I have learned over time that making a child work for a desired item BEFORE they receive it more often than not results in the child not wanting the item after having worked hard to earn it. I have asked the child why the thing was no longer desired after all that work to secure it? The answer is usually that they worked so hard for the item and after seeing how much money it cost and the time it took to earn it, it is not quite as desired as before.
First, I give Maeve an allowance, and she can use it on whatever she wants. I buy her what she needs, and I do even buy toys on occasion. But when we are at the store and she wants a magazine, or another toy, she has to spend her own money. She really does think twice. I keep the allowance very small, ($2 per week) otherwise, she would be able to buy too often. She has to actually save up a while for stuff she really wants.
I do not pay Maeve for chores, but she is responsible for her chores, just like I am responsible for paying her each week. Because we have chickens, she can gather the eggs to sale the extras. Lately, she hasn’t been on top of collecting the eggs. If I have to collect the eggs she doesn’t get to sell them. When she asked me to raise her allowance, I told her that if she was really in need of extra money, she could “work” for it. If she works on a consistent basis and showed me how important earning money is to her, I would consider raising her allowance. Maeve wants an American Girl Doll ($100) so she started pulling weeds for me to earn extra money.
I liked what Lorraine said about buying and caring for her own clothes. Maeve has begun doing her own laundry, but I haven’t figured out a budget for clothes to know what I should give her in allowance for her to buy her own clothes. I look forward to her valuing her clothes more. She is too quick now to “tire” of clothes, or decide she doesn’t like them.
When I was growing up, I clearly understood from my parents that when I turned 12 years old I would become completely responsible for my own clothes–laundry, ironing, purchasing, etc. I babysat, picked berries and beans (insane labor laws no longer allow this rite of passage!), did what I could to provide for myself. We instituted the same practice with our children. And for the most part, it worked. They laundered and ironed their own clothing. They babysat, mowed lawns, painted, did janitorial work, whatever. We discouraged working too much during the school year as we wanted them to concentrate on being good students. School was their primary occupation during their teenage years. But summers were dedicated to work. One daughter even managed to have $8,000 saved by the time she began college. Good thing too, because she chose to go to the University of Utah where she had to pay out of state tuition–very costly.
Making children responsible for their own lives as soon as possible is always a good thing. It is truly the difference between giving then the fish to eat or teaching them how to fish in order to feed themselves.
P.S. I did not have the money to go directly to college after high school and the BYU scholarship I received was not sufficient. I worked as a telephone operator for 15 months, then took a leave of absence each year for the next four years while I completed my bachelor’s degree at BYU. The money that I had made in that 15 month period of time, combined with each summer’s wages saw me through to graduation with $200 to spare which paid for my wedding (nothing fancy for sure!). Obviously, times were vastly different then. I couldn’t hold this endeavor up for much respect, except to say that I found means to pay my own way.
I had a very good friend (from a working class family in our neighborhood) who got a great scholarship to Harvard out of high school. He still had to work to subsidize his scholarship. He did and not only graduated from Harvard, but then received advanced degrees from Boston University and UC Berkely. He is now the head AIDS officer in the Dominican Republic after having served as part of the American Diplomatic Corps all of these years. He, like the rest of us who grew up in the neighborhood, knew we had to work for what we wanted…………
Laraine L. Thompson
One thing that helped me with helping one of my child learn about money management was the Personal Finance Merit Badge. When one of my boys was a teenager, he always complained because we did not let him have everything he wanted. When he started working on this badge, all the receipts and expenses went into a small box for him to go through, and when he saw the house payment, and all the other bills, he never complained afterwards. He had a part time job and learned to save for what he wanted. At the time I was sewing to earn the money to provide for a missionary, too. It was a real eye opener for him, and he learned to take better care of his hard earned money after this experience.
Last weekend our sons went on the annual scout woodcut on Mt Hood. They told me they needed “at least $5” each for a fast food lunch on the way home the next day. I told them that was fine but I didn’t have any cash for them now so asked if they could pay for it themselves. They have to work for their money doing jobs for others. (Rent-a-Son) That was fine with them too. The next day as they packed to leave they asked if they could just bring a sandwich from home so they didn’t have to WASTE their money on junk food. I told them pretty much the only sandwich that will survive the 24 hours (room temp) would be a cheese sandwich on bread with butter only. (We use Tillamook Cheddar) Again that was fine, with a couple of apples, granola bar, nuts and water they were set.When they got home I asked them how lunch was. “Great! “was the reply. I asked them if they felt bad cause the other boys were eating Dairy Queen, they said “Nope! besides our food actually tasted better!” We seldom do fast food. In fact my kids do more fast food on church trips than they ever get from me! Guess I know what to say next time they ask me for lunch money for an outing!Sally