Money is one area that Mike and I have implemented multiple strategies to teach the girls how to value money. A few years ago, we went through Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover and began our journey to accomplish the seven baby steps laid out in the book. This book helped us realize that we wanted to be purposeful in teaching our kids how to spend, save, and give money appropriately.
In our home, each of the girls completes two age-appropriate chores daily. They are things like: unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, taking out the trash, or dusting. Chores are part of taking care of our home and doing one’s part around the house. We do not pay the girls to complete their chores. There is a shortlist of jobs that we pay the girls for, such as mowing the grass or deep cleaning the cars.
Our girls do not currently get an allowance so the money they manage is usually from birthday gifts or paid jobs around the home. We have given allowances in the past but it was difficult for the girls to value the money when it was not attached to work. Teaching the girls about money includes how to earn money, manage money, and be generous givers.
Teaching kids to Earn Money
Usually, the girls do not ask to earn money unless they want to buy a particular item. A few years ago, when Adelynn was nine, she wanted to buy an expensive Halloween costume. I was not ready to dole out over a hundred dollars so she could be a fancy archer. This was the perfect opportunity for her to learn how to earn money.
A hundred dollars was a big goal for a nine-year-old. I did not want to start overpaying her for menial jobs so that she could meet her goal. Mike thrives on teaching our kids about earning money and solving problems, so he and Adelynn started brainstorming ways that she could earn a hundred dollars in three weeks.
Since Adelynn loves to bake and was able to work independently in the kitchen, it was decided that she could bake mini Snickerdoodle Bread loaves. Adelynn would be responsible for baking + packaging each loaf, and Mike would help by bringing her baked goods into work for his co-workers to purchase. Adelynn did a booming little business, and some customers came back to buy more.
When moments like this arise naturally, I want to be purposeful in teaching our girls about money. It would have been easier to either buy the Halloween costume for Adelynn or make her chose a different costume. Instead, with Mike heading up this teachable moment, Adelynn experienced working hard, and making a good product is a way to earn money.
Teaching kids to MANAGE Money
Each birthday the girls receive many gifts of money. Since birthdays are the most consistent time, the girls have a large sum of money; we encourage them to save it. I do not take the girls to the store to purchase items with their birthday money.
Instead of spending their money right away, they save it for upcoming events or trips. Our girls purchase their own souvenirs on our vacations. It is great for them to manage their own money on vacations and purchase items that they will use or remember our trip by.
Our big vacation this past summer was to Glacier National Park. It was a long drive from the Chicago area, but the destination was worth it. Of course, we had to stop at the souvenir capital of America, Wall Drug, South Dakota. The girls had money to spend and plenty of items that would be fun to purchase. Heidi bought a pair of earrings, and Elyse added a postcard to her collection, but they were motivated to keep much of their money for our shopping day in Montana.
It is interesting to see the girls’ thinking process to determine what is worth spending their own money on. Their personalities come through in how they value money and if they are willing to part with it. In Montana, Adelynn added some fun graphic t-shirts to her wardrobe, Heidi came back with two sets of earrings, and Elyse bought a new favorite t-shirt and 25 lbs of gravel with the promise of pretty rocks + minerals.
Teaching kids to Give
The girls have very tender hearts towards one another when it comes to giving gifts. Most of their money gets spent on purchasing Christmas gifts to exchange with each other. The past few years they would each draw a name from a hat and just give one gift to a family member. This year, the girls decided that wanted to get a gift for each one of their sisters.
The Autumn Drive is where the girls spend their money for Christmas gifts since they can get fun presents at affordable prices. This year we made our own Autumn Drive and the girls all finished their Christmas shopping. My girls are all more willing to spend their money on their sisters than on themselves. I love to see their generous spirits come through this way.
Teaching kids to be generous with their time can be more difficult than teaching them to be generous with their money. I challenge my girls to be generous with one another by playing what the other sister would like to play. To be generous with one’s time means setting aside one’s own plans to put someone else first.
In November, I purposefully set aside time to give back to our community. In the past, we have rang bells for the Salvation Army, filled Operation Christmas Child boxes, and left surprises on neighbor’s doorsteps. All of these simple acts of kindness teach kids how to be cheerful givers.
All the words in the world will not be as effective as modeling the principles I want to instill in my daughters. My girls see and hear Mike + I talk about budgeting, giving, investing, and spending all the time. Having authentic, transparent conversations in the presence of our older girls helps them to clearly see what our values are with money.
How do you teach your children about managing money?
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