Friday, September 3, 2010
Let's talk about money
We have an allowance system in place for our family - my husband even takes out a personal allowance that goes into a different bank account for him. I'm the only one that doesn't really take out the allowance and use it on myself (something I need to work on).
Personal allowances, and the fact that the kids get their allowance on "Allowance Day" is a big help when they are shopping with me. If they see something they want, I can just suggest they save up their allowance. It has cut back on begging and whining in stores like a charm.
But I've been sliding and getting lax on our original intent, which was to require the kids to also save part of their allowance and donate part to a charity of their choice. I've been taking them to the store without giving them cash first, and letting them each pick out something roughly in the ballpark of their allowance amount. If the sales tax pushed it over, or it was a couple bucks more than they had, I just covered it for them and they really never handled the money themselves - it was all on my debit card.
Not the point of an allowance, I think. It's exactly the mindset that doesn't pay too much attention to how much something costs that has led me to carry credit card debt that slowly creeps up month by month.
On the flipside of spending money is earning money. I really hate it when kids aren't willing to do anything around the house unless they are paid for it, and I think chores are mandatory parts of life. But - there are limited ways that kids can earn money, and my kids are very interested in earning more money. I'm trying to think of "extras" that make sense to pay them for. And I'll pay them in cash, but they have to keep the cash out in the open (it has been lost in their bedrooms before, so this is just safer - money is not a toy).
So far, I've paid them for "being their own babysitter" at work one night when I couldn't find a sitter. I'll also pay for them to fold my laundry (not theirs - they really should fold their own), and I'll pay a bounty on all dandelions pulled up out of the yard. Carbon really wants to set up a lemonade stand, but the season for that is already past. We'll keep thinking about entrepreneurial opportunities for him.
And they are back to donating part of their money - they both chose the World Wildlife Fund as their charity.
How do you handle money? What do you think leads to better money habits?