Kids and Money

In our house we have this antiquated idea that money comes from work.

With that in mind, E does not get an allowance in the true sense of the word. Instead, she earns money for doing chores.

Now, she is only six. So, her chores are not terribly demanding and her commission is fairly low since she does not have many expenses.

Each evening, she chooses one chore from the chore board to complete.

Do not think this color-coded goodness is not often met with complaints. It is. But, she does like mopping. So, I’ll count my blessings there.

I don’t care which chore she completes on which day, with the exception of taking out the trash…that must be done the night before garbage pick up. And wiping the table must be done on all weeknights.

Each chore card has a dollar paper clipped to the back of it. As soon as she completes a chore, she gets the dollar (instant gratification!) and the card is flipped showing it has been completed for the week.

By Friday evening, she has earned $5.00. She has to give $1.00 either directly to church or use it to purchase food for the ongoing Catholic Charities food drive.

She also has to save $1.00. The remaining $3.00 is hers to spend as she chooses, with our guidance…because, again, she’s only six.

Right now, she’s putting most of her money in savings each week with the hopes of having enough for one of those fancy Disney Princess Build-A-Bears. And an American Girl Doll. And pierced ears.

She also decided to spend some of her money at her school’s book fair. I’m not buying books right now when we have a shelf full of them and a library where we can borrow them for free.

Our system doesn’t play out perfectly each week. But, I do feel we are laying a good foundation for her relationship with work, money, giving, saving and spending. You can see the wheels turning when you say, “Well, you could buy this. But, do you want it more than you want your Build-A-Bear?”

How does your family handle chores or allowance?

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During the first week of August, Alan, E and I made a paper chain to help us countdown until we are debt free.

Each link represents $1,000 owed. With 99 links, it’s a long chain y’all!

Hopefully, it will be encouraging to watch it shrink slowly but surely over the next 2 years. Honestly, so far it’s been a bit of a downer to see such a long chain greeting you in the morning and sending you off to bed each night.

But, I am proud to say, we cut off one link. I am so glad to see that one link gone that I considered building a fire in August just to burn the damn thing.

Alan called the girls and me into the living room. We let E cut off the link. Alan and I jumped around dancing and hollaring. The kids joined in a bit, but they were primarily amused at us acting silly.

They are so little, but we want them to be a part of accomplishing our dream of being debt free. We want them to know this is a good thing and a big thing for our family.

Here’s to next month when a few more links will meet their fate…

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Easy Dinner Idea

Consider this your personal invitation to gather all your Pinterest-worthy dinner plans and victoriously throw them out the window.

Sure, on some planet there could be a time and place for beautiful meals shaped liked animals and crafted into adorable little scenes. But it’s not here. It’s Friday and we are all tired. 

Instead, you have my blessing for this perfectly acceptable, simple and crazy affordable dinner. 

Here we have a handcrafted grilled cheese on whole wheat bread (or the .89 white loaf works great too). I peeled the cheese from the wrapper myself. Also, I made 3 and did not burn a single one. That’s never happened before. (I think it’s because I used extra butter on the bread…or maybe because I only had one kid in the house while cooking). 

Then I tossed a .99 bag of frozen mixed veggies in the microwave for about 6 minutes. Confession: I didn’t buy these to be healthy. I bought them because they were cheaper than fries.

The water is actually cucumber water. We had to bring drinks to a party earlier this week. Instead of blowing money on expensive sodas, I made sweet tea from stuff we already had at the house and splurged for the .50 cucumber! No one else in my house will drink it.

It’s not fancy food. But, in the words of a former colleague, “It all fills you up the same.”

Share your favorite meals for tired days in the comments below!