Our 'piggie banks' are stackable containers from The Container Store.
Well, Cousin Lauren visited for a good while last summer. She is the exact type of young lady you want your kids to be around for a good while. She's bright, responsible, considerate, and conscientious with a great personality.
I am no fool. I took advantage of the gift before me and interviewed her as often as I thought of something. Exactly what did her parents do in this situation, or that situation? Not everything can be directly translated. Family dynamics are different and having three kids in the house is different than two but the underlying principles and the fundamentals for what you want for your kids doesn't differ between 1 kid or 25.
It had me realizing I had been going about it all wrong. I had been expecting that our kids would have some sort of internal motivation for money and that would be incentive enough. I thought linking their duties at home to pay would be like a job and give them a good work ethic and fiscal responsibility. But it's not. Kids don't care about money, really. They aren't in the workforce with a mortgage and mouths to feed. They just sometimes want stuff.
I realized if I wanted to teach them how to be responsible with money then we need to give it to them. Not optionally when they earned it but every week. They have to do their chores and they have to take my money! Neither is negotiable. (I do have a negotiable component to our program but it is behavior based. More on that another time.)So, let's get into it. Here's Lauren's allowance plan:
: Save: $5 is put in college savings.
: Gift: A portion is for gifts. Parents match. So, if they want to gift a school friend a something that costs $20, they pay $10 and parents pay $10. The real beauty of this, as I see it, is that they are able to consider thoughtful gifts for each other and their parents with a budget. There is something very powerful in giving. (My love language may be gifts so I realize I may be giving this unnecessary attention but the thoughtfulness that comes from this delights me to no end.)
: Charity: $2 is saved each week. At the end of the year Lauren selects the charity she is interested in donating to. Her parents match her contribution. Need I say more on this message?!
: Short-term Savings: That leave a weekly amount of $5 for saving for that something she's had her eye on. From the perspective of a 14 year old who likes to shop, this is plenty of money. She doesn't need more. She saves and spends on stuff she wants.
Periodically we take a deposit to the bank.
So, with a few adaptations, here's our version (tailored to a 7 and 8 year old):
: Save: $3 is put in college savings
: Give: $1 is for offering each week. They can give it at church or save for a specific charity. They determine what they want their gift to go towards.
: Short-term savings: That leaves a weekly amount of $3 (Anna) and $4 (Christopher) for spending on something they have been wanting. Plenty of moola for their needs.
The next time we chat on this topic I'll share my behavior incentives and rewards. Not surprisingly and much to my delight, that is a bigger motivator than money.