Many thanks to Ginger Reeves for sharing her experience with her son and his money savvy ways last week.
Here are four tips for getting started on an allowance:
Keep an envelope for the younger set. My little man would lose his cash in an instant before he ever got to spend it. His younger siblings would mercilessly attack a piggy bank. Instead, I show my son his money and put it in an envelope for safekeeping. He can ask for some of his money anytime, or we can go together to the store with his envelope. Older or more responsible kids may benefit from a wallet to stash their cash.
Avoid working only for an allowance. It’s fine to establish “jobs” around the house that kids can get paid for. However, if the only way your child will do any chore is with money, he will not learn that there are certain responsibilities that EVERY family member has. You should not have to pay your child to wipe a counter, sweep a floor, help with dinner or pick up toys. Save the payments for more difficult or seasonal jobs.
Lorrie Harmon, of Pasadena, wrote in, "We pay for chores that make our life easier - like taking out the garbage, unloading the dishwasher, or picking up our shoes!!! They don't get paid for things that are their responsibility like cleaning up their room. They get about $3.00 a week and they give 10% [for an] offering and some is saved."
Establish clear guidelines. Tell your child when he will get paid so there are no surprises. Establish ways that pay can be docked or if there are opportunities to earn bonuses. This is a subtle difference from working for pay because the child will get a set allowance but gets to determine the impact based on what he does.
When my little man was having trouble focusing in school, we decided to dock his pay if he came home from school with a number instead of a star. We did not have to reprimand him for his behavior. A pay cut the first week hit home fast.
Surprise your child with bonuses if she does something particularly thoughtful without your prompting or accomplishes a hard earned milestone. She will want to look for more opportunities like these.
Let your child make some mistakes. Not crazy about letting him spend his $40 for a trendy overpriced toy? Let him do it once with his allowance. He will soon realize that he won’t be able to buy anything else for a while. Your child will learn about delayed gratification and will make better choices in the future.
Once your little pumpkin has amassed a small fortune, there are great places in town to spend it. Five Below offers a great selection of kid friendly gear at a great price. Franklin's Toys is also a good destination, just down the plaza. The selection there is pricier, but they have a wide selection of educational toys sure to please.
Game Stop in Severna Park Marketplace will go over well with the older set. Other places to stretch an allowance are Dollar Tree at Robinson Crossing and Ollie’s Outlet in nearby Pasadena.
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