Thursday, June 24, 2010

this li'l piggy

I've been asked how we teach the kids about money. I don't know that there's a right way to do this - but I suppose there is a wrong way...that being, NOT teaching the kids about money.

This year, we began paying allowances consistently - meaning, we've paid them previously, but it never lasted. Eventually, I would forget or the kids would not work, but always it ended. Only to be begun again under some other structure. This time is different. This time I simply pay them when I get paid - from my bi-monthly envelope for miscellaneous expenses and groceries budget. But I've increased my expectations of the children and their chores - cuz I don't just hand out money willy-nilly. To get paid, you have to work.

We continue to have 'helpers.' You may be the bathroom helper this week, or the vacuum helper, or kitchen helper. {We've phased out dog helper - if I ask you to feed the dog, you feed the dog. Mostly, I feed him.} Kitchen helper has evolved this summer, too: Everyone is required to help in the kitchen. This is an entirely different post all on its own, but in an effort to improve family eating habits, I'm employing the help of all the kids in the kitchen.

In addition, this week I taught the kids how to sort and fold the clothes. I'm a little Type A when it comes to laundry -- so much so that Hubby is not required to assist whatsoever in laundry - I hate bumpy piles. And don't knock down my folded piles, or ... geesh, don't get me started! This week, however, I decided it would be better to teach the right way than to go the 8 loads alone yet we vacuumed all the dog hair off the floor and made 6 piles. Then, one by one, we chanted over t-shirts, over shorts, over other belongings - "make it flat, fold it like that, make it flat, and fold it in half!" (OK, so my poetry chants are little fowl. They got the idea, nevertheless! I was so completely thrilled with their flat, nonwrinkly piles that I actually teared up!)

But, back to teaching the kids about money. We pay based on your age. So, Meiners just enjoyed a healthy 20% pay increase as he celebrated his 6th birthday ($6 for 6 years-old). The kids are encouraged to give at least 10% to church in the weekly offering. They are told to save half of whatever they bring in (including birthday money, extra cash they earn...). Whatever is left, they can spend with CFO veto privileges (I am the CFO - Chief Financial Officer, in this case).

And just so I don't win any Money Mommy of the Year Awards, let me assure you - I have no problem not actually paying out the cash per agreement...for instance: Pookie hasn't made her bed in three weeks. Making your bed is first on the list. You don't make your bed, I decide not to pay you. Meiners folded his clothes like a champ. Scored an A+++ in folding. He just failed to put the folded clothes away, so now they are in a lump on his bedroom floor. NO $ FOR YOU! (Ha - total Soup Nazi reference...) OK, I exaggerate. The boy received his allowance. Just a wee bit less than he'd planned. Seriously - I feel awful about not giving the kids their allowance. But I don't pay Lazy. Oh. And if you leave your money sitting on the counter and I find it? Consider it mine. ... Just ask Mr. T. {That'll be 2 Icee Mochas for me...}

That's the crux of how we run the children's treasury around here. Do they have a clue, yet, as to the value of money? I don't think so. But, I do love to watch them save up their money for the next Bakugan toy rather than asking me to purchase it for them. And I especially love, after visiting the World Bird Sanctuary yesterday, how Pookie and Meiners brainstormed ways to bring in extra cash so that they could adopt a bird...Of course, they thought that meant adopt in the traditional sense - i.e. the American Kestrel comes to live with you and your family - but we nipped that misconception in the bud. Nonetheless, tomorrow I'll share with you their fabulous idea. Consider owls, cupcakes, and a fundraiser. {And if you live in St. Louis and have an email address, you've been warned!}

See you soon!
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