Monday, September 26, 2011

Allowance, Revisited

Remember awhile back I was lamenting about our issues regarding allowance?  How we were failing miserably at remembering to dole out the cash and weren't thrilled with our system anyway?  Well, you all came through for us in a BIG way.  Your comments were incredibly helpful.  We chose our favorite aspects out of those comments and have come up with a system that we've been using for months now that works really well for everyone concerned.

Here's the current, beloved, Allowance Plan:

1) We no longer deal in cash!  Both Sam and Sadie are learning about coins and bills in math, so please don't fret.  They will grow up learning how to count money and recognize coins and bills just fine.  And, since so many of us today rarely deal in cash (forgive me, dear Dave Ramsey fans), it seems to be that teaching them to manage accounts is just as important.

I asked our bank for small account books for Sam and Sadie and this is where we keep track of their money.  This solves the problem of us not having the correct cash on hand when allowance day comes around as well.

2) Sam and Sadie each get their age in dollars on the first of each month via us writing it into their account book.  Throughout the month, there are occasions when they might earn or lose some of that money.  Occasions for earning include extra jobs.   Occasions for losing include when the break something (intentionally) or use up something they did not have permission to use (including food).

3) This money is now theirs to spend, BUT (and I sooooo love this BUT) in order to get to spend it, they have to put in writing (on a slip of paper on the fridge) what they want to buy and the date IF they have the money to pay for it.  TWO WEEKS after they've written the note, if they STILL want the item, we allow them to buy it.  We buy it for them and deduct the amount from their account book.

This means there is NO MORE BEGGING TO BUY THINGS AT THE STORE!  I'm so sorry I just yelled but I still can't contain my excitement over this part!  Sure, at the store they can look at things and at prices, but they know that in order to get an item they want they need to save up, then write a note and stick it on the fridge.  Sometimes the trouble of those two steps alone keeps them from wanting something!  And how cool is that?!

Sam and Sadie have both successfully saved up for larger items ($20-30) since we've started this and it's been really fun to watch them be thoughtful about the process.  As far as giving goes, we provide offering money for Sunday school offering projects at this point, but larger giving (like at Christmas time) will come out of their account after they decide to where and how much they would like to give.


This process is teaching me a thing or two as well.  Even though I'm thrifty, I can be impulsive, too.  I've been using my "Wish List" on Amazon A LOT since making Sam and Sadie wait for purchases.  It only seems fair.  When I see something I think I want or something I think the kids should have for school, I put it on my Wish List.  Just the act of doing this releases something within me that allows me to "let go" of the item.  A week or so later  I come back to the wish list and gratefully delete the items that I would have bought on impulse but now realize I don't want.  Swagbucks are cash (in Amazon land) and need to be used thoughtfully, right?  Right!

One more thing.  You all are smart, smart, smart and I want to thank you one more time for helping us get our allowance problems cleared up.  

There is now peace in allowance land thanks to you:-).
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  1. Just want to thank you so much for your lovely blog...I have tried your recipes (most recently the stewed tomatoes and chunky sauce) and LOVE them.
    Wishing you a fantastic day,

  2. I love your allowance ideas. Apparently, wasn't around when you originally visited the topic. Do you make exceptions to the two week waiting rule for garage sale finds or the like?

  3. Thank you, M.

    If we frequented garage sales, we'd have to make an exception (or some new rules), I guess, but we don't get out to those very much:-).

  4. I love your passbook ideas, I have been trying to get my children to save and spend less.. the waiting period for purchases is great I think we could all use this system.
    thank you for sharing. Nell

  5. I have thought of doing something similar, but wasn't sure it would work. This is very interesting. I've been trying to do a rewards system with them earning money for taking care of certain chores everyday, but I'm terrible at keeping track and remembering to pay out. This might work better.

  6. I, too must have missed the allowance debacle!! I like your approach. It's hard to remember to pay the kids then to make sure I have the correct exact amounts. I will throw out the idea to my kids and see if they are open to a change. Thanks for posting!!

  7. this is a great idea! thanks for collecting all the opinions and sharing your great system. we have so far simply avoided the issue (our oldest is only 5) and when we're shopping, I tell them I just stick to the list (would that their father was so stern!! ha)

  8. Ooooh, I like these ideas for keeping track of allowance and savings. Our kids have to plan in advance (before the trip to the store is planned) what they are going to buy, without deviation once inside. But I like the idea of the checkbook register, no cash and the two week wait period! Thank you for sharing what is working for your family :)

  9. Say Jane,I'm broke .can you borrow me 2 swag bucks---sorry I couldn't resist. in a way .if I budgeted like this I wouldn't be broke ,right. I'm always borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. I hope the lessons your children learn now ,last a life time-they earned it.ONLY TODAY I SENT OFF A E-MAIL TO CUB FOOD CONCERNING THERE PRICES [ I KNOW THERE ISN'T ANYTHING I CAN DO PERSONALLY] BUT YOU SOUND A LOT LIKE THE LADY THAT RESPONDED TO ME,ARE YOU SURE YOU WERE NEVER IN P.R.----JK

  10. What a great idea. That's one of the biggest reasons people have credit card debt - impulse buying.


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