The following is a guest post from my friend Mrs. C who blogs about life, food, running and creating a living legacy at Another Housewife. I’m honored to have her post here as she is my frugal mom idol. What this woman does with 4 kids, a husband and a small budget is amazing.
Trial and Error. That is our method of parenting, including teaching our kids about money. I dream of raising financially savvy kids, who have a healthy, non lustful relationship with money. I want them to be raised in such a way that saving and living within their means is as natural as brushing their teeth or fighting with each other. You know what I mean? The method to accomplish this goal however is a whole other beast.
Our kids are 9, 7, and 4. We are in the midst of a healthy appetite for the wants. To curb their craving of all things made of glitter and sold in an electronics store, we have come up with a game plan to teach our kids how money works, in our home. The following is a list of how we handle money related details with our children:
In our home it is important for us to teach our kids a basic foundation of how all money earned is distributed. We give ten percent as a tithe, put ten percent in savings, and create a spending plan for the rest (fancy talk for budget). We still have veto power over what they purchase with their spending money. I have yet to use that super power because I believe in natural consequences. However, I would veto something like a cell phone.
We will be entering the realm of allowance giving this school year. After considering all of the “money experts” differing ideas on how to dish out this source of income to children, we have decided to start with a monthly allowance of ten dollars per kid. I figured since math is really not my thing, it is the easiest way to teach our 10-10-80 method. Also, there will be no strings attached to receiving an allowance. It will be given every month simply because you are a member of the family.
Our kids have a list of chores they must do without any compensation. For me the idea of paying my child to make his bed or clean up their play room is atrocious. On the other hand we do have a list of chores that we will compensate our children for upon approval, such as washing our car.
This is really hard for my husband and I to enforce without feeling a little emotional guilt. In the end we know it is for the betterment of our children. Instant gratification is a rampant problem in the world today and we want to teach our children the notion of saving and paying cash for items. As much as I want to just pitch in the last ten dollars or want to believe they will wash my car as soon as we get home from the store, the answer is no.
I want to teach our kids that one of our most valuable resources is not money but our time. I make a conscious effort to look for ways we can serve as a family. I don’t want to be the mom who says, “There are kids starving in third world countries,” when they gripe about what’s for dinner. I want to be the mom who exposes her children to the injustices of the world and together brainstorms ideas we can do as a family to serve others. It helps to take our mind off of our wants and instead focus on the needs of others.
What works for our family may not work for yours. I have spent several years taking bits and pieces of advice and tweaking it to fit our family dynamic. I wish I could say we have it all figured out but the truth is we make more mistakes than not. That is the genius of the trial and error method.