Saturday, August 1, 2009

Making Allowances

Lately we've been experimenting with an allowance for One, and I'm surprised to say it is working remarkably well. I've written before on how Two is generous with any money he has; One is less so, but the allowance is less to teach generosity and more to teach responsibility.

The rules (I designed this - of course there are rules) are as follows: $12 a week, divided up into three envelopes: one for charity, one for spend, and one for save. Of the charity money, I've asked him (but not demanded) that half go in the offering plate each Sunday; the rest he can save for any project he decides is important to him. Spending money is just that - spending money. He can't get far on $4 a week, and right now he is concentrating on saving each week until he has enough for a favorite book. Every two or three weeks he hands over his cash and I order his heart's desire on Amazon; he has me checking the UPS tracker online, and on delivery day he compulsively opens the front door to see if anything has arrived. No matter how many times I tell him the UPS man knocks, he can't help peeking. Finally, he has his "save" pile. The rules for that are - save for something big, not just books, and if you mess up and break something, your share of the damage comes out of your savings.

So far we've had a lot of success. He successfully saved for a old-fashioned Walkman, so he could listen to all his books on tape. He frequently puts all of his weekly charity money in the offering plate, and he's acquired four Redwall books "all on his own" with his spending money. I think (well, I hope) that he's learning how to use money constructively, set goals, and be patient. If he gets that, I couldn't possibly hope for more.


Anwyn said...

That's awesome. How old is One, again? Mine is five and his dad keeps talking about starting allowance ... I'm not sure it's time yet.

Tari said...

One is 9, and is very responsible with such stuff - he picks up his things without being told, reminds me if I forget to give him his vitamins, etc. He is just a pulled-together kid, and it was high time he took on this additional responsibility.

His brother is 6 and there is NO WAY he is getting an allowance any time soon. Right now there is a pile of ones on his nightstand - might be remnants of the spending money his grandmother gave him for vacation - I have no idea. He is incredibly irresponsible about his things and is very disorganized - if there's a wrapper or a glass left anywhere in the house, we know it was Two.

I didn't want to do an allowance until they could handle it alone, without monitoring or reminders. To do otherwise would just add to the things I have lecture on (like reminding Two to brush his teeth, put his PJs in the hamper, his shoes in the closet, etc, etc) and I don't need the extra nagging practice :).

When we do give Two an allowance, I will have to come up with a different approach - maybe a chart to keep track of the money. He likes visual reminders, and would like to see his money adding up on a graph in his room. I might even have to keep the money for him and only give it to him when he's ready to spend; I'm not sure. Some of his carelessness he will outgrow and some of it is part of his personality - he's a born slob, I'm afraid. The responsiblity lesson on money HE might need to learn is "write everything down and don't keep cash, because I lose things a lot."