Carl and I used to give our kids an allowance for keeping their rooms clean and bathrooms clean, etc. However, after learning a few things from Dave Ramsey, we changed our minds on how we wanted to raise our kids and how they relate to money. The way we wanted to raise our kids was to teach them that they had to work for their money, they had to pay cash for what they bought, they couldn’t use credit, and the world wasn’t going to give them an “allowance” for breathing.
This is how we work it. I think there are certain responsibilities that the kids should have for being part of this family. They are required to clean their rooms, pick up after themselves, unload the dishwasher, put their clothes away, change the sheets on their beds every weekend, and make their beds. If we need their help cleaning the house before company comes or help picking weeds in the yard, those things will be asked by the parent and required of them for no pay. These are things we need to have happen to make our house run smoothly, and they will not be paid for them.
However, we have set up an extra chores chart that has chores on it. These are chores that are initiated by the child to earn extra money. Each chore should take 15 minutes or less, and we pay the child $1 for each chore. We mark off the chores done during the week and then pay the child at the end of the week. We have the children pay 10% of what they earn for tithe, 10% of what they earn into savings under their name, and 80% is theirs to keep and spend.
They learn that if they want something that it has to be earned. They have to work for it. There is no free ride.
Teaches them to pay God first and themselves second
Our hope is that our children will learn after years and years of tithing to always pay God first and to save for a rainy day second. We desire to teach them a 10/10/80 plan. You tithe 10%, save 10% and live on 80%.
Thwarts the gimmies
When we go to the store and one of the kids asks for an item that is not a need, I say, “Did you bring your money?” If the answer is no, I am able to respond and say, “Well, you could save up for that.” The kids know by now not to ask for DVDs, Wii games, or even cool tennis shoes when they already have two pairs at home. Needs are provided and bought by the parents, but the child has to work and save up for wanted items.
Teaches them not to buy on credit
Our society, from the personal realm to the corporate realm to the governmental realm, teaches us that credit is a way to live. The bible says in Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” The world says, “If you want something, just charge it even if it is beyond what you can afford.” I want to raise the bar. I want to teach my children that if they want something, they have to have the money for it. Teaches patience and perseverance
If one of the kids wants to save up $20 for a DVD, they know they are going to have to persevere for several weeks to get enough money for that item. They will have to say no to several items along the way so they can save enough for the item they really want. If they are impulsive with their spending, they will never reach their goal and get what they truly want.
Paying my kids to do chores around the house is much cheaper than paying a maid. If both my kids did chores every day for a month it would cost me $48 for the month. If I had to pay a maid to do those things, I would be paying a whole lot more than that. My house stays cleaner, and it makes less work for me.
I know that there may be people who disagree with this viewpoint, but for us it feels right. The kids have responsibilities that are required of them for no pay. Being part of a family is work and is a responsibility that we all take on. Our main goal is to teach our children about money while they are still under our care. We know what the world would teach them about money. We want to teach them to work, to earn, to tithe, to save, and to live within their means. We want to teach them eventually about how to balance a checkbook, how compound interest can work for them (investments) and against them (debt). Our hope is that when our chicks leave the nest that they will be wise about money and not be seduced by a world view. We can only teach and hope they follow.
“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Proverbs 10:4