Our Children & Budgets
Let’s start by saying we don’t give our children money for helping around the house, unless it’s an extra like shampooing the couch. The day to day tasks, such as dishes, sweeping, etc it is expected that they help. The money they receive from us is the money that they would have received from us throughout the month, regardless. We just do it all at once.
Let me explain. At the end of the month the girls and I sit down and discuss the upcoming month. We figure out how many hot lunches they will buy, dances, Brownie money and other social events that require $$. We discuss anything they may need such as socks, school items, and personal care items. We also discuss a portion for saving and spending. Sounds like a lot of work but we enjoy it and they are learning life skills.
We have a calendar and each child has their own notebook/pencil (I considered showing the notebooks but they may like to keep their budgets private). They do all the writing and calculating, my help is guidance only. When we looked at the calendar for October they figured out that there was 4 Fridays in October, hot lunch is a Friday luxury,so the oldest gets 5$ and the middle child gets $2 for hot lunch. We also realized that 1 of those Fridays is a no school day. So when they calculated they needed $15 and $6 for the month for Hot Lunch. The middle child takes $2 a week to Brownies, she figured out she had 4 brownie nights in October, so she needed $8. The oldest needed $7 for her dance.
When we go into personal care needs we take into consideration tooth brushes, tooth paste, soaps, hair care products, feminine products. They figure out what they need for the month and we plan for it. When I have explained this to people, they say you make your children buy their own products. Yes we do in a sense and in a sense we don’t. The money comes from us, it’s not like we are forcing them to get a job or go with out. Yes at times there are 3 bottles of shampoo on the go, to me that’s a little thing that means nothing to me or my husband.
We also consider Saving and Fun money. Savings is usually 10% of what they are given. I like them to have about $15 in Fun Money. Lord knows if we were buying them stuff all month long it would be more then $15. I ask that they put 10% of their total money into Saving, sometimes it’s $3 sometimes it’s $5. It just depends on the month.
The older child gets more per month then the middle child and the youngest is still to young to care. The middle child understands that her sister gets more because she needs more things and that when she is older she will get the same. That’s just how it goes, Life!
So here’s the catch to our budget system, not really a catch, I don’t know what else to call it. A reality, a maybe! After they have figured out what they need for the month, we figure out what denominations of money they need. The middle child uses twoonies mostly and the oldest $5 bills, we figure it all out. I go to the bank and get out what they need and in what amounts so I can give it to them. In our family budget we have an amount set aside for them each month. After my ban trip, I come home and we divide it up as they have planned out. Again a lot of work but they are learning so much! and we would be spending that money on them anyway. So the catch or reality of this is, they get all their money on the 1st day of the month. If the oldest decides she is going to go to the store and buy a shirt and dips into her hot lunch money, well then I guess she’s making herself a sandwich on Friday (Mamas off lunch duty that day). That is her choice. They are also doing it the other way, “if I buy this shirt that means I can’t get pizza on Friday. I really like pizza on Friday, oh but I like this shirt. Well if I save up for a month, I can have this shirt.”
We have discussed things like a bottle of juice at the school canteen costs $1.75 (INSANE!) but you can go to Wal-Mart and buy an entire case of 12 for $5.99. If you only drink them on Fridays with your hot lunch, that’s a potential savings of $12. They are learning a bit about prices/quantity/quality also, we aren’t too focused on that just yet but if it happens it’s a bonus.
We have been doing this now for a few months, we didn’t do it much over the summer. There wasn’t really a need to do it. The school year is when money seems to go out way faster then it comes in. Our children enjoy doing this and they are learning so much. There is math involved in the process. They like to look at the sales flyers when they need items, they like to look for the “good deal”. Our middle daughter is forever looking for coupons, oh doesn’t she get excited when she gets one. They do their own shopping, they do the checkout themselves and pay for their items.
It works for OUR FAMILY, it may not work for yours. I have critics also who say, why? Why are you teaching this to your children. They are 12 and 7 years old. The answer to that question is, maybe if someone had taught me. Maybe I wouldn’t be in the current situation I am in. It wasn’t that my parents didn’t care, it was just not something that mattered at that time. We would like our children to learn the value of a dollar and life skills. Why not start now?! Maybe when they get their first jobs, they won’t blow their paychecks on random crap like it did. Maybe at that time they will have a plan, something they are saving for.
For us this works!