Little Red Riding Hood's coins
For the first 20 years of parenting, I have stood by the same theory on allowance. Basically, I believe that kids should get a small allowance not tied to chores in which to learn how to manage money. I do not think that money should be tied to chores, because I have seen this backfire several times with friends. About a half dozen times I have seen preteens decide that they were not going to help with the family chores for pay or otherwise and instead go do the same chores for the neighbors who will pay more. I am not paid to serve my family. I serve my family first out of a love for them and a sense of responsibility to my family. When it comes to chores, we want out children to learn responsibility, teamwork, doing a job correctly with their whole heart and stewardship. This system worked very well for my oldest. He is responsible, frugal and serves his family first for free.
When it came time for our next set of children to start getting an allowance, we put the same rules into practice. They were already doing chores, so the only addition was each getting $1 on Saturday. Also, for each thing they purchase, they have to get rid of something. That has been an ongoing rule, except for birthdays and Christmas. For the last year, my husband and I have watched them learn how to handle their money. In the last few months, we have started the hard work of training them in money-wise practices. It looks different for each child, because each is very different.
Goldilocks (9.5) ~
Even though Goldilocks is the oldest of this set of children, she is also the most challenged. One thing you read over and over again about FASD children is that they have NO money sense. Boy, does this ring true for this child! Money slips through her fingers like water. She almost can't stand to even have it. She must spend it the second she gets it. That is not to say that she does not want money!! She does not have the concept that, if she saves it, she can buy something that she really wants. Her mind thinks in the present moment and what can I buy with this 41 cents -- instead of what is it I want to buy and do I have enough? After a year, she still thinks of spending as if she can walk into Walmart with 25 cents and find a toy on the shelves to buy -- it does not matter what it is, she just wants to spend that 25 cents. Lots of work to do here. Step 1- We will work on her saving money for two days at a time and trying to write out lists of things she would like to buy. She must have a list of ideas before going anywhere near a yard sale or store.
Tom Sawyer (8) ~
Tom Sawyer understands and is capable of saving. Despite only getting $1 per week, he has saved up to $8 several times and often has a wishlist in his head. He can count large sums of money and figure out how much he will get back from the clerk. On the learning side of it, he can be a bit greedy and has been known to charge his older sister a quarter for him to stand on a chair to reach something she wanted in a closet. Having FASD, she willingly does it and pays him. He understands that one of the things that is good about money is spending it on others that are in need or for gifts for others. However, he whines no end about it and does not give of his own money with a very happy heart. Also, he is struggling with purchasing quality goods versus junk from the dollar store. He does not see why new things break so quickly when bought from the dollar store. The current goal for this child is working on being a smart shopper. Also, when pursuing his entrepreneurial interests, he needs to remember not to step on the little guy. Lastly, Tom Sawyer needs to learn that the usefulness of money is being able to meet your NEEDS, help others, and fulfill SOME of your wants.
Little Red Riding Hood (6.5) ~
This one is my natural saver. She hardly ever spends her money! She always has the most money of the younger set, even though they all get the same amount each week. She understands the value of money and is okay about giving to charity. However, she is a bit obsessed with money. She wants to talk about, count, change it into different denominations, and look at her money all the time! She's almost obsessed with the topic. Her goal is to remember that money itself does not bring one happiness...it is what money can do for her and others that brings happiness.
None of the goals for my children need to be or will be achieved immediately. However, they are things that I am thinking about and training into them all the time.