Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Gae Family Mint

****Soapbox Alert****

Where does money come from?
Do we as adults even know?
How do we teach our children to value money?

Here's what works for us:
I frequently take my kids shopping with me. In the grocery store I have my eldest calculate the best unit price for a particular item. The next two have learned to look for the unit price on the shelf tag and I am teaching them about finding the best deal, Because it is not always cheapest to buy the least expensive item- think unit price. The 4th is in charge of finding cereal for $2 or less and the 5th is in charge of not touching anything and looking cute when he asks for a FREE cookie. (Or "lick cream" at Starbucks.)

When we go to the clothing store, we shop the clearance racks and I have taught my children no disdain for 2nd hand.
We have recently committed to no more eating out. *Sob* This includes my beloved Starbucks. Sorry, Jonah, no more "lick cream" for you. But even before the new commitment to eating out of our own refrigerator I could learn you a thing or two about eating cheap on the town.

Red Robin has coupons that they give to doctors, dentists, and chiropractors for free kids meals. My dad happens to be a chiropractor. At the local Denny's, kids eat free from 4pm to 10 pm Tuesday through Friday. And not just one or two kids per paying adults. I once took all 5 of my kids in for a free linner all by my self. On Sundays a local Mexican restaurant has kid's meals for 99 cents. And they don't care if I only order a coke and eat all the chips and mild salsa. I asked.
As for financial responsibility on the kiddo side....

We decided before our first child had teeth that there were no "magical creatures" that would leave money lying around. Lose a tooth, bring it to mom, walk away a dollar richer. All presents come from mom and dad, not some fat guy with infinite resources. And there is no rabbit dropping money filled plastic eggs in the yard each spring. That's not reality.

We have a job board, where each week the jobs are posted. The jobs that are beside each kid's name are the ones they are expected to do each day. There are other jobs on the board too that can be done for extra money- but only after all the regular chores have been finished for the day. The kids can do as much "overtime" as they want, provided they have already finished their assigned jobs. If they are asked to do a job that is not on the board, and believe me there are plenty, then it is understood that it is a job they do because they are members of the family.

If the kids miss no more than one day of chores in a week, the pay is $5. If they miss 2 or more days then the pay is $0- and we don't work on Sundays. From the $5 they tithe $.50, and $2.25 goes into each child's savings account. I make the kids go through the exercise of splitting the money up and I make it easy by providing the correct denominations. Then we make the trip to the bank where they make their own deposits. The other $2.25 is theirs to do with as they please. The catch? If we are at the store and the kids ask for something that is not a basic need, the answer to their question will always be a question of my own: "Did you bring your money?"

OK, I'll climb off my soap box now. I want to hear what works for you- and I especially want to hear from you, Kris.

If you want to read more people's ideas about how to teach kids the value of money, go to The Parent Bloggers Network, who not so coincidentally is giving away 3 iPhones in conjunction with Capitol One.


JourneytoFamily said...

We just started allowance with my son... also $5/week unless he doesn't do his chores. Also tithing $.50 on it, but I hadn't thought of making him put a percentage into a savings account... for now it's all in his piggy bank and he needs our approval to spend any of it. I like the idea of putting a percentage away for saving.

Kat said...

I love that you are doing all of this. I wish we had started out doing all of this. Instead we get magic. And they aren't learning squat except that I am inconsistent. Now, don't go winning my iphone :-)

Karianna said...

Sounds like you've done a good job of setting up the expectation that chores are part of a family, not just means for an allowance.

I've heard of a similar strategy w/ allowance where it is split three ways: savings, donate, and spend-now, but it is up to the child to determine how to split. Haven't tried this yet, though (since at this stage neither child has an allowance.)

Anna Rose said...

Hi Gina!
I just have to say, when i have children they are going shopping with cousin Gina. And I dont believe in teaching children about false characters either. I always tell my nieces and nephews that if they want a big fat man to try and break into their home in the middle of Christmas night to eat thier food and leave an unknown package in there home then by all means write to old saint
Love you,

Julie said...

My kids aren't at that level yet, but I am going to remember this when they are. Thanks for sharing!

Kris said...

Money, money, money!
No allowance here. Work is where the money comes from.
Tithe 10% off the top. The rest is split in half. First half is put into savings. Savings for a car, college tuition, text books, ect.. Imagine being 16 with $5000. of your own money! [Right now moms not so dumb is she "B"!]
The second half is to spend of however they wish. Candy, junk, whatever! They worked for it.
It is really fun to witness your 11 year old pull a huge wad of cash from his wallet to buy legos.
No one gets paid for doing housework. Clean up after yourself and if there is still a mess clean that too!
Outside physical labor pays well. $10.00 per hour. If you slack or have a sucky attitude the pay scale starts to slide. Slacker pay is half and Sucky attituders work for free. If you want to argue about it you also get another job!
It seems like a tough way to go but the kids really appreciate that they have money and know that they can always get more. They don't ask us for money they ask for jobs to earn money.
Generosity is huge. Teaching them to hold tightly to thier money is, I think, a huge dis-service. Teaching them to give and share what they have lets them be free from thier money.

Debbie said...

I suck at this becaues I am so inconsistent. My daughter gets 6 bucks.. 2 to church, 2 to savings and 2 to spend. That is when I get around to giving it to her. Now I feel like a loser reading all that you have done. There is a reason that you were blessed with 5 kids. You run a tight ship missy...and I am in awe of you.

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