How do you teach kids the value of a dollar without having dramatic public meltdowns in the toy or candy aisles?
I remember one back-to-school shopping trip at The Gap right before seventh grade. I was so excited about the load of cute clothes my mom and I brought from the fitting room to the register. And so shocked and devastated when Mom turned to me in line and suggested we split the cost.
I had no allowance to draw on. My babysitting money would hardly make a dent. Hopelessly dependent on my mother’s generosity, I made some agonizing choices and left with half of the clothes.
This was one of many ways my mom tried to teach me that it was far better to have a few fine things I really loved that a slew of one-season wares. I was raised to clean up my toys and room, help with dinner and with my little sister, but I didn’t get paid for these jobs, or receive an allowance. I did what mom said and I got what mom got me. Until I started working, she had money and I had none. Not a bad lesson at all.
My husband did receive an allowance as a kid. Given my background, I was unsettled about giving our kids allowance, until I explored the Love & Logic parenting philosophy, which encourages giving a weekly allowance at an early age. The allowance is not tied to doing chores; chores are expected ways for kids to contribute to the family. The allowance is your child´s to spend or save, regardless of whether their chores are finished (there are other consequences for not helping with chores). The theory is that giving kids an allowance allows them to make their own decision regarding saving, spending and giving. It provides them experience handling and managing money (and making mistakes with money), at relatively little cost to the parent.
We started giving Ryan, age 5, $3 a week this year, and we record it in the back of one of his notebooks. I would have gone with a buck a week, but our L&L instructor urged us to set a meaningful amount that would enable him to actually be able to afford something he wanted, like a new lego set or power ranger, in a month´s time.
You can see Ryan has been a pretty good saver. Just a few expenditures: $4.00 contribution for a t-shirt purchased at the play Shrek! and a Star Wars book I did not want to buy at his school book fair. This is the best part of allowance for us so far: we can say no to Ryan if we don’t approve of the purchase, yet still provide him the opportunity to buy items with his own money. I try to remind Ryan to bring his own money when we got to a show or a fair where I know he’ll see souvenirs he will like. I don’t always remember to let him make the purchases. Which is why he has $72.00 saved, including a whopping $20 graduation gift from his Nana Selma.
We have a few simple rules:
- If Ryan forgets to request or log his allowance for more than four weeks, we don’t have to pay him for the “arrearage.”
- If Ryan doesn’t call or say thank you for a gift received, he cannot keep it. ***Gift from Nana Selma is close to the penalty stage.****
I cleaned up our “ledger” a bit and created a kid’s bank book for you to download.
Kids Bank Book (Printable PDF – Click to Download)
THANKS FOR VISITING LOVE THEM MADLY.