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Family Money

Are your kids like mine — always asking for money? Whether grabbing the change after a purchase or begging for a dollar here and there, what doesn’t seem like much does add up. Take it from me, my loose change has paid for a nice dinner out with my hubby or the paper money leftover from our weekly spending budget has paid for a wine club membership!

Teaching kids that money doesn’t grow on trees may be one of the toughest parenting jobs. We use a chore chart to teach our boys that hard work pays off. It’s a good visual aid and my eldest is “given” a certain amount of money per week that is divided into three jars: save, give and spend. If he neglects to do his chore chart, he doesn’t earn any money for that week. If he fails to complete a task, each day he must “pay” us. It has taught him the value of the dollar and the hard realization of no work, no money.

As contributing members of our family, our children are expected to do a certain number of chores around the house for “free,” but there are always opportunities to earn extra cash. The kids are expected to make their beds, clean up their toys, set/clear the table, etc.

We also have extra cash situations always available. These are listed on index cards on the refrigerator with dollar amounts listed per task. A few examples: read to your brother, weed the garden, pick veggies for dinner, fold towels, water plants, etc. The tasks that are fun cost less than those that take a bit more work.

Part of teaching money management is allowing them to spend their hard-earned cash on what they really want. It is interesting to see how they calculate how they choose to spend their money, the deliberation and ultimately the reward of the purchase or the let-down when they realize they can’t afford the purchase at that time.

Paying the kids to do my everyday chores lessens my workload, but the return is greater — grateful kids who are proud of their contributions to the family. Their small payday now is ultimately preparing them to be good stewards of money as adults.

Nikki Ducas is a Fredericksburg mom teaching her two young sons financial responsibility with the less is more mindset.

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