Hey guys! Welcome to another Friday feels where I share what I’m “feeling” this week. Before I took off for Christmas break, I asked you to hit me with any questions you have for me (don’t worry I’ll eventually answer them all), but I was surprised by the amount of emails and comments about how I keep my house organized and clean. So today, I thought I would share a few of my tips, and at the top of the list is child labor ;)
So let’s talk about how we handle chores and allowance. You might be particularly interested in this since the Mr. works in finance (again answering another burning reader question about the Mr.’s profession). He has his MBA, CFA, CFP and CTFA (don’t ask me what those actually stand for, because I don’t remember anymore, but basically it means he spent eleventy billion years in school and he is brilliant. He also loves spreadsheets and graphs – like obsessively loves spreadsheets – and could talk about budgets all day long while quoting Dave Ramsey verbatim with perfect Tennessee inflection and drawl), so he has definite ideas about teaching our kids the value of a buck, how to be a good steward, how to budget, how to spend wisely and most importantly how to be generous to bless others with the blessings God has given.
Let’s back track to cleaning a minute. My kids are 6 and 9 and they have been doing chores since they were little – no free rides around here! I think it’s important for them to know they are part of our team and they need to help out. I have tried a million chore charts etc., but this is what has finally worked for us. I have a list of daily chores and a list of weekend chores. They each have them hanging in their closets as a reminder.
As you can see, they really do a lot to help out! As far as allowance goes, they can earn up to $5 a week. But it’s a sliding scale, and I don’t nag them everyday or do a checklist or stars, because that means I would have to actually remember to do that. They just know I have my eye on them, and at the end of the week if they did a good job, they get a good pay day. If they didn’t complete much, they get a bad pay day. This works surprisingly well because they are competitive and don’t want the other to earn more money then them. They also like earning money and feeling like they are helping out.
The weekend chores are non-negotiable though. They don’t get to see friends, play outside etc… until those are done. We have a family meeting every Sunday night to reflect back on the week together, say what’s on our minds, and at the end of the meeting, talk about allowance. A lot of times I say “how do you think you did?” and they will list off the chores they completed. It really helps them to think about what they did and didn’t do. They have never disagreed with their paycheck and are both pretty good at realizing if they had a slacker week.
Once we determine the amount of money they get, we talk about where it’s going. We want to teach them 3 things.
- Save wisely
- Spend responsibly
- Give generously
They have 2 different envelopes each, nothing fancy. One for saving and one for giving. We believe it’s important to tithe, so it is an important thing to instill in our kids as well. We always tell them what 10 percent of their paycheck is and let them choose how much to put in the giving envelope, they usually choose to give more than 10 percent, which is pretty heartwarming.
At the end of the year we take all the money they have in their giving envelopes and take them to buy Christmas gifts for other kids in need that the Mr.’s company adopts for the holiday through a local non-profit. They get really excited about it and love feeling like they helped someone. As far as the saving envelope goes, we let them use it how they want, but try to talk to them about good choices and impulse buying versus saving up for something they really want.
That’s not to say it always works. Our 9 year old daughter once said “What is the point of money if I can’t WASTE it?!” I thought my spreadsheet loving, budget thumping husband was going to keel over right there!
Now, you might say does a 6 year old boy really do a good job cleaning his bathroom? The answer is not always, ha but he is trying. I buy those disposable surface cleaning wipes (organic non-toxic ones to be on the safe side) and they wipe down their counters, sinks, faucets and mirrors. It’s a huge help to me only having to do the showers, floors and toilets.
The other huge help is having them sort their own laundry. They know Monday is laundry day. If they want something washed, Sunday night they are responsible for bringing their laundry baskets upstairs and sorting it – lights, darks, colors. By the time they get home from school it’s washed, folded and back in their baskets for them to put away. I like to get it all done at once so I don’t have to think about it again for another week.
Does this system always work perfectly? No, there are days my house is a hot mess (see the current mudroom situation below, which to be honest is still pretty tame for us), because life with kids is always messy and unpredictable, but it gives us some structure and I love that they are learning about money and the value of work at a young age.
Oh and one last tip, I have a special list of chores that everyone hates (wiping down baseboards anyone?!) and if my kids are fighting and won’t leave each other alone, they have to stop what they are doing and do one of the dreaded chores. A. This discourages fighting, B. When they are done cleaning they don’t remember what they were fighting about, C. I get out of extra chores :) Winning all around!
Anyway, if you don’t have kids that may have bored you to tears, but several of you asked so there you go!