Hi, friends! I’m excited to be here today because it’s time for this month’s Seeking Advice! Seeking Advice is my monthly series where I ask you all for your advice on a sticky parenting topic, and then post the answers a week later. You can check out past Seeking Advice posts here: Bad Language, Stranger Danger
As parents, there are so many questions we may have and for the most part, for each question, there are a million different answers. So where do you start? How do you determine what is the “right” answer? For me, the answer is research and ask around – which is what this new series is going to be for.
About once a month, I ask a question to all of you about an aspect of parenting that is all shades of gray. I’ll ask the question(s), give my own opinion on the matter, and then leave it to all of you lovely people. My hope is that the comments section of this post will fill up with helpful, supportive comments that reflect a number of different points of view. After a week has passed, I will then compile the most helpful comments into one post called, “Advice Found: [insert topic here]”. If you are a blogger, I will include a link back to your blog so that if someone really identifies with your view on something, they can hop over and learn more about you. If you have written a post on the topic in the past, feel free to leave it with your comment – I may link it up! This post will go up on a Sunday, so the Advice Found for this post will go live on July 2. I hope for this series to become a resource for myself and others trying to navigate parenting and life, and a place where we can all be honest, open, and accepting.
I also want to note – if you do not have children, THAT IS FINE! You undoubtedly have an opinion on the topic – someone raised you, and they did XYZ while doing it. What’s your opinion on it? How did you parents handle it? How do you expect others’ children to behave in regards to the topic?
That being said, any negative, rude, or hurtful comments will be deleted without notice. I want everyone to feel comfortable expressing views and opinions without feeling judged or criticized. So let’s get to it!
This month’s topic is brought by request from my friend Jess over at The Acquired Sass: Kids and Money!
Money is such a touchy subject. It can be such an uncomfortable thing to talk about, which I think can make teaching kids about money harder – we don’t want to talk about it, so why on earth would be want to teach it? Also, as parents its a gut instinct to give our kids everything that we are able to and more, so having to put a cap on that in order to not raise children who want and expect everything to come to them can be counter intuitive.
So today, we’re going to cut through it all and talk about kids and money. Chores, grades, spending, saving, jobs – I want to know your opinion on it all! How do you handle the topic of money when it comes to your children? Here’s my take:
Seeking Advice: Kids and Money
Chores. When I was a kid, there was a piece of paper on the fridge at my dad’s house where we lived that was a chore chart, of sorts. Or at least, the least Pinterest-ified, single dad version of a chore chart. It had my brother’s and my name on the top and chores to the left. We would tally how many of each we finished and my dad had a pay rate for each one. Laundry, floors, bathroom etc. It wasn’t the big bucks, but it made our “allowance” – we didn’t get an allowance but we were able to do these chores to make some money. Things like cleaning our own rooms, though, were not paid, since those were expected things that needed to be done before we could go out.
We did get paid for honor roll and straight A’s – I want to say it was $200 for straight A’s and $75 for Honor Roll? Maybe $100 for High Honor Roll. I think I only got A’s once, but it felt damn good. Some people are against paying for good grades, but the way I see it is in the “real world” you get a bonus for exceeding expectations, right? I’ll probably continue both of these with my own kids. (And if not, let’s be real, I bet at least one grandparent will be paying the boys for good grades. Unavoidably spoiled.)
Jobs- this is basic, but as soon as we were 16 my dad expected us to have jobs. We helped him out with small jobs for his own business for as long as I can remember and were paid accordingly. After 16 chores were no longer paid. I will definitely expect for my boys to have a job once able and to pay for their own things once that happens.
I think the most important thing I want to teach my boys about money is how we spend it. This is such a personal thing, but in our family, we have a much higher emphasis on spending money on memories and material items that can aid in that – such as an RV, and amazing vacation, or specific toys and equipment that we can use as a family. We don’t really have “stuff” and live a pretty streamlined life. Personally, I think this is going to make for a more fulfilled childhood – one full of memories and family and experiences, because that’s what we as a family focus on.
