So many kids, I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Works for Me! - Allowance

I read somewhere allowance should be done one of two ways. 1. Do not give your kid allowance, but require them to do chores and just buy them stuff when necessary. 2. Give your kid allowance for chores, but do not buy them anything.

We decided to go with option 2. We do not buy our kids, toys, games, concession snacks at baseball, lunches or pay for non family outings. We do buy their school clothes and supplies and sports necessities at the start of every year within reason. For example we will pay up to fifty dollars for a pair of shoes, beyond that the kid must kick in his own cash.

Here is how we determine allowance. Each of the older three kids has a set of chores to be done daily. We don’t rotate the chores because want them to do their chore WELL. We have switched some due to age appropriateness, or slackerism. (Yes, that’s a word.) For their chores they get a certain amount of money - four, five seven dollars respectively. (Ty gets the seven dollars a week because he is the go to kid for spur of the moment “favors”. Plus we pay ten bucks a month for his cell phone.)

On Saturday we put their money in quarters in a jar with their name on it on the kitchen counter. Every time a chore is not done we take a quarter out. If they have done something that costs us money, like leave the bread or milk out, or leave socks on porch to be ruined we take out a quarter. At the end of the week they get what is left in their jar – in dollar bills. ( I recycle unearned money into the next weeks allowance.)

This is effective because removing the quarter is immediate. Throughout the week they can see into the jar if their allowance is dwindling. Occasionally I have allowed them to earn back some money, but it would have to be a pretty big extra job, like cleaning out the garage or something.

Here is the breakdown of chores.
Ty - 14
Let dog out and feed –am
Walk Saigie to neighbor - am
Unload dishwasher after school
Load dishwasher after dinner
Be kitchen “manager” after dinner
Mow lawn as needed (plus 5 dollars each time)

Tan-Man - 11
Walk and feed dog after school
Take out kitchen trash
Sweep floors and wipe counters after dinner
Clean dog poo from backyard on Friday
Take out trash M/Th

Saigie - 8
Entertain Tayte while I cook dinner (INVALUABLE!)
Clear and clean table after dinner
Pick up objects throughout house
Brush dog x2 a week

In addition to this they also take care of their own messes, put up laundry, make their lunches every night. (If they choose not to make their lunch they may buy lunch with their own money.)

Ideally we would have some sort of long term savings plan implemented for them, but we do not. Saigie is happy to spend her money on piddly items: snacks at baseball, and small gifts for family. Tanner will not buy a school lunch except on nacho day. He saves all his money for video games or skateboard stuff. Ty has kicked in money for shoes. He recently paid for his own phone update. I think it works out well and the kids now understand what I mean when I ask, “Is that what you choose to spend your money on?”

This method has helped us avoid any Wal-mart or Target melt downs that previously occurred when I bought (or didn’t buy) them items. Also it has been very helpful to me. I know who is supposed to do what. I also know after dinner I am done cleaning. Nice because by then I am exhausted and the babies need to be put to bed. They finish cleaning and I finish putting to bed at the same time and we can relax together.

It is not nearly as complicated as the length of this post implies. And IT WORKS FOR ME!!


  1. Love it! We are trying to figure out a chore/allowance system that works well for us right now, so I appreciate your input!

  2. What a great idea! I love the quarters in the jar that get converted to cash at the end of the week. Brilliant!


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