Thursday, January 20, 2011

allowance and jobs

This morning, Owen surprised me by sorting the overflowing pile of laundry on the couch.  He put all the shirts in one pile, the shorts in another, the pajamas in another, and so on.  While it was not that helpful to me, I was very pleased with his initiative and unconventional sorting skills. {He helps the older kids sort clothes all the time, but usually it is sorted by ownership, not by clothing type.} He was so proud of his accomplishment and asked if he could have a quarter for his efforts.  I would be an ungrateful mom if I couldn't pay my boy a quarter once in awhile for his good attitude and nice surprise.

Typically, we do not pay our children to do work* at our house - it's just one of those things that's expected as a member of our family. However, the kids do get allowance.  Once a month they are given dollars equal to their age.  It's not going to make them rich, rather, it's a tool to teach them how to manage money.  They first pay a 10% tithe to our church, then they are required to put half in savings, which is initially a separate jar in their rooms.  Every few months, they go to the bank with dad and deposit their sums in savings accounts.  The rest (40%) is theirs to spend. These deductions also apply to money they get from babysitting, birthdays, and not eating candy for a year**.

Owen gets allowance every month too , but since he's 4, money isn't appreciated like it is with the older kids.  He typically gets 1 dollar bill and lots of coins, with which he is always thrilled and thinks the other kids get the shaft with no coins.  I think we officially started allowance with the older kids when they were 6 or 7, but Owen might start sooner, because he is starting to see that the older kids find so much value in it and they can buy "cool stuff."  Just now he went to put his newly-earned quarter away.  He came back to tell me he has enough for a space ship. He has no idea what a space ship costs, but I'm glad he has this idea of "saving."

*Some jobs are done daily, some as needed.  The expected workload includes, but is not limited to:

all (Owen included)
clean bedrooms
make beds
vacuum bedrooms
fold and put away laundry

load and unload dishwasher
help with dinner

wipe down kids' bathroom sink
set and clear dinner table (and lunch on weekends)

wipe down kids' toilet
take all garbages out

help Jonah with garbages
unload silverware from dishwasher

This system works pretty well for us.  The kids have had these same jobs for months and months.  I want them to get really good at their jobs, and maybe someday we'll change things up.  There are definitely other things they are asked to help with, but the jobs listed above are just understood and {usually sometimes} get done without us having to ask.

**The last 2 years, we have let the kids decide what to do with their "no-candy" money.  Of course, they pay their tithing, but after that, it's been theirs to spend or not.  They have all kept it in their spending jars, with no immediate plans to spend it.  Jonah always talks about buying things, but only rarely follows through.


amyraye said...

we have an almost identical system. :) only we pay them $1/per year-old weekly instead of monthly. and i direct deposit the 50% into individual savings accounts (way easier, but maybe less of a lesson on savings?). elli also has a checking account and debit card and her allowance is directly deposited into that account (also, super easy). i totally agree with the expectation of just helping out in a household and not getting paid to do so, but i really love the idea of them managing their own money and they are so much better about being able to decide what they really want/need to buy when it comes out of their own pocket. someday, i plan to get around to posting about our super successful (until i hit my first trimester) index card chore rotation. it was brilliant. :)

abby said...

it sounds like a great plan. jamie is really good at having the kids do simple chores like putting their shoes and coats away, right away. and then instilling fear in them if they don't. i'm something of a pushover. BUT when they do chores i can tell they really love it and love feeling important and helpful. i'm going to be better. thanks for the tips!

Aimee's Family Journal said...

My heart goes out to Jonah! I think he got the tough job because the wiping down of the kids toilet is just about the worst job in my book. Sometimes I am scared of that thing.

Sarah said...

yes, but he and his younger brother are the guilty parties.

Church Fam said...

Love reading that. Ty has been wanting to start something just like that. The Laundry thing cracks me up. Also Jackson took a year off of the no candy but is back on the bandwagon for this year. He too has lots of talk for spending his money, but yet to do anything about it.

skinners said...

that's exactly what my parents did for us growing up - tithing, save half, spend half. i think its a brilliant idea. for now our girls just collect coins in their piggy bank. we'll see how long it takes them to figure out what money is really for. :)

Gina said...

I was just going to do a chore blog too. We don't pay the kids anything for helping around the house, but with Em being 6, I realize that is quickly going to change as she is learning about money. I like your idea about saving and giving to church. Thanks for the little seeds of knowledge!

Jennifer said...

I love these kinds of posts! We do some similar things with chores, but you gave me some great ideas that I hadn't thought of. Thanks for sharing what is obviously one of your talents as a mom.

Jaimy said...

Sarah - this post inspired me to be more consistent with making my kids help out. They are loving the responsibility and I'm loving the help. I'm going to enjoy the honeymoon phase while it lasts. Thanks for sharing!