Friday Feels – Chores, Organization, and Allowance

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 ;)

A living room filled with furniture and a large window

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.

  1. Save wisely
  2. Spend responsibly
  3. 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.

teaching kids about chores and allowance

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!

teaching kids about chores and allowance

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.

cottage style mudroom slate floor

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!

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  1. Can I ask if your kids complain about having to do the non negotiable chores or if you have to nag them to complete them? If they don’t do some of their daily chores, do you do it for them or does it just get left undone until they do it?My son is really motivated by getting to play games on the Wii so we set it up where he has to finish his daily chores before he can play games and then if he wants to earn money we have specific harder chores he can do for that. But he complains about having to do the daily chores all the time . I was just wondering if you had any tips for that and/or if you have any rules or routine for playing games/watching tv? Thanks :)

    1. They did at first but they have realized the longer they complain the longer it will be until they get to do what they want with their time. If they don’t do some of their daily chores on their own I will usually say “before you sit down for dinner I need you to put your backpack away etc or before you can have dessert you need to empty the dishwasher” stuff like that usually motivates them to get it done. As far as electronics they usually get an hour a day on weekdays. I set a timer and they know it goes off when the timer goes off (they definitely complain about it sometimes). I’m a little more relaxed on the weekends about it especially when the weather is bad. Sounds like you have a good system going with chores before Wii though!

  2. This is so good. My kids are still on the younger side, 5 and 2, but we have definitely started chores with the older one. This makes me think she is capable of a lot more than what I have been giving her! I love the family meeting too! This is inspiring me to implement some changes! Also, we strongly believe in tithing too and she tithes her allowance every week too. Love this whole thing! I am going to write down my dreaded chores! ;)

  3. This is something I wish I had been better at when our children were young. They are both grown and married now, 24 and 30 years old. I think they must have learned something by example from my husband and me though. Both children have savings accounts that they are adding to and they both give back to their communities. As a former teacher I always took gifts on Christmas Eve to less fortunate children. I am pretty sure my children remember me crying as we drove away. Both of our children volunteered through our church and went on mission trips with the Appalachian Service Project which helps to make homes in the Appalachian area warmer, safer and drier. This was probably THE BEST thing they did for it made them appreciate what they had and realize that they needed to help others. Hind sight is better than fore sight, I do wish I had spent less on toys for our kids. It is hard when you CAN afford to give your children more though. I love your Christmas ideas for your children. I am appreciate of when the grown children come home and want to help their dad and me with whatever we are doing. My son will actually take the broom from my hand and say, “Let me finish that for you!” and our daughter is equally helpful, always jumping in and doing dishes. Raising children can be hard. Kelly, you seem to have a good handle on it! Good job!

  4. This post is super helpful and practical! My kids are still really little but I already know I’ll never be neber be able to keep up with chore charts etc, and I hate nagging. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes I have tried SO many different chore charts and stars and marbles in jars etc and I could not stay consistent. The weekly meeting is so much easier than remembering all day every day.

  5. Hi!!!

    Love your house!! Beautiful!!!! This such an inspiring post!!!! My kids are your ecxact kids age!!! My girl is 9 and my son is 6!! They both clean their room, the only thing I do is mop.. but their bathroom I do clean myself.. they do also put away laundry (but don’t sort it, that’s such a good idea to make them do it them selves, frankly, I’m tired of turning out their socks and jeans!!:) We also to give them just money here and there but I think it will teach them a lot if we do it regularly.. and the tithing thing as well! I’m a big believer of that, but we just give them money to give in church, but it would mean much more if they gave their own money… thanks again for the post!!!! Follow up questions..
    1) How do you handle buying things for them then.. do you still buy them toys and stuff or do they buy/ save up for toys they really want to get it themselves and you just buy and b day and Christmas? I kind of struggle with teaching mine that they can’t get something every time they walk into a store.. the Mr. likes to get them at least something (a $1 car, or gum or candy or craft thing for the girl) and I feel like that’s really teaching them bad spending habits.. and that they can get something (no matter how small or big) every time they walk into a store..
    2) Do you have pictures of your kids rooms? I’m going to scroll around your blog to see if I can find any.. and the lockers.. I’ve debating getting them something like that.. can you post picture of your.. (again if you already did, sorry)

    1. Having them sort the laundry is such a time saver for me and they actually like to do that one! As far as buying them things I will admit we rarely buy them stuff. We do birthdays and Christmas and then usually at the beginning of summer we buy seem new outdoor stuff (rafts for the pool, soccer ball, water balloons etc) but I never really buy them anything in a store. I think they are so used to me saying no they don’t ask that much anymore. Also their Grandma’s tend to get them little things here and there so it’s not like they are missing out on stuff. Also they are always really proud of themselves when they save up and buy something on their own. My son’s room is on the blog but I haven’t finished my daughter’s yet you can find it here – https://www.thelilypadcottage.com/2017/10/pirate-themed-boy-bedroom.html Also the lockers I’m talking about are actually in our mudroom. They are tall cabinets but we call them lockers and they each have one to keep their coats and backpacks in. Thanks! Hopefully I answered all your questions :)

  6. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing. My little guy is 5 and he does laundry in hamper, dishes in dishwasher and *sometimes* feeds the pets. I think I’ll try to get him to wipe down his sink and countertop too.

