Kids and Jobs

Over at Owlhaven Opinion Saturday, Mary has asked how our family handles(d) kids and jobs and chores and allowance.

I like the way Perri said it in the Comments over there.  Very similar outlook over here.

Our sons’ own rooms were their own responsibility after about the age of six.  Really.  I just closed the doors.  If his friend came over and there was no place to sit in there, the kid learned to keep it cleared.  We did have a rule that all dishes had to be returned to the kitchen every evening so that the dishwasher could be filled.  And trash had to be taken out every week to prevent pests.

There was a chore list for “the public areas” such as cleaning the bathroom and sweeping and washing the kitchen floor.  Chores were not tied to whether or not money came with it.  There was a list, sometimes someone volunteered, sometimes I assigned, sometimes a routine rotation.

My youngest son says that one of the jobs he hated most was “empty and refill the ice cube trays” because he doesn’t use ice in drinks and could not understand why he had to make sure the bin was full and why didn’t we just get a fridge with an ice-maker already in it!

They got an allowance, appropriate to the age.  By the time a Senior in high school, it was $25 a week.  Yes, that added up to $300 a month for three sons, out of my paycheck.  I gave myself that allowance as well, so that I could save for the Women’s Retreat weekend, or a particular color of yarn for the next baby afghan gift.
When I went to the bank, I got the cash and sorted weekly amounts into envelopes and we had a family payday.  The bills got paid first and always, but allowance was an expected part of the household budget.
Only once did we have to ask the boys to let it go.

We had an agreed list of what they should do with their money and what parents pay for.  Lunch out, name-brand clothes, guitar strings were their own whims.  I never asked what they did with their own money, but they all seemed to be able to save up and then get what they wanted after awhile.  Allowance stopped after a year in college, and the older ones said they never realized how nice it was until they didn’t get it any longer.

They got jobs when they got old enough, and rarely had to ask for a chauffeur.  The oldest got quite good for knowledge of the bus system, the middle still rides his bicycle, youngest bought a car for $200 and manages to keep the insurance up-to-date.  Although whenever I drive it and notice something needing maintenance or the fuel light is blinking, I fork over some dough.  He’s in college with a full load of classes and volunteered to play in the musical, so he is really, really busy.

Kids learn about money and how hard it is to earn it in different ways.  But I think they should make their mistakes early on, while parents are watchful and can demonstrate how nice it is to save up for later.
~~love and Huggs, Diane

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