Monday, October 4, 2010

To Pay Or Not To Pay

As an only parent, the responsibility of maintaining the home lies soley on me.  I can be particularly handy.  I can do basic repairs, change light fixtures, and paint for starters.

On top of having to do the maintenance on my home, I am responsible for 100% of the housekeeping, laundry, and caring for our family pets.  At some point it gets to be too much.  Fortunately, my kids are at an age where they can begin to pitch in. 

About a year ago, I made a chart that outlined ways for them to contribute daily.  The chart consisted of tasks like "vacuum living room", "clean litter boxes", and "take out garbage".  In addition to these tasks, I have begun to teach my kids to assist with laundry - both washing and folding their own. Sadly, these things rarely get done without repeated requests and the occasional battle.

So, here is my dilemma...

Now 10 & 11, my children want to be able to have a bit of discretionary money.  At their age, the only way to come about such funds is through allowance.  While I got a minimal allowance as a child, I don't feel inclined to provide my kids with their own.

via Google Images

While experts say kids should be given allowance so they can begin learning financial responsibility at a young age, most say allowance shouldn't be tied to chores. First of all, I have a hard time grasping not tying allowance to a completed job.  Secondly, I believe that pitching in with household tasks is the familial responsibility of all who reside under this roof. Last of all, having been working as a part-time bartender since being laid off 2 1/2 years ago, I don't exactly have extra money to allot to an allowance fund.

So, this begs the question, how do I provide my children with discretionary funds? How do I teach them the concept of contributing to the home if I am paying them to pitch in? How do I teach them the value of the dollar while still teaching them the value of earning money through hard work?

24 comments:

Gaia said...

ha ha been there and done that.. I don't bother paying my son for his help in housekeeping.. I just complain I am too tired or too busy! When it gets too dirty or too untidy he will pack and clean it.. So being lazy on my part PAYS !!!

Jennifer Juniper said...

There are several ways you could go..
Assign them weekly chores and either pay them if they do them or pay them if they do more than their share (I pay if chores are completed - it has yet to happen).
Assign them weekly chores, but don't pay them for chores - pay them for school since that's their job ($5/week if you have no conduct problems or something).
Anyway you go as long as you're consistent it will be fine.

June said...

We have had the same conversation here... If you live in the house, you should take responsibility for taking care of it "without incentive" to do so.

Pinkus doesn't get an allowance but he does get rewarded for good behavior and grades.

Aunt Crazy said...

I think some chores can be paid and some can be their responsibility as a family member. Also, school things can be broken into paid/unpaid categories. For example, my son mows the yard about once a week, so I decided that every other week he could get paid and the off weeks were because he lived in the family home and he needed to be responsible for the yard half the time. He's a senior now and we don't do it this way anymore but that is because we pay his gas and insurance so I feel he can mow all the time for "free" LOL

Sammy K said...

I think that if your chillins are learning about the value of a dollar and how it ties into hard work, then they should earn the money for their chores and for their homework. Their job as a kid is to go to school and do chores around the house, no exceptions. If they learn that they need to do the work in order to receive the money, I think that might do the trick. As adults we know that we have to do the work in order to get the money, so teaching the kids this at 10 and 11 gives them a one up on the competition.

Mike said...

I would suggest giving them a set allowance and a set list of responsibilities with a cost of how much they are if not done. At the end of the week hand them their money. Then have them pay you back what they didn't do. Having them pay you back will quickly drive the point home. The money left over should be divided into 3 categories. 10% to a charity of their choice to teach them to give back. 20% into savings to teach them how to save. The rest they can keep. All this has to be done in front of you. Let them pay it out and again it will drive the lesson home.

Renegades said...

My husband was laid off last year so I know how money can get tight. In my opinion it doesn't hurt children to realize as a family we are watching our money. In fact I think it teaches them a money lesson. We went from living in the fast lane to a stalled car. We all learned from it. Those lessons have even carried over now to my husband and I still.

We don't all need a pop and a snack everytime we fill up with gas. We can rent a movie so much cheaper insteed of 4 of us going to the theater.

I'm considering giving my kids an allowance just to help them learn to manage their money. If you spend it all now then what are you going to do friday night at the football game snack shack. Letting them make choices.

I just believe a family helps each other out in the chores department. I don't think any of us need to get paid for it. Just my opinion.

I believe more in rewards for helping out such as who gets to choose what show we watch. Who gets to suggest supper ideas. Rewards in my opinion don't have to include money.

won said...

The way it works in our home is my son gets an allowance. It is the amount I'd like be dishing out to him via weekly requests for a dollar for a candy bar, or two bucks for a slurpee. It's the same difference, I'm just making him responsible for the money. Once it's gone, it's gone and he doesn't ask me to buy him this or that.

Of his allowance, 15% goes into savings.

I don't tie it to chores because I don't want to send the message that I am paying him to be a contributing member of this household (and wouldn't that also leave the door open for him not to do his chores and forgo his allowance?).

Babes Mami said...

I don't have any suggestions, I was curious about the answers. Looks like lots of good ideas! I will be storing away for the future.

Buffee said...

Justin cleans his room, the kitchen/dishes, washes his own laundry and takes out the trash/recycling. This is his "contribution" to the family, since he doesn't work. If he wants spending money, he knows he has to get a job.

