Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When My Kid Got the Gimmies

At first, it was a visit to Target like any other.  Mom quickly eyes the clothing section, walks a bit more slowly past the shoes.  Perhaps trying on a pair.  Kids spend a few minutes looking at toys.  The oldest always planting himself in the lego aisle. 

He's six.  And like most six year old boys, he is OBSESSED with legos.
I would venture to guess that we thousands of lego pieces.  
Every morning BEFORE breakfast, he builds a new ship.  This is todays.

Taken this morning.  Lego creations, lego shirt, lego computer games!  Word of the day is, LEGO. AHHHHH!

His last birthday was all lego and at Christmas a friend of my husbands from work gave us a gigantic bag FULL of the little plastic pieces.  A big black garbage bag-not a grocery store bag.  I digress.  Back to Target.

Typically, son will say, "mommy!  I really want lego set xyz!" and I say, "well, maybe you can ask for it for your birthday?"  He agrees and we make our way to the food section.

This time however, tears started flowing.  When he said he really wanted this set, he REALLY wanted it.
I was shocked.  He was throwing a fit because his birthday was months away, and to him, earning money was something that only happened when he lost a tooth.
The lego set was seven dollars.  It may has well been a million.  My husband and I knew it was time to start teaching him about saving money...  earning it, tithing, tax, etc. 

We don't give allowance.  Not sure we ever will.  I feel like a weekly allowance for kids (especially at this point) makes no sense.  They hardly have any chores right now, and when they do,  we feel that they are a responsibility of keeping up a home.  (thoughts?)

I do however, see giving money when the kids help with special projects.  Above and beyond.  So, we had our son help with some projects around the house.  He couldn't leave and play and come back when my husband needed him.  He had to work the whole time and follow through.  Then he'd earn $2 per job.

The first project was painting a basement wall.  The second was handing my husband nuts and bolts and tools while he reinforced the pergola.  The third and perhaps most challenging was staining the deck on a 90 degree day.  It was so fun to watch my son get to work.  He had a great attitude and loved helping daddy (knowing he was earning money helped too, I'm sure!).

Handing his dad tools

Staining the deck!

It was dang hot...
Every time we'd go to Target, he'd go to the lego aisle and ask my how much money he needed to get his set.  After two months of this, he changed his mind, and picked a Lego Bionicle guy which cost even more money ($8)!  During a period of three months, three jobs and three lost teeth, he earned enough to pay for his bionicle plus tax and 10% to tithe.
He did it!  Building his new Bionicle...
There were so many times I just wanted to give him the extra money to cover the cost.  Three months for a kid is a LONG time.  But he did it.  And he learned a great lesson and so did the two other kids who watched it happen.

If you have kids, how are you teaching them about money?  How did you grow up learning about fiscal responsibility?  Thoughts on allowance?


  1. That's awesome Ethan!!! Great job!

    My children are savers. I don't know who instilled this wonderful value in them, but I've been blessed! Matter of fact, every time Grace gets any money - a quarter or a dollar - she puts it in her bank and says, "I'm saving for my car!"

  2. We just started this summer with our 5 and 7 year olds. We have a chore jar that they have to complete each day and if they complete each chore they get one dollar for the day so 5 dollars a week where 1 dollar goes to church, 1 dollar goes to savings, and 3 dollars go to spending however they wish (they can either buy something, save it up, or give some to send to our sponsored girl in Tanzania) It has worked beautifully, they get to choose their job and then do it. They are mostly jobs around the house but they still help out even if we don't pay them for it. Like we totally cleaned out and reorganized the playroom which was a 2 day job and they willingly helped with good attitudes and that was not one of their "paid" jobs and they have continued to keep it neat and clean all summer even though it's not a "paid" chore.

  3. Way to go! I think teaching kids about money has got to be one of the hardest things to do. Seems like you know what you're doing!

  4. My 10 year old is slowly learning about money. This summer he's been mowing lawns and spends the money nearly as fast as he gets it. BUT... he also gets an allowance - which he saves every penny of.

    We have set up 2 bank accounts for him - one for spending and one for saving. It seems to help...


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