Here in the Whitney household, we’ve just completed the February Freeze. It’s an annual tradition where we try to only spend money on the bare essentials during the entire month of February. It’s a great way to reset our spending habits after the holidays and to remember just how much we already have. Dinners can get pretty creative and every year, we learn that there’s a lot that we can do without.
This year was the first year that we explained the February Freeze to the kids. We have been talking about saving for a truck (our car is on it’s last leg!), and this month was a great time to explain that sometimes we have to say “no” to something that would be fun in order to save up for a bigger goal. Check out this article for more ways to talk about money with the kids.
Which of course led to us thinking about the whole kids and money debate. Since she was about 5, Chipmunk has been dog sitting for my parents. They outrageously overpay her and she generally has money to spend at will (which is how she rode the carousel 17 times in a row during our recent trip to Tennessee). However, there are times when she wants something “bigger” (like this ridiculous unicorn she’s in love with) and she has frittered away all her money on Kindle games.
So, we’ve just begun discussions on whether or not to give the kids an allowance and what that exactly entails. Do they get money for setting the table and other routine “family” responsibilities or do they just get money for special tasks like washing windows or mopping the kitchen floor. Should they be expected to do things around the house for no pay, relying instead on outside jobs (like dog sitting or raking leaves) to bring in the big bucks?
As of right now, cleaning and helping around the house are just part of our family rhythm and I hate to complicate that with charts and starts and dollars. However, I do want to start teaching about money management skills sooner rather than later and I know they are going to need some money to manage in order to do that.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Leave me a comment and let me know what works in your house or any other tips you might have!