But here’s what I don’t know anything about: how to teach kids about money – that it needs to be earned, it isn’t endless, saving… I don’t really remember learning that – I mean, it was taught to me at some point, obviously, but I don’t remember how. I do have a pretty vivid memory of my mom taking my brother and I grocery shopping when I was maybe 5? and she paid with a credit card. I said something along the lines of – oh, so you don’t have to pay for it, right? Which clearly made no sense, but I was 5. But it reminds me that at some point, my own kids will need to be taught that we work for money, and have to be smart about how we spend it.
So here are my questions for this month: How did your parents handle chores and allowances? How do/will you handle it with your children? How do you feel about ‘paying’ kids for grades? How does your family spend money? How do you teach kids about money?
I can’t wait to read all of your answers – it’s my favorite part of the month!!
Don’t forget to check out the past Seeking Advice posts!
Seeking Advice: Kids, Bad Language, and Potty Talk
Advice Found: Kids, Bad Language and Potty Talk
Seeking Advice: Stranger Danger!
Advice Found: Stranger Danger
Heather @ Polyglot Jot says
Good topic! I grew up doing chores and helping out but was never given an allowance or money for doing those things. They were just things that we were expected to do to help out. I never got money for good grades, but my parents would take me out to dinner or let me pick take out of my choice for good grades.
I agree with the using money for memories. I think thats what my parents were teaching me with letting me pick out dinner.
I think to teach a child about saving, you can turn it in to a game. While they’re playing store or house you can aid in teaching them about money. When I would get birthday money from family, I would save it up and then when we went on vacation, my parents would help me to decide what i would use my spending money on.
My childhood sounds really similar to yours! We had chores as kids too and if we did everything for the week we would get paid. For good grades my parents took us out to dinner, and whoever had higher grades got to pick to place. We had to make high honor roll to go! Once I turned 16, I was also expected to get a job. When I got paid, my parents made me save half of it and got to keep the other half. At the time I hated that but now I think it was great to learn how to save money and realize you can’t just use up all the money you get! My parents also had me help them meal plan and cut coupons on the weekend, so now I’m big about saving money at the store.
Heather @ Polyglot Jot says
I love the idea of having your kids help meal plan! Stealing that for my future kids haha!
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
My parents started giving me a very small allowance when I was about 2, so that if I wanted a millionth Barbie, I had to learn to save and buy it myself if I really wanted it (with birthdays and Christmases being the exceptions). I learned I could buy more Kelly dolls than Barbie dolls, and I learned how to gauge how much I really wanted things. This extended into unnecessary extra clothes I wanted as I grew up, and pretty much anything that wasn’t needed. I paid attention to sales and coupons starting pretty young because of this. I’m still (mostly) a saver rather than a spender.
I was never paid for chores, but I was expected to do them. Chores were part of being a family member, not anything incentivized.
I was never paid for grades, though I definitely asked why when I had classmates getting $50 for straight As. Good grades were also pretty much expected. That said, my parents didn’t obsess about my grades (I did enough of that), and they didn’t want me to feel penalized if for some reason my grades weren’t as good as I hoped. I did get to take report cards to Cheryl’s Cookies and get half a dozen free cookies and Limited Too for 10% off 🙂
My parents didn’t expect that I had a job, since I was more than busy with school and extracurriculars; they just told me that school was my job. I recognize that I am extremely fortunate to be able to treat college the same way, and just work in the summers.
So, that was really long. I think getting an allowance from such a young age helped me learn to save money, and that’s a habit I still have today. When I do want to make a big purchase, I still usually talk to my parents about it. I wholeheartedly agree that investing in experiences and memories is a valuable lesson, and that’s something I focus on a lot now.
Julie @ Running in a Skirt says
My parents didn’t pay for grades, but we did get an allowance. If our grades weren’t good or we didn’t do what we were told, we didn’t get the money.
I started working at 15. Don’t know if it was my idea or theirs… but I’ve worked ever since. All kind of non-normal jobs though! 🙂
Jessie @ The Acquired Sass says
Can’t wait to read all the advice on this! Obviously it’s something I’m passionate about…
I’m a saver by nature, & like you would rather have memories than things…
My plan…because I wish this had been done with me is this :
Certain “chores” are expected…cleaning your room, clearing your spot at the dinner table, picking up your things from around the house + a few other age appropriate things. That’s how you pay “rent” for living in the home & earn your keep, contribute to the family. But, the fridge would have an ongoing “jobs for hire” section where chores & their dollar value would be posted. Kiddos could earn as much or as little $ as they wanted by doing some extra chores. Cutting grass, doing laundry, making dinner, cleaning the bathroom.
