Thursday, September 20, 2007

This Little Piggy

I don't think I remember what I did with Jean in terms of allowance, and I'm sure I wasn't able to teach her much about saving and spending wisely. You know from my previous posts that I didn't know much myself.

As for my own childhood, I received an allowance, but it wasn't dependent on me doing chores around the house. It was simply a bit of spending money for things like make-up, records (yeah, I said records) and magazines. All of my necessities for school, including clothing, shoes, school supplies, and lunch money were provided by my parents. If my younger brother and I went to movies or skating, sometimes we'd pay for it ourselves, but other times my parents would foot the bill. I know now that they probably just wanted us out of the house for a while. It was cheaper than therapy.

We just started giving Kat an allowance on her 4th birthday. She gets 50¢ a week. While we don't want her allowance to be entirely dependent on her doing chores, we do want her to know that her contributions around the house are important. Her "chore" is to drop the laundry down the laundry chute for us most days. That and to general avoid being a holy terror around the house. She has two banks, a piggy and a bear. Half of her allowance goes in the piggy for spending and the other half goes in the bear is for saving.

She has only the vaguest concept of what money is for. She understands that she must give some money to the clerk at the store or the lady running the garage sale before she can get something she wants. She's having a really hard time with the concept of saving, so I put it in terms she can (kind of) grasp. I've told her that if she saves her bear money for a very, very long time, when she's a big girl, she can buy a car or even a house. She gets it...sort of.

Later, as her allowance increases, I'll probably have her dedicate a dime on the dollar to some kind of charitable contribution. I probably won't start that for a couple of years though, after she has a better grasp of coin denominations, counting, etc.

I'm curious what others are doing with allowances for kids. If you have creative ideas, please share!


Bluepaintred said...

we had told Rainbow man that if he went through his four dental appointments without fuss - big ones, he has three teeth that need to be extracted, two different appliances, a crown and several cavities - he would get to pick a game for his gameboy. the are expensive games - 30 0r 40 dollars.

at this third appointment he freaked out and the next day, knowing I had given up on traditional dentistry - he is going to the hospital to be put under general anesthetic to get his dental work done - he asked for his game.

when i explained why I was not getting him the game, he accepted it and then returned half an hour later to ask if he could get a job in the winter shoveling driveways for people.

I told him that at seven/eight he is too young but that if he wanted, I would pay him to clear our driveway.

We have not come up with a set amount of what he will be paid, but I LOVE the idea of a savings bank and a play bank!


DadGuy said...

We have nothing yet for our kids. I am hoping we can pare down what they are getting before we start into giving them money to get more. I'm sure we'll start with more of that stuff soon (job charts, official chores, etc) but for now it's just special occasions.

Annie Jones said...

Blue: I call "cruel and unusual" punishment. You should be paying the boy! But then again, I'm a HUGE wimp when it comes to going to the dentist and want a reward myself. :(

I don't know if there's a truly right way to handle this, but I didn't do anything formal with Jean (Kat's mom) and I feel like doing something (anything) to help educate her about money would have been a better choice.

Dadguy: Paring down is important, too. When we had each of our garage sales this summer, we emphasized that if Kat could sell some of her toys at the sale, she'd have enough money and space to get something special that she's had her eye on.

Jean said...

I remember that when we lived in the second apartment in GV there was a calender on the wall in the kitchen. Each day I had to accomplish a list of tasks, each one being worth a certain amount of change which generally amounted to something like $1.50 a day. This was in middle school where I would spend my entire allowance every weekend going to Skateland from which I would get kicked out nearly every time because we were white and "freaks".

Ah, the memories.

Annie Jones said...

Jean: I can remember making a chore chart for you, but also remember that neither of us was very good about executing it for more than a week or so. :(