In a credit-crazy world, it’s more important than ever to teach our , and spending within their means.
Your first step should be sitting down and making a list of things your kids can do to earn their very own money. This will obviously vary from family to family, as some parents consider everyday chores something children should do as opposed to something they might be paid to do.
For example, my husband feels it’s important for our children to keep their rooms clean because it’s their space, the room they mess up, hence it’s their responsibility to maintain it. However, he feels fine about them getting a dime every time they clean up toys in the living room.
Other ideas could include: helping fold laundry or wash dishes, picking up toys or bikes in the back yard, raking leaves or shoveling a driveway. Think about things you normally do yourself but feel your child/children might be able to take over. Be sure the act is within realistic means for your children to accomplish, but as they get older don’t be afraid to help them try something a little more difficult.
On our counter we keep a giant jar to put our spare change and dollar bills in (also great for unexpected trips from the Tooth Fairy). It’s got a tight lid with a slit so kids can’t easily access what’s inside.
Keep track of all they’ve earned. You can use a dry/erase board, write each of their names on it and each time they earn something enter the amount in their column. Just like your own payday I recommend waiting two weeks. Sit down with each child and add up their column, so they can see what they’ve earned. It’ll help them learn to count money as well.
When it’s time to pay up, let them help you count out any dollars or change, so they can see everything they’re getting.
If you set up this next step it’ll become as natural as breathing for your kids as they grow older. After they have been paid, help them figure out their tithing. I suggest grabbing a few extra tithing slips so it’s not a frantic experience come Sunday. Make sure to explain this money is given back to the Lord because he’s the one who helped us get it in the first place.
The Benefits of Saving
Like many adults, kids want to go spend, spend, spend the moment that money is in their hands. Here’s when the value of saving for something they really want comes into play.
Go to the toy store and let them look around to find something they really want. Instead of buying it for them have them earn the money for it. If it’s a big item, like a bike, let them earn half with you going in for the other half.
Write the price down somewhere (keep sales tax in mind) and at every payday show them how much closer they are to their goal. Doing this will curb (most) any desire to spend their money on less frivolous things.
Keep the money safe – either in a bank or an envelope, out of reach but still in sight.
As every family is different when it comes to how many children they have, what chores to get paid for, and how much to pay, take any of these ideas and grow with them. Fiddle with the plan until it fits.
When your child gets older he or she will already understand the value of earning and saving money, and will know it’s possible to get what you want without delving into credit.