So maybe have other "chores" they can do to earn money. Like washing the car?

That's all I got, sorry, I'm not really a mom!

Kristy said...

Follow your heart on what you think is right. I think there are pros and cons to both. Gee, I'm so helpful I know.

M-Cat said...

If I had to go back and do it again, I would NEVER have given my kids an allowance just to learn money managing skills. I think it sends a horrible message about handouts.

I think that if the live in your home, they have a responsibility to help in maintaining that home. Extra projects or jobs - sure then they can EARN their money.

When my 23 year old lost his job I refused to loan him money without work on the side. He did the work and still has to pay me back.

I know, I know - meanest mom ever!

Patricia said...

Since money is tight for you, and you want to teach them the value of money, with out paying them to work around the house, have you considered a paper or flyer route? I did this when I their age, at first my mom came with me and helped me until I was old enough to do it myself. I became addicted to work after that. Anyway they should help around the house without getting anything for that, it's a part of being a family and they need to learn that too....lol....I wish someone paid me to do my chores... but I would rather work extra and hire someone to clean my house...lol

adrienzgirl said...

You know, this is something that may work with The Girl. Actually associating their monies for fun to appropriate behaviors and grades at school might work. It can't hurt.

Unfortunately The Boy is starting in the hole given the lack of work he's turned in.

Mine aren't receiving allowances right not, but then we are broke.

Kat said...

That is a very good question..I have 4 kids..ages 20, 16, 13 and 8..And they need to be responsible for their own rooms...does it happen...haha..Mommy always comes in and cleans it right..I should stop..but then a health hazard may occur..they should have basic certain responsibilities...that is considered helping Mommy out...now to mow the lawn...or do big yard work or painting..you can offer them some allowance for doing so...I often do not give out an allowance..WHY? Because most often they get it anyway...but on days when you feel tired..as I am also Josephine the Plumber like you...offer a couple dollars or ice-cream for some extra help...sounds like a bribe...but at the same time they learn they have to work to get paid...Kat...

Natalie said...

I love all of the ideas in the comments. My son is only 3, but we're already trying to teach him about responsibility and money. It's hard, but I want him to know that it doesn't grow on trees and that he has to actually work for it!

Kia said...

I am fully on board with the no allowance tied to chores. I refused to set that connection because its happened time and again with others i know their children then say well i don't want to do XYZ chores and i don't need the money so i wont do it. it keeps happening. My daughter has chores she has to do. its a small list and she usually complies. She's had an allowance since she was in 3rd grade. At that point all the other kids were discussing how much they got.

My rule is allowance requires she maintains decent grades. its her job to go to school just like its my job to be the sole provider in my house. There are items i refuse to buy. Candy, dolls and certain toys. they will not be paid for by me, so if she wants it she needs to save up to buy it. While she is autistic it means i spent a good amount of time with her at the cashier. i always picked the empty aisle so no one would get stuck behind us while she paid for and counted her money. And we did it over and over and over again...for a year. I also give her the statements from her savings account. She tends to deposit her birthday/christmas money and keep her allowance which is the same amount she got in 3rd grade) she hasn't mastered the idea of asking for a raise.

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

Honestly, I see chores and allowance as two seperate things, unrelated.

Chores are required. I don't care if I have to nag him 10 times to do it. He doesn't do it, he doesn't get free time the way he'd like. Xbox time is a reward for doing all his "have to's", including homework.

Allowance is how I teach him to manage money in life. He gets $5 a week. This also means he can not ask me for "silly" things when we go shopping. If he blows his $5 on something crazy...then he has to wait that much longer to save up for something really worthwhile.

I honestly don't believe the two things should be tied together, but that's just my opinion.

Ed said...

This is quite the issue as kids get older.

I just send mine door to door asking for handouts.

blueviolet said...

Although I received allowance for chores as a child, I didn't like doing that for my own kids. I expected them to help out simply because they were part of the family and we were all in this together.

Bloggin in PA said...

Not having kids I really dont have an offical opinion. But I deff agree with those poeple who said non-monetary rewards for chores like picking the tv show or getting xbox time, etc.

Alexis AKA MOM said...

I agree my parents made me work for it, and even then it didn't mean I would get any cash perse just food and board :). Then when I was old enough it was job for me to pay my own way.

Jane @ Going Jane said...

In our house all 3 of my kidder (3, 5, & 7) get paid for their work; the oldest gets the most bc she does the most; the youngest gets the least bc he does the least. I think it teaches them a good work ethic: no work, no pay. I buy them no toys, candy, extra clothes, etc...they have to use their allowance. They can get anything they want (no matter how stupid I think it is) as long as they pay for it themselves. When they are out of $, they are out: just like me! :) I think it teaches them the importance of good choices and they actually save quite a bit. I set it up after reading one of Dr Kevin Lehman's books. Another great suggestion he had: before leaving home, each kid should be resp for paying the family bills for an entire year...so they GET how much things are (it's not just affording the car pmt, it's the gas, the insurance, etc. - and yes, we can up the cable pkg but then we do without FOOD, etc.) It works for us, although I get it may not work for everyone. :)

MR. X AND MOM said...

Single Mom w/Single Son. He graciously helped me vacuum the house the other day. Then asked for $20.00 PER ROOM.

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