Thursday, October 11, 2007

penny for your thoughts

So far my Thoughts for Thursday musings have been fun topics for discussion, different opinions on ways of doing things, or just me plain venting about certain subjects. This week I need advice.

Savannah's been saving some money for a special toy. This consists of the loose change she finds, scouring the car for pennies, and offering to take about four dollars of change off my hands that I accumulated while cleaning out our catch-all basket in the kitchen. She even delegated part of her own collection in her regular piggy bank to add to this special savings.

So far I'm impressed:
(she won this nifty bank at the Pfizer picnic last week... perfect for a specific savings goal!!)

All this counting and saving and working toward a goal for spending her own money has got me thinking about an allowance. Ryan and I want our kids to have allowances. Neither one of us really got one growing up and are kind of at a loss of how we want this to work. I want my kids to learn and practice spending, giving, and saving. Money and I are not friends, never have been, and I think part of the reason that spending wisely, saving and giving do not come naturally or easily to me is because I was never really taught any of these things or given much opportunity to do so when I was young. I would like to do that for my kids.

Here are my ideas so far. I want to use this "savings project" as an introduction to this money thing for Savannah. I was thinking after she accomplishes this goal, and maybe making up one more after that with maybe some bigger "chores" or special jobs she can do to earn money for them, then we can talk with her about making up a regular "income".
On a regular basis, I don't know about tying "chores" to allowance. I mean, I'm all for extra jobs earning extra money, but I don't really want to tie regular household family member responsibilities to her allowance (things like making bed, setting/clearing dishes, cleaning up room, helping with dishwasher or sorting laundry, etc.). I want them to simply be responsibilities. And I'm trying to implement those on a more regular basis now, before the allowance starts.
Is it odd to just receive a regular allowance without a list of "chores"?
Now, I'm not talking about a huge amount of money. I think the normal theory I hear is a dollar per year each week. Meaning if we started this winter, $4/week. That seems like a lot to me. I think half of that seems more right for us. I mean, when my kids are 10, I don't think they need to be collecting $40 a month! I don't know, maybe they do?

So, questions for you!
Did you have an allowance growing up? How did that go?
Any idea what the typical kid out there gets? How it works? Is it for chores done or just because?
What's a good age to start? I'm thinking we're about there with Savannah asking more and more questions about money and how much things cost and how to count money and asking to buy things on her own.
Should it be connected to chores?
Do you think they should have to buy certain "necessities" out of their own money, eg. their own toothpaste, school lunches, etc., or is it all just for fun spending?
Should they be required to save a certain amount?

Do you/Are you planning on doing an allowance with your kids?

Please share any and all info/ideas/suggestions you may have...
I'm ready for it!!


Anonymous said...

This is how it was when I was growing up as far allowances (and how it will be with our kids as well)...

Our allowance was a low, flat rate every week. (I think my brother and I each got a dollar before we turned ten, then it went up, if I'm remembering correctly.) This money was ours to do with as we wished. Spend, save, whatever. Saving was encouraged. We did not have to spend it on things we "needed" (toothpaste, etc) but we saved it for things we "wanted" (special toy, etc).
In addition to our allowance we could do extra things around the house if there was something we were really working to buy (wash the car for $.50, etc). Regular chores were not tied in to our allowance, they were they should be.
The allowance was also a last-ditch, big punishment. They didn't take it often, and when they did it was because of something HUGE we did.

That's how it's going to be around here. We're waiting until Alyssa turns five, and then we'll jump into it. Not sure what we'll start with, we need to give it some more thought before we start her up! I want them to be encouraged to save, so it can't be too much cuz then of course they'll save for a month and blow!

Emilie said...

Okay, well growing up I got an allowance. I got $7/week. A dollar a day. I cant remember how old I was though.But I earned 7 forever...the entire time I got an allowance. BUT, I did things that helped out our family, took care of our pets, vaccumed, helped make dinner, yard work.
My sister, (Who has 4 little girls) gives her kids an allowance and they have to save some like in a savings for Long term, they give some to the church and then they save the rest for anything they want. And they earn an allowance by just random things, not really "chores." Say stuff like helping a family member when they need something, comforting someone (FM) whose sad, asking if someone needs something, like the oldest will ask Tarra(MY sister) if she needs help with making dinner. Im not sure how they keep track of who does what... but at the end of the week they all get 5 dollars and then the split it three ways, long term saving, God and Fun money.
I dont know if that helps. BUt just a thought~ :)

Anonymous said...

