Saturday, September 13, 2008

Magical, mystery tour money

I am a collector of ideas. I read about them. I listen to the grand things that my friends are doing. I think about them all. And then I set the idea on my shelf. Admire it. Expand upon it. But follow through? I think not.

One of my favorite money ideas is the four jars concept. You know the one. Where you give your kids 4 jars. And an allowance that can be divided by four. One jar is for impulse spending. One jar for short term savings. One for long term savings. One for charity. I love the idea of it. The responsibility. The practicality. The wisdom.

But…easier said than done.

Because in our house, money is magical. It is mysterious.

If I tell the kids I don’t have money for something – they say “you have checks in the check book.” Or that “you can just use a credit card.” Because to them, money is magical. It’s just there when you need it. Want it. The tooth fairy puts it under their pillow. The Easter bunny puts it in their plastic eggs. And Santa gives them their own version of a credit card: the gift card.

We have tried to teach our kids the value of money. That you have to work hard for what you get. That you work consistently for an allowance. That you should be a contributor to this thing we call family. But, now they think that every good deed must be rewarded.

I ask them to get the newspaper. And I am asked “how much will you give me.” I plead with them to behave in a store. And I get “if we are good, can we get a Webkinz?” Or if we go to Target. And all I need is a tennis racket and yet we still spend $200. I might get the request for quarters for the gumball machine or the tattoo dispenser. You know. Insurance. So they don’t tell Daddy about our adventure.

What my kids seemed to have learned is that money is very mysterious. It might show up. It might not. Mommy might give out money for an extra chore. She might not. Mommy might resort to bribery. She might not. My inconsistency breeds their consistency in asking. But ultimately, they know to find true money magic. They just have to ask Grandma.

I am hoping for a little magic of my own. Parent bloggers is giving away three iphones in conjunction with Capital One. And I am sure that one of them has my name on it. I mean I did what I was asked to do. All good deeds are rewarded. Right?

So, how about you? Did you get an allowance? Were you rewarded? How are you teaching your children about money? Do you have an iphone?

post signature

Theme song: The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour


Jenny said...

Yes yes yes. This is the my household money experience exactly.

I give my kids pocket money each Friday, depending on their grade at school, eg. year 3 = $3, year 2 = $2.
I still end up spending my own money when we visit the shops anyway. I like to think that I am just a generous person.

Shannon said...

I never got an allowance as a kid... we were expected to do chores, not be paid for doing them.

I've tried paying my girls for doing chores and it doesn't work (I am so thinking about doing a post on this... I could so use an iPhone!!!!!!)

Britt said...

Loved this post :o)

No, when I was little we didn't receive an allowance. My parents told us that chores were a part of living at home. Everybody helps.

Now that I'm all-growed-up and moved away, they started giving out allowances to the remaining 6 siblings at home.

I asked for back payments ;o)

texcindy said...

I had a meager allowance and so do my kids, sort of. however I've contracted with them since sometime in August to keep the upstairs clean at all times and ready for inspection. at the end of the month the reward is a Webkinz. Or two from Walgreens. I've never been happier.

Karen said...

We had pocket money (allowance) when growing up. It wasn't tied into jobs though. We were required to help around the house and there were other punishments handed out if we didn't.

My kids got a modest amount of pocket money. They also had jobs they had to do around the house. If they didn't do the jobs, I'd take away TV or other privileges, not their pocket money.

No, I don't have an iphone. Don't have a cellphone at the moment, as I lost mine last week. I think it feel out of my pocket when I was out biking. I'm getting another one next week. Cell phones and I don't have a great relationship. I drowned my lost one's predecessor. With my history, no sure if I'd want to spend that type of money on an iphone :-)

Rhea said...

Damnit, Kat, you're gonna win an iPhone and I'm not!! I'm gonna be sooo jealous...because I've seen the way you and your hubby win things. You have the darndest luck (and skill, of course).

Gina said...

we never got a consistent allowance, but we grew up eating government cheese and drinking charity miulk given to us by a friend with a couple of cows. We knew how to shop the clearance racks. When we went school clothes shopping, my mom had a pile of cash. She said, "This is yours. Figure out a way to get everything you need for the year." to each of us in turn. Looking back we were probably among the poorest kids I knew. At the time, we were in heaven. We lived in the middle of nowhere and we were able to leave when we got a job that would buy us a car. (I say we, meaning my brother and sisters).

For my kids, they get a $5 allowance IF THEY HAVE NOT MISSED MORE THAN ONE DAY OF CHORES. The chores are clearly posted and they change each week. There are also "extra jobs for extra money." If it is posted nowhere on the job board then it is something you do as a member of the family.
From the $5 they tithe $.50 and put $2.25 into the bank. The other cash that they have in thier hot little hands they are free to do with as they please.
On the other hand, if they are bugging me for something at the store, I ask, "did you bring your money?" End of conversation.

Brian and Staci said...