I love the idea of helping them divide their money into spend, save & donate categories. Occasionally, growing up, if my Dad knew I was working hard to save my allowance for something, he would offer me mini challenges. He once offered to pay me a quarter for each country I could name over 15 countries. And that was a bad mistake on his part, ’cause I raked in the big bucks!
We were never paid for grades, but we definitely drove around collecting all sorts of free stuff, ice cream, Krispy Kreme used to give you a free donut for each A, which meant my brother & I could usually get a dozen between us!
I think, overall, it’s super important to be open about money. Why you can or can’t afford something, or why you could afford it, but it might not be a smart option as it would prevent you from affording something else.
And I agree. I remember the memories my parents helped me make way more than I remember any gift I ever received!
Heather @Lunging Through Life says
I got a job when I was 16 and have always worked. I did get an allowance, and I want to say it was until we had our own job? I’m not sure. Of course my parents helped out when needed, but we had chores around the house as well. I definitely plan to incorporate chores. Kids need to grow up learning how things are run- like you take toys out, you put them back. We always cleaned the table and did dishes after dinner. My parents instilled in us early how we need to take care of our stuff and what we were expected to do- so we kept doing it. We weren’t necessarily told to do it but still to this day, we clear the table and do dishes when we are at their house. I agree with Julie, above, that you get the allowance unless you didn’t do the chores or did something you shouldn’t and then reevaluate on that. But, jobs for sure. Kids need to learn responsibility!
Stefani @ Crafty Christian says
Growing up, I was always working. Our family had money, but they didn’t buy everything for us. I started babysitting at 9 or 10, and then got a dishwashing job at 14, and then a retail job at 16. I had to buy my first car ($500!), and pay for my cell phone. I even had to pay for college on my own! But it definitely taught me responsibility. We plan on doing something similar for our boys. My husband actually used to work for Dave Ramsey, so we have plenty of books and ideas to work into raising kids that are smart with money! 🙂
First of all, I LOVE that you are talking about this, because I think my parents put a lot of emphasis on saving money, BUT they also are super generous, so when it came to giving to others, giving to each other, and sharing our resources. If we wanted to share with someone, they never put the ‘kabosh’ on it. (hehe…) When I was about 7 or 8, my parents gave me an allowance, and I Think they did put an emphasis on how we spent it. I agree with Ellen that receiving that allowance actually taught me to be careful and more responsible with money rather than my parents always paying for our things.
I wasn’t technically paid for chores, but it was kind of just an ‘extra’ allowance, almost like a gift from my parents, every few weeks, so I didn’t connect the allowance with what I did around the house, which, for me was a good thing, because now, I love to work without connecting it directly with always having to make money.
I hope that made sense… O_O
Kristy from Southern In Law says
I never got pocket money/an allowance as a child but my sister did (second children get ALL THE THINGS!) and I’m kind of in two minds about whether or not allowances are a good thing!
I don’t know if it’s a personality thing, but I have always been the saving queen. Whenever it was my birthday or christmas and I got money from relatives, rather than spend it on toys I’d save it up – either for spending money on our next vacation or to buy a bigger toy – or just to see my little dollarmites bank account grow 😛
My sister on the other hand? She spends money like it’s burning a hole in her pocket and is lucky if she has more than $1 in her bank account. She’s 21 and will still ask my parents for money because she knows they’re suckers and will give it to her 😛
alexandra @ my urban family says
I grew up doing chores with no allowance but my parents were fairly open about money and how it was semi tight when I was growing up. They gave me some spending money if needed, but I also starting babysitting fairly young and liked not having to ever really ask my parents for money. As soon as I hit 15 I had multiple jobs. I did have a grandma who paid me for good grades for a few years but I always got straight A’s and took more classes than she was originally thinking so that quickly ended HA. My husband on the other hand didn’t do a single chore unless he was being paid for it which I personally think is an awful way to raise a kid – I don’t like the idea of “you only work/help out if you get something for it” but I know he doesn’t exactly see it that way. I’m sure we’ll have to chat about what we want to do more once we had kids.