All parents want their children to become smart about money – but where they frequently disagree is on how best to learn those lessons. Should you give your child a regular allowance – and if so, do you set rules on how to spend or save it?
My first-grade daughter and I just read a Berenstain Bears book in which Brother and Sister learn to curb their allowance-blowing habits by letting Mama and Papa hold the money while the kids write fake “checks” every time they want to spend a part of their stash. In the book, Bro and Sis become less reckless about spending because they don’t have the cash in their hot little paws. But I couldn’t help thinking that my own cubs would probably write checks for the full amount of their allowance each week anyway.
So it’s always interesting to hear how other parents handle the money-management issue – and that’s what Kate Gosselin addresses in this week’s installment of her Coupon Cabin blog.
As a girl, Kate and her siblings were paid $5 a month in exchange for the chores they did around the house and garden. “No, I’m not that old, our allowance was low even for that day and age. (Sorry, Dad, it’s true!)” she says. Now that she’s a mom herself to her famous brood of eight, she follows a similar guideline when it comes to spending money for Mady, Cara, Collin, Alexis, Leah, Hannah, Joel and Aaden.
“One thing I don’t do is pay my kids a regular standing allowance,” she explains. “When my kids ask why, I explain that nobody pays me for ‘doing nothing’ and that in order to earn money, I work a job and in turn, the employer pays me a rate that we agree is fair.”
(Let’s not start a snarkfest about earning money through reality TV, please.)
So the twins and sextuplets earn their allowance by doing chores that go beyond their regular “chore chart” duties, negotiating the fee with their mom thusly:
As an example, Mady, Cara and I had this conversation the other day:Me: “Girls, thank you for helping with breakfast and lunch today. I said I’d pay you. How much do you think it’s worth?”
Mady: “Well, I’m guessing since we both helped, you will pay us less because you have to pay two people.”
Me: “No, that’s not necessarily true, because you both did a big job, but keep in mind, the total has to be fair to me and to you.”
Cara: “Um…” (thinking)
[whisper, whisper, giggle between them]
Mady: “We say $4 each.”
Me: “Wow, that’s $8 for me…that’s a lot…” [thinking with many jobs each day, this rate could quickly send me to the poor house!] “I was thinking $2 each. Can we settle on $3 each?”
This method allows the children to decide how much they want to earn every week; Cara, who’s saving up for a Kindle Fire, is especially busy asking for extra work.
Kate also takes advantage of every opportunity to discuss issues like paying bills, buying things on sale and the nature of banks (“An ATM machine is NOT free money”). She hopes that the lessons she imparts now will have an impact on her children in the years to come.
What do you think? Is Kate’s pay-for-chores method a sound one, or should children get a regular allowance? How do you teach your kids about money – with or without the help of the Berenstain Bears?
: via PacificCoastNews.com]
Read more of Shana’s writing at Momsperiments.
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