As the kids got a bit older we started wanting a way to have them learn about money. I think it’s a travesty that teaching our kids about finances and money isn’t a part of school. All high school kids should learn about money, budgeting, borrowing, credit, financing, mortgages, etc. In my opinion anyway. But alas, they don’t. So Kyle and I are committed to making sure our kids have an understanding of how money works as they grow up. Right now, they’re only 5 and 7 years old, so they’re not *quite* ready to learn how to structure a mortgage yet, but we’re starting with understanding the work-for-money and save-for-stuff rules.
I tried to make something a little more than a chore chart. I wanted to give the kids an allowance, but to be honest, I don’t want to give them cash (there’s little enough of that to go around as it is!). All they can really buy with cash at their age is toys or candy. Having more of either of those things in our house doesn’t make me excited (unless the candy is for me). So I decided on creating our own family dollars. This way they can earn dollars doing chores, I don’t have to keep a ton of cash on me, and they can “buy” a wider variety of things with their money.
This is how our chore chart works: We started with a list of “Every Day Chores”. Pretty self-explanatory, these are the chores they are expected to do everyday without reward. I believe in teaching children that everyone in the family works in order to make the family run smoothly. Sometimes we take care of ourselves (put our own clothes in the hamper) and sometimes we take care of everyone (Mommy does the laundry for everyone to have clean clothes, and Daddy cuts the grass for everyone to play in). I explain to them that they get privileges as part of our family team and are expected to do their share of chores as part of that team as well. If they chose not to do those basic every day chores, they would lose those basic everyday privileges. So at the end of the day, as part of our bedtime routine, we go through and stick check marks on the everyday chores they have completed or not. It’s ok to forget once in awhile, or to have a busy day and miss something, as long as it’s not a consistent problem, I’m not too strict about it. (The kids LOVE sticking their check marks on the chart, and it makes them more excited to complete their chores- bonus!)
Next we have the list of extra chores they can do to earn money. Since the kids are young, they cant do a huge variety of chores, but you would of course tailor yours to your kids’ ages. Each chore has a value, and depending on what they want to buy, they can figure out which chores will add up to the right amount of money for them (hooray for sneaking in some math skills!)
Next we have the list of things they can purchase with their hard earned dollars. We’ve made quite a few changes to this list, and Kyle and I have had to have some discussions about what is something you have to buy, and what is something that should be a given. Anyway, the point is, you tweak it over time and get it just right for you and your kids. You’d obviously tailor it specifically to your family and what your kids value the most. An example of some of our most purchased rewards are extra pizza slices for their iPad Pizzas, staying up late, iPad in bed, a trip to the dollar store to pick a toy, and if they both save up enough (we made a rule that we don’t go until they’ve BOTH saved enough to go- no one gets left behind) then we go to Playtrium (our local indoor playground). I’m sure there will be more privileges we can add as the kids get older and their interests expand. Right now I’m very pleased with how it’s working to teach them the value of a dollar earned, and to save their money up for bigger and better items.
One last note: beware of forgers! I found this in the packet of money one night.