I’m hoping that you’ve read the post previous to this one about “Chore Charts“. As I mentioned there, it has worked like a charm for us. Having the kids learn to complete the chore is one objective, but teaching them how to manage the money that they earn – well, THAT is what it’s all about for me!
I have put a cap on chores at $10 every two weeks. I did that for a couple of reasons. The first is that I’m not going to go broke over the chores of a 6 and 7 year old! Truthfully, we are only awake in this house about 3 hours per day. How often could the cabinets – truthfully – need to be wiped down? I’m hoping that the cap will teach the kids that this is a way for them to earn money, but isn’t a “get rich quick” operation.
As the children get older, I will raise the pay limit and the price paid per chore. Take that into consideration when developing your chart. You might want a cap at $3-4 for a preschool child. It might be $30 for a tween. Decide based upon your budget and your child!
Being the Dave Ramsey fan that I am, I had already decided that I would have the kids use the “Give, Save, Spend” method. Isn’t that what we do as adults? I see no reason that kids can’t learn this from the start.
However, I hadn’t quite thought through “how” we would do that. Would I put it in marked envelopes? Would they put it in their piggy bank and keep a running total on a piece of paper? I didn’t get that far in my thinking. Pay day was coming, but thankfully, I was saved!
I arrived home one day – about 2 weeks after I returned from Blissdom and the debut of ”this” chore business. There were boxes piled on my doorstep. They all had “Dave Ramsey” on the return address. I had hit pay-dirt. The Ramsey Team had sent me a large supply of “get started tools”. I felt like crying. I’ve never been so grateful.
Included in my gift was the “Junior’s Adventures Bank“. This bank appears as if it is connected together, but it is actually in 3 pieces. One is marked “give” and it’s the smallest. Another is marked “spend” and it’s a little larger than “give”. The third is marked “save” and it’s the biggest. This was the answer to the problem that I didn’t even realize I was going to have!
Of course, we opened the banks first and it only took about 15 seconds to figure out that I was going to need to purchase a second set. I hopped over to Dave’s site and found that they were 50% off. (The sale is still going on. You can get them RIGHT NOW for $14.95.)
I asked the kids if they knew why it was important to “give, save and spend”. They got the basic concept of each, but when I brought up the word “debt,” they were lost. Avery even made the comment, something to the effect of “Well, you can’t buy something that you don’t have the money for, so debt can’t exist.” I was glad to know that he didn’t even realize there was such a word, but he certainly needs to know that you CAN actually buy stuff that you can’t afford. Enter Junior again … but this time in a book series. We also received this box set of kid’s books and I noticed that there was one that focused on “debt”. I suggested that we read it immediately and I’m so glad that we did.
The premise of the book “Battle of the Chores” is that Junior wants to buy a DVD at the store and borrows the money from his sister. In return, he has to do his chores and his sister’s chores the following week to be able to earn enough money to pay her back. By the time that Junior does both sets of chores, he doesn’t even have time to take the DVD out of the wrapper! If he hadn’t borrowed the money and just did his chores like usual the following week, he would have had enough money to buy the DVD. Delayed gradification and “debt”.
The sky opened up. The smallest of the small and the biggest of the big TOTALLY understood. It was miraculous.
From that point, we were able to talk about how much we wanted to put into each bank. We talked about tithing and that they needed to do a minimum of 10%. (Move the decimal over 1 place. Fantastically easy math.) That covered “give”.
Next up, “save”. This was a little harder, because they wanted to use “save” as if it meant “I’m saving for a big toy that I want.” To me that is “spend”. Save, for us, is larger. “I stepped on my brother’s iPod, broke it and now it needs to be replaced.” or “I just turned 16 and I need a car.”
And everyone’s favorite, “spend”. This bank can be used on whatever they want. If they want a big toy, we’ll encourage them to grow this bank, instead of taking the money from “save”.
Other than the 10% minimum for “give”, I didn’t set a percentage that needs to go into “save” and “spend”. I’m hoping that over time, they will realize that it’s always better to “save”. As a matter of fact, when they split up their money on the first payday, both kids put more money into “save” than “spend”. I really praised them for that and hope that they continue. If at any point, I see that they are going a different direction, I’m sure that we’ll talk about it. But, for now, they are doing it correctly by instinct.
Finally, knowing that they would constantly be dumping out the banks and counting the money, I’ve set up a spreadsheet to track the money. Each column is set up to total at the bottom, so the kids can see how much is currently in each bank. There is also a formula to combine the totals from each bank for an all-inclusive total. It’s complete overkill, but I can see what’s coming and don’t want them emptying banks every day doing the count!
This has been a rewarding experience for all of us. It doesn’t matter if you follow the principles of Dave Ramsey or something you make up on your own – teaching kids the value of a dollar is one of the greatest gifts that you can give them. Start early. I wish I’d done this years ago! Or better yet, I wish this had been done with me!!!
I was gifted the products that I spoke of from Dave Ramsey and his team. I did not agree to blog about these products in return. The views are solely my own and I am not being compensated for my words or the links embedded.