Monday, 27 February 2017

Mo Money Mo Problems: The First Six Months of Allowance

As a parent I have a severe hate on for marketing tricks meant to inspire a mean case of the "I want its". Whether it's candy bars at the front of a grocery store, perfectly timed ads for toys during children's television programming, or whatever addictive compound is present in Shopkins; it's good behaviour cryptonite for children.  

Last spring we hit a time period while running errands where the kids, especially Molly, assumed that there was some sort of prize at the end of each trip out of the house. We realized we needed to nip this in the bud and were already thinking about how we'd teach the kids about money, responsibility, and savings. 

We began giving a weekly allowance the week following their fifth birthday. They earn five dollars week because they're 5 and routinely perform chores in order to gain access to their funds. 

The most coveted Lego series

I know there is a lot of debate as to whether or not allowance should be connected with chores, but from our perspective it's been a good motivator and the kids (Molly in particular) are really proud of the contributions they're making. 

The minions are allotted their full allowance each week as long as they complete the following tasks without too many reminders or assists 
- Bring lunch bag and water bottle into kitchen each day after school 
- Put away coats and boots in proper places every day
- Complete tidy of bedroom once each week (toys in toy box, laundry in baskets, books on shelves)
- Complete tidy of basement once per week or on parental demand (toys away, dress-up clothes away etc.)
- Help sort recycling and garbage each week before garbage day
- One to three other age appropriate chores depending on parental demand (cleaning windows, setting the table, sorting laundry, clearing dishes etc.)

Molly has never missed out on her allowance and Jack only has twice. 

We predicted Molly would be the one blowing through her allowance and Jack would be the saver. 

This fall when it was "Toonie for Terry Fox" day at school, they wanted to contribute some of their hard earned allowance to the cause. (To read more about it click here)

For the most part Molly spends her allowance on clothes and Jack up until a few weeks ago saved his allowance, except  for splurging on a monster lunch bag.

In recent months Jack has fallen in love with the world of Lego. He particularly likes the action figures (mini figs) leaning towards anything Batman Lego, Star Wars Lego, or Knight (complete with robotic Lego suits). He's ripped through $50 in savings in the past month and can't wait for his funds to build up. 

Just a small portion of recent favs 

Molly surprised me. Most of her clothes purchases come from second hand stores; she loves working her budget. The other afternoon she came home from school upset because she no longer had any purple dresses that fit her. We went online together searching and she found a purple dress she liked at Old Navy and asked me to pick it up for her.  I asked her if she was sure and explained how the dress would cost her five weeks worth of allowance. She paused, thought for a moment, then told me that it wasn't worth it to her. She'd try her luck at Value Village instead.  I told her how proud I am of her for making such grown up choices. 

In the meantime Jack is all about the chores since he's grown to realizes that money (and Lego Knights) don't grow on trees. 

To read 10 reasons why chores can make kids more successful click here

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