Well, I was never taught either. No allowance,so when I was old enough to babysit(at 12) I could spend (or save)my earnings.I recently saw Dave Ramsey speak a little on kids and money.I know he advises 3 different envelopes.Save,Spend,Give.Check out his website.:)

jenny said...

i never really had an allowance when i was a kid. i started earning money when i got my first job (age 14). the money was to do with as i wanted, but i was encouraged to save it.

my husband said he had an allowance for a few years when he was younger (grade school) and he would get money for extra 'jobs' around the house. i agree with this because i think it is important (like you said) to teach your children that they have responsibilities around the house.

i think that i would like to have tucker get some type of an allowance and have him split it up into different areas of savings. i think teaching your children the value of money as they grow up is so important!

Katie said...

I heard John Maxwell speak once on this and he said that his dad gave him an allowance per book he read. When he finally questioned him on it when he got older, his dad told him he was trying to raise an educated son, not a future garbage-man. I thought that was an interesting take on it.

Once they start earning it, I'm not sure from that point. I like teaching them about saving and giving. I've got a little while since right now Eliot just tries to eat money.

Heather S. said...

Neither Kevin nor I received allowances growing up, so we have yet to decide what we will do. Dr. Kevin Leman has a book "Making Children Mind without Losing Yours" that has a chapter on allowances. Good advice.

Kim said...

Ours was the same pretty much as Jessica's - we were given a flat rate (wasn't alot) every week which was ours to spend or save. We had chores that were required but not tied to the allowance and if we wanted to earn more, we could.

Also, if we wanted to do something more big ticket (Michael Jackson concert was one of them HAHA), my mom would not give us our allowance for the amount of weeks it took and made a chart on the fridge so we could see how close we were to paying it off etc. Really gave us an idea of how much things cost and how long you save for certain things.

My mom was a single parent as well so we didn't have a ton of money so besides Christmas/birthday, we didn't get alot of things so we were encouraged to save for it.

Brad's parents were the same - he had RSP's when he had a paper route!! Then again, his mom was a bank manager LOL

Nicole said...

I don't remember really having a set allowance as a child. I remember occasionally getting an allowance, but nothing really structured.

When I was about 11 or 12 and was saving up to buy my horse, I had my parents give me some jobs around the house to get paid for.

I like the ideas suggested of a set allowance per week kind of as an "income" but I think along with that it shouldn't just be "free money"... it should come along with guidance from the parents with how to spend it (like Emilie said... saving, spending, and God or whatever your "categories" of choice are). I also like the idea of having other jobs to earn money too.

I haven't even begun to think of how we'll handle this with our kids. Hopefully by then you'll have some method down that I can copy HAHA!

Nicole said...

I'll also add... around the same time I had my parents set up the "allowance" to save $$ for my horse I had started babysitting a lot to save money. I used to be REALLY good with saving, and after I bought Lacey I had the "envelope" system where I had money for "Hay", "Vet" "Boarding" and other things that I needed to split money up for. Can you imagine... a 13 year old being this organized? What the hell happened to me??? I was like a freaking Dave Ramsey child HAHA!

Kristi @ Mi Vida Ocupada said...

My parent's policy was that we would get an allowance (equal for all 3 kids), but only if we did our weekly "jobs", which we rotated. My dad very much encouraged us to save our money when we wanted something important and he would always match us toward a big purchase. When I was 11 I had a cookie business in my neighborhood and earned enough money to buy myself half a waterbed. My dada paid the other half. We were never spoiled, this taught us to value our things much more when we saved enough to earn them. My dad would also take us to the bank and demonstrated making deposits, and just modeling the importance of saving. I was pretty lucky to have such great parents :)

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