  7. So glad to read of another family who has done basically what we have been teaching our children. We have and still do something similar minus the sit down and discussion Sunday night. It has worked very well.
    Two of our 3 children are adults and it is amazing how frugal they are! Our oldest just got married and built a new home, but him and his wife decided to buy most of their furniture and appliances in very good used condition (saving themselves $$$ and they also did their own wiring, painting, and cleanup to save themselves thousands of $).
    This system teaches them to work, save and give!

  8. Thanks for answering some of our burning questions. Your methods of encouraging your kids to do chores, earn allowance and share their blessings with others is wonderful. My husband and my daughter (who is doing her MBA in finance) would get along very well with yours. Thanks for sharing with us every week, I, for one, really enjoy your writing.

  9. Would love to know what else is on your “dreaded” chore list. I like this idea. :) Seems like if my kids are fighting then maybe they need something more productive to do, lol!

    1. Other dreaded chores besides wiping the baseboards – shoveling the sidewalk, picking up doggie poo, and organizing the toy closet. If one kid is really picking on the other I make that kid do something for the other one like make their bed or clean their bathroom.

  10. This system sounds amazing…..not only are you teaching them the value of money, but you are teaching them responsibility, the joy of loving and helping others, the love of God and titheing, and the fact that you are all working as a team in a happy, loving home. I especially love the dirty deed part….perfect way to end a fight and stop fights from happening. I know how much I hate cleaning baseboards?

  11. I love this! My boys are 2 and 5, and my husband and I are brainstorming ways to get a system going in terms of cleaning, chores and allowances.

  12. WOW Kelly seriously I think we do this almost identically in our house! I have an 8 year old daughter. We use the “Dave Ramsey Jr” system with a chore chart and the spend/save/give envelopes. I highly recommend it! The only thing I struggle with is that I have a housekeeper (to keep my sanity) and I often hear Elizabeth saying “Jess can do it…” UMMM NO! I wish she was my secret… :-) Have a great day!

  13. My husband also loves spreadsheets, he made one for my contractions when I was in labor with our 1st child!

  14. Kelly, your whole system is fabulous! You’re raising caring, responsible little humans who will take all of these important lessons with them into adulthood.

    I haven’t had help with housework for a long time (my son is 39, today!) and I hate to vacuum so I bought a robot vacuum that I run regularly and highly recommend! I clean the rest of my house on a schedule – one room every day, except for the kitchen and baths that get cleaned as needed, so each room never goes longer than a week without cleaning. It’s nicer than having to tackle the whole house in one day like I used to when we both worked.

    Hubby does his own laundry and will also grocery shop for me. Such a blessing! :-)

  15. Kelly,

    I always enjoy reading your blog. You are a very creative writer and a wonderful decorator. Love your whole family.

  16. My daughter (also a Kelly) has two kids 9 and 11. Hey have the very same chore list, with the exception that they now do their own laundry. They have a very privileged lifestyle and family income. Kelly and her husband believe that it is not what you DO for your children, but what you TEACH them to do for themselves and others. I am such a proud Mom and Grammie. Your and your husband are doing a great job!

    1. Wow that’s awesome that they do their own laundry I’m not sure I trust mine not to goof up the machine lol, although ours has so many buttons and options I barely know how to run it myself :)

  17. I really enjoyed reading this. I have been hesitant to give my kids allowance because I want them to do what it takes to keep the house in order because they are a part of our family, not to get paid. However, I enjoyed reading what y’all do. I love the reflection before the handing out of allowance.

    What I really love is the extra chores as punishment. I have done that, too. But I didn’t have a list, I would just make things up on the fly. I like that there are consequences written down so they can see what is awaiting them should they fuss and fight.

    Thank you! I enjoy reading your posts every time!

    1. Hi Jenni we talked about that a bit too, it’s hard to figure out but we wanted them to understand the value of money too. I’ve even had a friend who keeps a jar with the “dreaded chores” on pieces of paper and you have to grab one as a consequence.

  18. Sounds like you have a good system going. My kids are grown and had similar responsibilities growing up. Entering late elementary school/middle school age changed things for us a little. Homework became more time consuming and both my kids were athletes. For our family it was important that they did “kid things” so wasting a little money was okay (after all isn’t my Starbucks habit a waste of money? – all in the eyes of the beholder) and my kids biggest responsibilities were to be good students and teammates. This didn’t mean they didn’t help out at home (they still did the chores your kids do) but they weren’t encouraged to get a regular job if they were in a sport especially. They tended to babysit and do odd jobs. Also my laundry schedule changed to Monday’s (so we had clean clothes/uniforms for the week) and Fridays (so we had clean clothes/uniforms for the weekend). I did beds on Fridays and towels on Mondays (they were used really heavily over weekends because of sports).

    1. Sounds like you had a good system too Margot! My kids aren’t in that many activities yet so I’m sure we will have to make some adjustments over the years – thanks!

  19. Love your ideas and the fact that you are intentional with your kids. We love Dave Ramsey and try to use the cash system as much as we can. Instead of weekly payment, we give our kids their allowance at the end of the month according to their age, mainly because we have 5 kids and it could get expensive! So our 15 year old, who does harder chores gets more than his 7 year old sister. It’s always hard to find something that works perfect, but at least we’re all trying!!

  20. Great suggestions. I think it’s very important to include children in the workings of the household. Not only does it give them the skills they need when they are older but it builds confidence and maturity. Good job mom!

  21. Wow!!! I should have had this when our girls were young … they are 48 & 49 and the grandson is 18

  22. hmmm….I’m going to try this with my 2 kiddos…..not sure why I never thought of it. Thanks!! Love your home btw……

  23. Can I please have your family over for a few months to train my husband and the last child still staying with us :-)

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