Nope...I didn't get an allowance...unfortunately, my grandparents would always just give me money. HOWEVER, I did do chores and was a really good kid. Does that count? I'll be the first to admit...I was spoiled...I think I turned out pretty good, except...I do wish someone would've held me more accountable to money and making me wait on purchases, rather than just ask and receive. My husband was taught to scrimp and save...thus, today...he is in a good financial position. We are giving Connor, who is 6, an allowance...$5 (and Brian thinks that is too much!) every Saturday. He has a few chores...he unloads the silverware, takes the recycling bin and trash can out every Friday and brings them back in. If he only does 1/2 of them...he only gets 1/2 the money. I THINK he's starting to catch on??? My problem is...I buy them too many things when I'm out. Not expensive things...just stuff...ya know...Dollar Tree pedometers and radios, flashlights, books... I AM usually the culprit...darn it! My huband would aren't supposed to GET things for being good...being good is expected :) He's right...but I think good deeds should be rewarded...maybe not ALLL deeds...and they certainly don't deserve a trip to Incredible Pizza every week for getting all smiles on their progress report...BUT ever once in a while...well...I think it's a good thing. YIKES! I guess I had a lot more to say about this than I thought :) Oh yea...nope, I don't have an iphone...but I did just get a Blackberry...which is WAAAAYY over my head :)

Elena said...

I tried the allowance thing with my kids, it didn't work so well. I didn't get any as a kid, just babysitting money and my mom was pretty generous with giving me pocket change. My oldest girls now clean my husband's office once a week and he pays them $5 for doing it. It's working well I think. I need to be better about making them save some of it though. We pay tithing to the church and then the rest they spend. And I don't think I could run and iphone if I had one. My husband has one and I can't even figure out how to answer it when it rings. Best of luck to you!

Susie said...

We got an allowance for a while until my parents ran out of money. With my older daughter, we had an elaborate chore schedule with savings and everything. I am hoping to find something easier with my youngest when she is ready.

Karen said...

Oh Kat, I almost forgot to tell you. I mad those AEblepandekager (Apple Pancake) for breakfast last weekend. They were sooooooo good. Sort of a cross between a pancake, an omlette and a custard. We will be having them again!! I definitely recommend them :-) Thankyou!!!

Evi said...

It actually works really well to be poor. We wouldn't have enough coins to spread over four jars...times four!
I got allowance growing up but not the economics advice that should have gone with it. I got a job young too so money management has been a hard lesson later on in life. Now, we just don't have money and that's fine by me. The kids personality changes for the worse whenever they have money burning holes in their pockets.
They get what they need...that's it.
(Though it WOULD be darn fun to let them have what they want!)

Shannon said...

BTW... don't you think winning an iPhone is just the way to teach our kids that you don't get anything for free and the value of a hard-earned dollar?!!?!? HA HA HA!

Angie's Spot said...

Good luck with the contest! I'm struggling greatly to instill a sense of fiduciary responsibility with my girls, but I'm failing miserably. My oldest is already under the impression that we can't go anywhere without picking up something to bring home with us. Not good. I fill their piggy banks with my extra change, but they don't understand where that money comes from. We're about to start a chore chart system in this house and assign rewards based on chores completed. We'll see how that works!

Teri said...

Didn't get an allowance as a kid. Well, actually my parents tried it for about 6 months then realized they were never ever going to pay it. My kids have been getting allowance for several years. They know they have to spend their own money on all that "gimme, gimme" stuff. Every month, I let them spend a frivolous $5 on anything - but they can't accumulate it from month to month. It's a bonus. Matt ALWAYS remembers his $5, Mackenzie not always.

And I DON'T have an iPhone. I'd like one, if it was about $50.

Nissa said...

Wow! The Easter Bunny brings money over there?? Shh.. don't let that get out.

I'm terrible about teaching about money. Although Trist hasn't received his allowance in months. He does his chores (almost consistently), but he is also responsible for marking them off on a chart( like a timecard, I guess). He hasn't bothered, so we haven't bothered to pay him . I think he figures he'll wait for the magical money that comes with holidays or just ask grandparents for whatever I say no to.

jennifersusan said...

I'm a briber. The boys get game time if they get their homework done, and on report card days they get money if they get all good grades. If they get a D or F they get games taken away for a month. They can chose to do chores for money or for games or books. Sam likes to work for books, and Chris likes to work for Pokemon cards. Todd works for keeping the big kids out of his room. I've been trying to give them more money and let them pay all on their own, because I want them to get the concept of tax, ect.. but they know that I'm always standing behind them with what they need, "just in case".
I don't have an Iphone either, but I do have a cute little Palm Treo. :)

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

I got $2 a week for allowance growing up. As the only child of a single mom, I think I did more chores than the average kid. The money wasn't really tied into my chores though. THose were just expected to be done because that's what you do when you're part of a family.

I remember saving my allowances for a ten speed bike... that took a while.

The girls' don't get allowances. They do get to get something from the dollar bins when we go to target and that's about it.

They DO know that money comes from work... when they were little little little and would ask for things at a store I would tell them to get a job. Now they'll say "Mommy, can I have a Barbie? Oh wait, I know... get a job."

I don't have an iphone... I'd kinda like one... I think....