getting one:
- Do your kids get an allowance? How old did they (or will they) start?
- Do they have to do any jobs for it? If so, what type? Can they earn extra money for doing extra chores?
- Do they have to earmark it for certain things?
- What types of things are they expected to buy with it? School lunches? Clothes? Birthday gifts for friends? Or it is completely discretionary?
- Do you have veto power over any of their purchases?