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May 26, 2009

Ten Cents A Chore

-3 As we all know, the economy is not at its best right now. Luckily, we’ve fared ok. In fact, I’ve been lucky enough to have taken 2 years off of teaching to back to school. I’ve been working part time, but we’ve definitely had to cut back on some luxuries. Now that my classes are over, I’ll be going back full time in September (I hope).

Because I’ve been working part time, we’ve not been able to ‘spoil’ our son like we used to. However, I don’t see this as a bad thing. Now that he’s older (10) we decided it’s time that he started learning about the value of money and that hings are not just handed to you.

In fact, in the past few weeks we’ve given him chores and an allowance. His ‘wants’ list is ever growing with books, Bakugan toys, and nerf guns. He has a list of chores that he can choose to do or not. For every chore he does, he gets a dime. At the end of the week we add it up and record it in his ‘checkbook’. Should he want something that he doesn’t have enough money for we charge him interest until it’s paid off. But that's only if his credit is in good standing to begin with.

At first he didn’t think it was fair that he had to work to be able to buy toys. After explaining to him we have to go to work each day in order to pay the bills and provide for the extras he began to see our point. But that didn’t mean he liked it.

So, I sat him down with a piece of paper and wrote out hypothetical paychecks and living expenses. And then we did hypothetical situations where you get sick and you are paid hourly with no benefits, so how are you going to pay all your bills? Or, you want something that costs a lot (like a big screen TV, or small vacation), and where is that money going to come from?

I told him it’s his choice to earn money if he wants something. We aren’t going to tell him to do his chores. It’s his responsibility. But he will be rewarded when he does. And as he grows older he’ll have actual bills and deciding to work or not will have a huge impact on his quality of life. Hopefully this is preparing him for when he’s on his own.

I think its working. Although there is lots he wants to buy, he’s not so quick to spend his money and really thinks about how he is going to spend it.

This is an original post for DC Metro Moms.

When not counting up dimes with her son, Robin can be found blogging at MyLifeAsItis.

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