Let me say up front that our children don’t receive weekly pocket money. Both hubby and I grew up without having pocket money basically, I believe, because we both came from relatively poor families who were struggling so much financially that there was never any money left over, let alone enough money to pay for the basics some weeks.
Up to this point in time, there has been no reason to give the kids their own money. It is something we need to look at in the future though. I also believe that once we start giving it to them, then they need to learn how to budget and be able to buy their own clothes and things like birthday presents for their friends etched out of the weekly allowance.
Granted, it is a great skill to teach your kids to budget, to save, to give, to tithe to a church. Our kids are great at saving. They have no trouble putting their money straight in the bank. Giving is also a big thing in our family. We love being generous in all sorts of different ways, especially when it comes to mission. Something we haven’t majored on yet is the discipline of tithing. Tithing is a biblical principle of realising that everything we have comes from God, and offering back to God at least 10% of what we receive. We tithe but we haven’t introduced it to the kids as something they do with every cent they get.
So far, the kids both have healthy bank accounts purely by banking money they have been given for their birthdays, Christmas etc and by earning other ways. We have explained delayed gratification to them in regard to saving and not spending on seemingly useless paraphernalia. If they find coins dropped on the floor at home, usually by hubby, then they can put them in their piggyback as long as they show us first. They are not allowed to get them out of hubby’s coin jar. Hubby puts all his spare change in a jar. I use some of it at times to pay for sports lessons eg $5 charge per week for basketball session. At the end of the year, the kids count out what is left in the jar and they get to split it and bank it. This is a highlight for them. The kids are also adept at banking money & familar with using banking facilities. Thus, the kids are great at saving and plan to be able to buy at least a fairly new car when they get their driver’s licence at seventeen years of age. We also cast the vision for saving for a deposit for a house.
I personally don’t believe that the kids should do chores in exchange for pocket money. I believe that the kids are part of our household and thus they have a responsibility to contribute to the running of the household. Hubby and I don’t get paid to do chores around the house. It is part of living in that house. The same standard should therefore apply for the kids.
I once heard John Maxwell, a leadership guru from the United States, during a conference state that “If you want your kids to be garbage collectors, not that there is anything wrong with that, then pay them to take out the garbage. If you want them to be leaders, then pay them to read leadership books.”
I believe for our kids that is what we will start doing within the next couple of years. Matey isn’t old enough yet but Princess is just starting to get to the point where she would like some cash.
I also believe that it is a great way to enforce healthy habits in the kids. John Maxwell also stated at the same conference that he had promised his kids to pay them something like $200 (that was at least 12 years ago, so say something like $600 today) to have a “quiet time” every day for three months. This is a time set aside each day to read a portion of the Bible, journal about the relevance for you, and spend some time praying to God and listening to Him. His kids needed to keep track of it and mark off on a sheet on the fridge. If they missed one day, then they forfeited the whole lot. They also had to be honest about it. Both kids managed to complete it. I was initially shocked that he would do this, then I realised that this was very smart. Experts say that if you do something every day for thirty days, you develop a habit. Do it for three months every day, what do you expect to happen. Yes, Maxwell’s kids were in such a habit that they continued doing it every day. I tell you what, I would gladly give my kids $1,000 today to have that instilled in their life. That reminds me, this is something hubby and I need to discuss before too much longer. Princess is certainly at that stage where she could do this now.
What have you found works best for your family?