Friday, September 18, 2009

The Allowance Post

After several attempts through the last couple of years at allowance, I think we finally have it figured out.

And I could not be more pleased with how it is going.

I am familiar with a lot of different ways that people handle allowance. And every single person's way has value for them, which is great.

I was reading in the Family Fun magazine yesterday about parents keeping a running tab of allowance so kids learn to budget kind of like a debit card works. It also helps with cash strapped parents. I even know someone personally who does this method and they believe it works well for them.

We tried allowance last year, but it never really worked and the kids weren't really all that it into it so it seemed futile.

With the new school year starting, it seemed like a good time to try it again. So about three weeks before school, I headed out to the store and bought "chore charts". Now, we have tried different kind of charts before, and they haven't lasted, so I wondered if it would happen again.

Here are some things we have changed:

Each child has four responsibilities each day, catered to the things that often bring challenges in the household.

Noah's are: homework, being ready for school by 7:30 without me nagging, picking up all clothes both in the morning and at bedtime, and school behavior. If he gets even one tally mark at school, he loses his sticker for the day.

Aaron's are: quiet at bedtime (the one that has cost him the most stickers), lining up all shoes at night, taking care of all clothes in morning and at night, and school behavior.

At bedtime (or shortly thereafter in Aaron's case) each item gets a sticker. On Saturday mornings after they clean their room, they get $ .50 for each day they got four stickers. The amounts have ranged everywhere from $1.00 to $3.50 each since we started this system. Also, anyone who cries for help cleaning their room on Saturday morning has to pay a "fee" of a quarter of their allowance money for help. Some weeks Noah decided it's worth it, and some weeks he doesn't. I think all of these decisions are good for him. It's one more way to think about the value of his money.

I strongly believe in giving them real money rather than a running tab. I think it's good at this age to see a concrete example of how much a certain amount of money is. Plus, when they spend it, they do it all themselves. Another way for them to see it come and go in a concrete way.

Here are the results of our first month of this system:

A. Both boys have saved for several weeks and purchased something that they wanted

B. Noah has become extremely in tune with how much tax something costs, and has started figuring out how much he needs on his own

C. I have not had to nag in the mornings

D. We are having a little less trouble with Aaron at bedtime

E. We are not tripping over shoes anymore

F. There is now more begging in the store for toys. "Can I have that?" is directly followed by "Do you have enough allowance?"

The biggest change is how Noah sees money now. It comes up all the time and has resulted in some great conversations. Everything he sees in the store, he evaluates the cost and puts in terms of his (potential) $3.50 each week. When we were at church last week, he was begging to print something out on the library computer (a big no-no since some kids-not Noah-wasted some ink a year or so ago). He said "But Mom, I'll buy more ink with my allowance" and then asked how much it cost. I told him and he realized it would be eight times more than what he already had in his piggy back. The conversation went off from there and we had a great dialogue.

Aaron isn't quite old enough to understand all of the ins and outs yet, or have the higher thinking about it all, but I think he will get there.

What happens if we're out without their cash and they want something? I buy it and they pay me back with their cash when we get home BEFORE I give it to them. It's not theirs until they pay for it.

We finally have a system that seems to work. Now I need to go run to the bank so I have cash for tomorrow morning.

Have a good weekend.


Jen@BigBinder said...

I absolutely LOVE this!!! Our kids are at the age where money is sort of starting to make sense and we've been trying to figure out how to fit allowance in. I will be ripping this idea off and using it in my house too.

Courtney said...

Glad it's working out for you guys!

Anonymous said...

We give Jacob actual cash, too. I think it's far too abstract for a 6 year old other wise.

Jacob has been saving, but since we pay out a little differently, he doesn't have that much. And he doesn't really seem to care about the money, which is actually O.K. by me!

I'm glad you found something that is working for you!

bethn said...

Sounds like a great system. We started a similar system this summer. ONly every chore that got missed got an m and mom got paid a quarter for having to do their chores. One week they wound up owing me money from their wallets. That was the last week that they really resisted chores. I'm also now working on not having to remind them to do their chores. Of course they're also working on mom not forgetting to pay them. It's now been 4 weeks. It adds up fast.

Alex really had to figure out the saving thing when he was working for his DS. We bought it on sale and it sat up in the mud room in the box until he saved up enough and got some money for his birthday to pay for it. It was a huge lesson for him.

Kila said...

I hope it lasts!

Veronica @ Luv My Quiver Full Of Arrows said...

I have been waiting to read this post all weekend... wanted a quiet moment to sit and read it!

Kristi, once again I am blessed by the way you mommy Noah and Aaron. I love that you put so much thought, effort, and love into them. God loves it even more ;0)!

I loved the idea of 'charging' them for help and the sentence you have highlighted in red is awesome. I will start to incorporate that more often. I usually let them know that if they forgot their cash, then too bad, but I see there can be exceptions.

Thanks for taking the time to post this.
xoxo, Veronica

Melissa said...

Thanks for posting this Kristi!! I have been trying to figure out something to get Gavin to do his chores without me yelling all the time. Allowence and the chore chart are the answer!! I just printed off mine from the internet and hung it on the fridge. Gavins chores are: put his shoes away, dirty clothes in hamper (big problem!!), homework, put lunchbox and icepack away after school, and toy pickup before bed. AND- he is excited to start too, Thanks again!!