Monday, February 11, 2013

Kids and Money

Owen's been asking us for six months (to a year) to give him an opportunity to earn some money for  his own use.  We've resisted it for a long time, mostly because we don't have a lot of money beyond the basic necessities of running our household, but we were staring to feel like he he needed some kind of opportunity like that.  The final decision was made during fall General Conference when there was a few things that stood out to us including a talk specifically referring to benefits of giving children the opportunity to earn money.  And another one about children gaining responsibility using allowance money.  FINE! we said:-)  We'll do it.

So we've started slowly working into it the last few months, but we're ready to get serious now. 

We've decided to implement a system based off of this one and the one that it is based off of.   What we came up with is a system that is a little better for our current family situation, with the ages and abilities of our family.  Both of those systems suggest that Jonas and maybe even Owen would be too young to start, but they're not too young to be helping around the house anyway and they're definitely not too young to be asking for things at the store, so I think they're old enough for our version, which will definitely expand and become more independently driven as they get older, but right now is pretty low-level.

 In General Conference Elder L. Tom Perry spoke of teaching "'family economics,' where children have household responsibilities and can earn allowances so that they can learn to budget, save, and pay tithing on the money they earn."  Basically as we've been easing into this, we've realized that for our children to get these benefits of a family economy, it needs to be more structured and orderly.

So this system is much more structured than a lot of what we do in our home (including homeschooling even!) but I feel like it needs to be this way.  Finances have to be dealt with with exacting self-discipline.  There's no buffer.  If you over-draw your bank account it's overdrawn, and getting trapped in the credit pit needs to be avoided at all costs.  So those this chore and money system seems pretty rigid, but it's to teach our kids that money matters are serious ones.

The other thing that held us back was the idea that our children should help around the house because they are members of the family, not because they earn something for doing it.  The system we've created strikes a balance with that issue that I am satisfied with.

Chore System 
Boys can earn money for doing daily chores
Chores are in three inseparable groupings (morning, day, evening)

In a week each boy can earn as many dollars as his age
Boys also may earn extra chore money by doing chores on the “extra” list

All additional tasks given by Mom or Dad are simply to help the family, and should be completed with cheerful faces, without complaint, or asking for money.

Morning chores must be completed by 9:00 am
Evening chores must be completed by 7:15 pm

Upon completion, chore slips must be signed by mom or dad and placed in the bank box.

All chores will be cashed in once a week on pay day 
Must have at least 50% chore completion to earn 50% of total allowance
Must have at least 75% chore completion to earn 75% of total allowance
Must have 100% chore completion to earn 100% of total allowance
Boys may "bump up" to the next percentage level by memorizing a poem, quote or scripture.

“Extra” chores may only be cashed in if  75% completion of daily chores was reached that week
Disqualified “extra” chores will remain in bank box until a week wherein 75% completion is achieved

Boys will follow the 10-20-70 rule

Daily Chores
Morning chore: Make bed
          Put away pajamas
          Get dressed

Day chore: dishes, laundry, or sous-chef (rotates daily, helping Mom or Dad)

Evening chore: Clean up toys
          Dress in Pajamas
          Put away day’s clothes
          Brush teeth

Extra Chores $.50 each
Vacuum carpet
Take out garbage
Feed/water chickens
Clean up 1 bin of toys unasked
Straighten kids book shelf
Help sort recycling
Carry in groceries

10-20-70 Rule
10% of money goes to tithing
20% of money goes to save for mission/college
70% of money is given to boys to spend

And here is how it really works:

 This is our chore station on the side of the fridge.  Every morning they get a new slip with their name on it and three blank squares.  At 9:00 if the morning chores are done they get their first sticker.  The other two stickers are given out in the evening if they helped with their day chore, and when they've completed their evening chores.  Then they take their slip for the day and put it in the family bank box.

If they do an "extra chore" during the day we write that chore and $.50 and their name on a slip by itself and put that in the bank box. 

 Saturday morning after breakfast I get out the bank box.  We tally up the slips and see if they got 50-75-or 100% of their chores to earn their age in dollars.  Then I add on the amount for any extra chores.  Then we figure out tithing, and savings.  I distribute cash (including change) so they can give me back their tithing and savings.  Their tithing goes into a tithing envelope in the box which we'll take to church periodically (I also write the amount we put in each week on the back of the envelope, so we can keep track in case they get accidentally dumped.)

They pay their savings back to the bank, and I record it in a blank check register ledger to keep track.  We won't actually worry about keeping that money in our family bank, but I told the boys that when they reach $100 that we will open them their own savings account with that amount at a "real" bank.  The rest of the money they earned is theirs to do what they want with.  They each have little piggy banks to store their cash in.  At that point the family bank "closes" until next Saturday morning.

We've used the system for three full weeks now.  The first week the boys got 75%, the second week they got 100% and the third week they got 50%--mostly because I was sick and Jeremy was super busy so we weren't doing our day-time chores to have them help.

Obviously Wyatt is too young for this system, but we still have him help around the house.  We are really encouraging Owen to become more self-motivated in this endeavor, but Jonas is still young enough that basically all of his chores have to be done with "help."

We haven't had the boys do the memorization to bump up to the next level yet, but I think they will do that this week, because they were really dragging their feet Saturday morning, and didn't get their chores done in time.  But beside that we plan on this week being a 100% week again, since I'm feeling better again.  (And come on--it always comes back to the mom doesn't it?) 

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