"Mom, can I just have...."
"Please Mom, I won't ask for anything else...."
"But Mom!!! I really want it!!
Kids can be expensive. And if you don't nip this in the bud soon, it's just going to get more expensive as they grow up. This is why it is so important to teach children early about savings.
The one thing I know for certain about kids stuff is that the older they get, the smaller and more expensive their stuff gets....
A few years ago we introduced "pocket money". This was a chore based system that we adapted in order to have him work for the things that he wanted. We have adjusted this as he's gotten older, adding a few extra chores and dropping others. For example; when he was 4-5, brushing his teeth was something that we wanted to really encourage, so we made it a money-earning chore. Now that he's 7, brushing his teeth is non-negotiable and therefore doesn't earn him money. BUT, he's now old enough to make his bed and put his laundry away...
We operate a £2 a week system, where he has a set list of chores that need to be completed on a daily / weekly basis in order for him to receive the £2 on Friday evening. There are strict rules with this as he has a great knack for arguing at the moment. If there is any fussing or fighting to start or complete the chore, NO CASH. These are non-negotiable rules for us. It is important to us that he learns that there are some things in life that he just has to do...simple as that. Mom and Dad don't mess here....
As an extention to the £2 a week, we also offer the availability of extra chores. These are chores that are outside of the regular daily / weekly set that we feel that he can handle. For instance; helping with the dusting, vacuuming, washing the car with Dad, gardening etc. For every chore he completes during the week from these possibilities, he earns 50p. So, depending on what he feels like doing during the week, he can earn himself a tidy little sum of cash!!
It was important for us to show him very clearly that there are things that are expected of him and ALSO, if he chooses, he can get rewarded for his extra efforts.
There are long terms goals that we ask him to focus on - like a particular toy he wants - and there are shorter term gains that he would rather (like spending his £2 on sweets at the corner shop). For the most part, he has kept his eye on the prize.
This Friday will mark £20 in his money box. I know this may not seem like a great sum of money to most, but for our son, this marks the start of a commitment to working for what he wants and ultimately, getting it himself!!
Next step in our money lessons will be to help him set up a savings account. We are planning to offer him a "match your savings" plan. This means that for every £ he saves (towards his savings account) within the month, we will match this amount with him. For instance, if he chooses to save half of his monthly pocket money (£4) towards his savings account, we will match it and add £4 of our own. We're hoping that this way he will see how potentially rewarding it can be to save as well as spend!!