For the past month or so, we’ve been giving our kids an allowance. Every two weeks, we’ve given them each $5, and with it, we’ve tried a few little money lessons.
We’ve been giving them their money in $1 bills – with the stipulation that they set aside a $1 for saving and $1 for giving. One of my boys really struggled with the idea of giving. He did not want to give any of his money away. We had a few talks about what giving means. We talked about it as helping others who need it and we talked about it as being able to do something nice for others, like buying a relative a birthday gift. He still protested. But when he realized that his choice was to take the allowance with the agreed upon terms, or not get an allowance, he changed his mind.
I wasn’t terribly comfortable with forcing his hand like that, but I wanted a consistent system for all three boys. But I was worried that the requirements would create resentment about money and how to use it for good.
Fortunately, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by the generosity of all three boys just a couple of weeks later. My husband’s aunt is battling breast cancer, and has been unable to work for several months. The family hosted a community benefit for her. My boys asked if they could give her their “giving” money. They even made cards for her. It was sweet – just a total of $6 – but the gesture meant a lot to Auntie – and it meant a lot to me, too.
I worry a lot about my kids and their relationship with money. I want them to do good, smart things with their money. A friend of mine reminded me that an allowance isn’t the only way to teach kids about money. She reminded me that so many of the things we do every day teaches our kids positive things about money.
And she’s right. There are little money lessons we share with our children everyday. Things like:
- Cooking from home.
- Planting a garden.
- Making do with what he have.
- Tackling DIY projects and fixing what’s broken.
- Taking good care of our home and belongings.
- Taking good care of our health.
- Using the library.
- Shopping at thrift stores and garage sales.
- And so much more!
So we will continue to give them an allowance and teach the lessons that go with making purchases, savings, and giving. But we will also teach our children that living a frugal lifestyle isn’t something you do because you have to, you do it because it’s smart.
What lessons are you teaching your kids about money?