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Tuppence for Paper and String

October 24, 2012

Written by Marykate Wurster, mother of three wonderful children, Gladwyne, PA

I like to keep things simple. And I have been wanting to incorporate an allowance system for my children for some time now and finally got to it. So what was I thinking when my oldest daughter and I came up with this?

 

Not Simple.

As you can imagine, so a complex a paying scale and tracking system was much too taxing on time and resources. So it went no where. And then, as it often happens with me, I got a great idea from a good friend. Her idea was simple and clean and so much better than mine. So I used it and made it my own.

Here is the concept – one dollar per day, per child. I thought about .50 a day but then decided they have to save half of what they earn and can spend the other half. Can you say 5 Below?

I created a chore list and broke it out by before school, after school and then evening. They have to do all of them to earn their dollar for the day.Some aren’t chores but have to do with being ready on time for bed, leaving for the bus, that type of thing. I have a grid right next to it – nothing fancy, taped to the wall where they can see it with their names and Monday – Friday (they are “off” on the weekends – we all need a break). If they do their chores for the day – a check mark and $1 applied. If not, no check, no $1. My intention was to set attainable goals and so I started with things they did already (made beds, cleared the table) and added things that were new – setting the table. This is a start and I can always add to this or change it as needed.

We keep an early bedtime – early to bed, early to rise….

When I consider the concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals all elements are here – (I take no credit for this). S – specific (what the chores are), M – measurable (a check if they did them), A – attainable – (these are all things they can and should do), R -relevant – (it teaches responsibility relevant to their life), and finally T – time measurable – (it has a set time frame).

Our next step is to go to the bank this weekend. Wells Fargo has a children’s checking account program where they can each open their own account. I am sure many other banks do as well. ¬†What I like about Wells Fargo is again, the ease – I can transfer in their allowance and show them how their money is growing. They can learn about saving, interest and there is a lesson in economics here. The lemonade stand, earning money for chores – I am thinking Adam Smith, on a 7 year old level. And then I have this vision that haunts me from Mary Poppins, when Jane and Michael went to the bank. We won’t be watching this movie before Saturday. I don’t want to give them any ideas.

My friend with the great allowance system is a contracts attorney. So she drafted a contract and had her children sign it which I think is brilliant. She has their buy in and commitment. She also has an envelope at the start of the week with the money already in it (again brilliant) so they can see it, feel it, taste it. If they do their chores, it remains, if not, it comes out.

And because it is such a non fuss system – it works! I am so happy to finally have a concept that makes sense. Who else has some allowance ideas to share?

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