Sunday, September 11, 2011

We started paying allowance

What is this doll doing here?  Read on to find out!

It's been a long time coming.  Red is a kid who, like most, is fascinated by money.  She has the eyes of an eagle and always finds the penny in the parking lot, she's the first one to go cushion diving for change, and after any major celebration enjoys surrounding herself on the rug with all her paper and coins.  The Cobbler and I talked about it (motivated by our Dave Ramsey conversation, I guess) and decided it was time to implement allowance.

Even though it goes against the latest school of thought, we decided to tie the money to chores.  Most experts say that you should just give the kids the money because if you link it to chores the kids will think the chores are optional.  I disagree, and after last week's results I vehemently disagree and I'll tell you why.

I know everyone has different ideas on what amount to pay and for what, but what we settled on was the following.  Red has to complete these tasks each day:
  • Her morning and evening routines.  These include grooming, dressing, making her bed, bathing, and laying out her clothes for the morning.
  • Maintaining the cleanliness of her room.  This includes picking up her stuff daily and dusting and vacuuming as needed.  
  • Pick up any of her belongings left in other areas of the house during the course of the day.
  • Setting and clearing the table at meals.
  • Putting away her own laundry if there is any.  
Tom Thumb has to do the following:
  • His morning and evening routines with assistance (similar to Red's).
  • Pick up his room with help.  Mom will dust and vacuum.
  • Feed the cats (because he likes it).
  • Put away his laundry with help.  
We haven't been as strict with him over the years about cleaning up as we have been with her (I guess it's second child syndrome) so we view him as still being in training.

We will pay Tom Thumb $4 per week if he completes all his tasks daily and Red $7.  We chose those amounts because we're monitoring their chores on a daily basis.  If the kids don't do all their tasks during the course of the day, we deduct $1 for Red and 50 cents (well, technically 57 cents ;-) for Tom Thumb.  The Cobbler designed a spreadsheet in Excel with macros that they click each night that tells them how much they've made for the day and how much they've accumulated for the week.  

Red also has the opportunity to earn extra money by helping clean the bathroom or vacuum and dust other areas of the house.  We pay a quarter for each thing she assists with cheerfully.

We've been on this plan for one week --- we go Friday to Thursday and pay on Friday after dinner --- and have had great results.  On pay day, Red and Tom Thumb each have three containers (this is a Dave Ramsey-ism)--- Spend, Save, and Give.  Red puts a dollar each in Save and Give (Tom Thumb 50 cents) and the rest goes in Spend.  Tom Thumb earned his $4 as expected, but Red earned $8.  It turns out that she desperately wants to purchase the 2011 American Girl Doll of the Year Kanani (pictured at the top of the post).  Who knew?  She and I sat down and worked out how much she would have to earn in order to buy the doll before she was discontinued at the end of the year.  Can you believe the doll is $100?!?!?  Each week she'll have to do all her regular chores plus some extra ones in order to earn enough in time.  Her motivation level is at an all time high.  I haven't had to remind her to clean her room for days.  I need to nudge her a bit on the finer details, but overall she's been doing great.  Quite frankly --- it's a miracle.  Linking chores to allowance seems to be working for us.

From what I understand, these Dolls of the Year routinely sell out between Halloween and Christmas.  If it were your kid and you had the money, would you buy the doll now and hide it out for when she has saved enough money?  Do you do allowance at your house?  Do you tie it to chores?  What tips can you share for what works for your family?


The Reader said...

My boys are saving up their combined allowance and birthday money this year to buy the Lego Death Star. It will take the two of them (the oldest boys) the entire year (obviously because of their age they get a bit more than $7/week). The oldest is also saving his babysitting money (for babysitting at home for us). Anyway, all that to say --- if I had suspicions that the goal toy might sell out or be unavailable by the time they had the money, I would definitely buy it and put it away for them for when the time came.

We don't tie their normal allowance to chores, though they do have chores they're expected to do. They do earn extra money for extra chores (ie, the babysitting is paid, and hard jobs are paid).

If they ever got complainy about doing chores, we might start tying it to their allowance. So far it hasn't been an issue.

Sock Monkey Mommy said...

You probably know that we don't do allowances here. But after you post, I might consider it sooner than later.

$7 is more than I made a week when I was in high school ($5 was all I made). Is there a calculation you determined for this amount?

I suppose at this point my girls either do their chores or lose privileges (tv time, computer time). The system works for us, because the house needs to be picked up, clothes need to be put away, and grooming needs to happen or suffer the consequences.

I don't know if a weekly allowance would necessarily work. Of course we are already paying out the a** for tuition and after school activities.

Regardless, I do have my girls participate in donating items to purple heart (Eva wrote the sign for the pick up person this morning and Zoe helped carry the bags to the porch) and I do think we should incorporate a children's offering in Sunday School...

Good luck!!!