As I mentioned yesterday, we’ve started giving our three-year-old daughter an allowance in exchange for simple household chores.
Photo by Michele Catalano
I know that $2.45 weekly isn’t going to buy much more than M&Ms or a bouncy ball. But that’s not the point. The point is, we want our kids to start learning how to manage money early.
I’m a Dave Ramsey-ite, but this idea is not trademarked by him. The basic concept of giving, saving, and spending has been around for generations, and we want to keep it that way in our family. The sooner our children understand that our money is given to us by God, and that out of thankfulness, we give some of it back, the easier it will become a lifelong habit.
Saving money likewise requires discipline, and to practice the art of paying yourself first, even from the 17 nickels like we did last week, will reap benefits that far outweigh whatever could be bought with 1.7 coins.
So when we give our daughter her allowance (or commission, or whatever you want to call it), we count the stickers on her chore chart, and then count out the same amount of nickels. We then tell her how much goes into the giving jar, and how much goes into the saving jar. The rest goes into the spending jar.
Her spending money can go towards whatever she wants. That means that yes, if she’s in the grocery cart and she wants those gummy bears, she can buy them if she has enough money. But it comes out of her spending jar. (A side note: Of course we take care of her needs, and yes, we buy her gifts from time to time. Not a lot, but we aren’t expecting our three-year-old to fend for herself financially. That would be nice, though, wouldn’t it?)
We haven’t used this system long enough to really see the longer-term benefits, but friends of ours who use this method have nothing but good things to say.
There’s a guy in his mid-30s from our church back in the States who bought his family’s Suburban with 100% cash from his childhood allowance. We don’t really have those kind of expectations for her giving and spending goals, but again, the account balance is not the point. The point is cultivating a habit in preschool that’s hard for grown adults to do. Hopefully, her heart will follow.
Isn’t that a great gift to give your kids? It really is all about changing your family tree, one small thing at a time.
How do you work out money with your kids?