Sunday, June 23, 2013

Spend, Save, Share

Wheeler will be five years old soon and we decided it was time for him to begin to earn his keep!  Just kidding!  We did decide though that it's time he start learning about money.  Teaching children about money;  it's worth, how to count it, that you don't spend more than you make, etc, is so hard for kids to understand (and adults, too!)  We want our children to learn to be responsible with money at an early age.  Currently Wheeler thinks if I have some money in my purse I can buy something.  Most kids think if mom or dad pull out that magic card they can buy something.

I researched the internet for some ideas on how to start on allowance with a four year old.  I didn't want it called allowance, though, and I didn't want him to earn money for things he is expected to do around the house.  I also wanted to incorporate Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace into it somehow.  I looked into Financial Peace Jr. and I plan to get it, but I think Wheeler is a couple of years from that program.  After a lot of thinking and researching, I came up with a plan.

Wheeler has jobs and responsibilities each week.  His responsibilities include those things that he is expected to do each day.  His jobs are those he gets paid for.  John and I sat down after the kids went to bed one night and came up with this:

Wheeler's responsibilities include making his bed each day (daddy has him do it in the morning, mommy isn't always that organized in the morning, especially before summer school!), clean up all his toys by the end of the day, and take is dishes to the sink after every meal and dust bust the floor under the table (he's a messy eater!)

Taking care of responsibilities.

Wheeler's jobs each week are to empty the little trash cans into the kitchen trash twice a week, wipe the table off after each meal, help daddy with yard work such as pull weeds, pick up sticks before mowing, etc, dust the living room (well, the parts he can reach), clean off and sweep the front porch, and clean the window on the screen door (again, the part he can reach which coincidentally is the part that has all the fingerprints on it!)   Each job has an amount he can earn each week associated with it.  After he completes a job we check it off the chart above.  All I did was type up everything and put it in a picture frame with plexiglass so we can use a dry erase marker to check off when he completes something.  In total he has the potential to earn $5.00 per week.

Wheeler was so excited to start this.  We talked it up a few days and made a big deal about how he would begin earning his own money.  During the first week I did a lot of positive reinforcement (and reminding!) but also told him I wouldn't be reminding so much in the future since it was his job to do these things.  Oh, and we call them jobs, not chores.  I just don't like the way chores sounds.  

After the first week, this is what our Jobs and Responsibilities chart looked like.  

He didn't get to help out dad with the yard work because of all the rain we had.  He earned $4.00 this week.  I counted it out to him as we talked about what he had done throughout the week.

Then I showed him this:

 This is where we put the money.  We put 10% in our share container.  He will be giving this at church in Sunday School each week.  We are teaching him about tithing.  He put 20% in Save.  I haven't really decided how much each week should go here.  I'm leaning toward a dollar of whatever he makes.  This will just make it easy each week.  The rest he put in his Spend container.  We talked about how if you save this money from week to week you could buy something big,like a scooter, or you could spend it each week and just get something little.

Here he is getting paid the first time.

I made him put the money in the containers.

After doing this, we had to go to the store.  He wanted to take his Spend money and I agreed.  We talked about the fact he did not have to buy something and could save up for a big toy.  Of course he's four and wasn't having any of that.  We were a sight!  He had about $7 because he put some change from his piggy bank into his spend money.  This shopping trip was the first of many learning experiences for us both.  He didn't understand why he didn't have enough money for the Imaginext Batman house.  I tried to explain he could save for about a month and he would have enough money.  He's four, though, and wanted that immediate gratification of having something.  He finally decided on a butterfly net and saving some money.  It took forever!!!!  I was patient.  Caroline was patient.  There were a few people in the toy department that inquired about what we were doing and everyone was so supportive and a couple of people told me they wished they had started teaching their own kids about money at this age.  I know it's going to be a long process, but it will be worth it.

As he gets older his jobs and responsibilities will change, and of course Caroline will grow into the jobs we have set up right now.

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