As parents, Brent and I have been discussing for a while the topics of chores and allowances. Neither one of us grew up with an allowance tied to chores. We had household chores we were responsible for, but if we wanted money from our parents, then we needed to do extra work to earn it.
I never had an allowance, either. My mom always said she’d provide all my necessities and anything else I needed/wanted within reason. This was absolutely true throughout the time I lived at home. Even when I had my own job in high school, my mom still provided a lot of my necessities. But, as my income grew, so did my freedom to shop when I wanted. That led to me buying a lot more of those necessities on my own. For me it was an easy transition into college life and living on my own. Though I have to admit, I missed my mom keeping the kitchen stocked with food and the bathroom full of toiletries.
So, back to our new outlook as parents.Sammi has been learning about money at preschool and is really aware of buying things with money when we go shopping. She always asks if she can hold the money and pay for it. Elli is now a pro at swiping the credit card at the grocery store. Brent and I have wanted a way for the girls to have more opportunities to handle money in a more responsible way (up till now they’ve had a hay day emptying their piggy banks and filling them again, but not careful to make sure no coins were lost in the process).
Since we didn’t just want to give them money unattached to any responsibilities (because when does that really happen in life?!) and because they are getting old enough to learn how to do more chores around the house, we decided to create a chore chart and give them an allowance each week. This way they learn that they work to earn money and they are helping me keep the house organized.
I did a lot of research trying to find ideas for chores for 2 and 4 year olds. Most of what I found were things that the girls already know how to do and do willingly. I didn’t want them to all of a sudden start earning money for brushing their teeth or getting dressed. It seemed like a regression. So I am using the chore chart as a way to teach new household tasks to them. When they’ve mastered what’s on their chore list, then we’ll replace those chores with new tasks, assuming they will continue to do the things they’ve learned how to do. My favorite find was a this post on chores with a free download for a chore chart from simplemom.net.
With Brent in medical school and our income quite limited, we thought a lot about how much they should each receive for their allowances. Since their money will be to buy whatever they want (meaning we will still buy everything they need and most of their wants) I also didn’t want it to be so much that they were constantly in consumer mode. We settled on 10 cents for each year of their age. Sammi gets 40 cents a week and Elli gets 20 cents a week.
We introduced the new system to them last night along with their first allowance so they could see how everything worked together. Sammi was pumped. When I went over her chore chart with her new responsibilities she kept saying things like, “I know I can do that!” As part of their learning to manage their money, we also set up a system for them to put their money into three groups: charitable giving, savings, and spending. For us, charitable giving will start with tithing, or giving 10% back the the Lord. Then from what’s left they save 50% and put the other 50% into their wallet for spending.
Growing up I had a little box that was divided into three sections. I liked that idea, but I wanted something that separated the three a little more. We already had piggy banks for the girls so we just turned little canning jars into tithing banks and then bought little change purses for their spending money. I liked the idea of the spending money being stored in a change purse because it would be easy to grab and take to the store. I let the girls pick out their own purses and they loved carrying them around last night after we put their first allowance in them. But them we promptly put them way up on top of the desk along with their other two storage jars for safe keeping. My current plan is to take them shopping once a month with their spending money and see if there’s anything they want.