It All Adds Up

   You’ve all heard the same line from your kids: “Mom, can we have (insert pricey and needless item here)?!” It’s a close cousin to “How come we can’t have that?!” Explaining the concept of cash flow to your kids is, well, difficult. I’ve found some things help, like only letting them watch PBS. No commercials. I don’t do allowance. But, they get money from outside sources. (Geez, that makes it sound like they’re selling drugs.)  Most recently, it was from the Tooth Fairy. Neighbors hire them to do odd jobs. I try to help them remember to spend their money wisely. But, what about our money? Parents’ money? They are all too eager to blow through any and every penny.

A friend posted this decal on her Facebook page yesterday. She’s a DINK. (Duel income, no kids.) I found it amusing and oh so true. Everything from new pants, to diapers to school supplies to soccer cleats costs money. It all adds up.

So, here’s my question for you today: Should kids be responsible to help chip in, in their own upbringing? This may be more directed to parents of teens. Do you charge your kids for things? Gas, rent, food, etc? Or, is paying for all the stuff of life what you agreed to when you signed up for having kids?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Scott Schroeder
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 19:34:33

    Are you going to set annual targets and performance appraisals?


  2. kalleyc
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 23:04:32

    I don’t think kids should be responsible for their own upbringing, however, I do believe that children should understand the value of a dollar. Little kids are hard to teach this lesson to, but I started to pay for things with cash only (a pain), but I wanted my daughter to see that it cost money to buy the things that we need.

    If I have no money, she stops asking for things, because I don’t have any money (I also don’t carry much on me either).

    I think it’s good that your kids are allowed to earn money to buy what they want. My mother started a savings account for me when I was 10 and told me if I want anything special (like fancy games and such) I have to save up for it. Since then, I realize that anything I bought would leave me broke–hence I saved a lot.


  3. Momx5kidz
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 02:54:20

    I had 5 kids! I never paid for “chores” because we called them “Indepedant Living Skills”…something they need to do to survive in Life and so they should start at an early age. (young ones can help sort laundry, put away their own toys (and help with younger siblings-babies stuff), the older they get-help bring in groceries, fold their own laundry & put it away, take out the garbage, help load the dishwasher, set & clear the table…older ones can rake leaves, mow the yard…get the idea?

    If I asked them to do something that was “above or beyond their normal ” responsibilities. then I paid them small amounts. Like, emptying the dishwasher (without being asked to) or offering to dust or vacuum on “non-Saturday thorough clean-the-house days”, cleaning their room without a verbal prompt . Basically, things I normally do for them as part of a Mom! That does not include “suck-up” items. You have to decide your rules clearly before starting this routine. But, it works!

    One other thing, when they are old enough to have a part-time job, I have them open an account with me and they put money in it every paycheck…I call it “practice for when you get your own place and have to pay bills”. Then, when they are ready to move out they have the rent, deposit and deposit-for utilites monies already saved. Yes, time-consuming but it IS our responsiblity to raise them to be independent and that includes knowing how to clean, budget, etc.

    Remember, 4 of my children (that we adopted) have special needs so our home is very structured. But, this worked with my oldest daughter as well She now has a great career, manages her money very well, and has even gotten over “hating” us for all the “no-s” we used raising her! Well, she does remind me of a few of them…and she is 33 years old now…oh well. : )


  4. Mom2two
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 23:31:43

    Currently, my kids are just hitting that stage where they like seeing money go into their piggy banks.
    Before I even had kids, though, I already had a system in my head, based on observing friends and their behavior with things like cellphones, games, expensive/fashionable clothes, etc.- friends, whose parents had no problem with buying things that didn’t matter.
    When it comes time for them to ask for those things, my hope is that they’ll understand that I will not pay for things they don’t need. They’ll get an allowance based on behavior and helping around the house, making them learn the value of hard work. Then, how to prioritize their spending and saving.
    ‘Do I want to pay for my minutes or buy a new pair of shoes- I do already have a good pair…? If I do an extra chore for a month I’ll have enough to get both- or I can wait until my birthday and save for something else.’

    That’s only how I dream of things going down- I’m sure some spoiled friend of my kids’ will rub off and there will be many arguments…


  5. Travis
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 04:35:51

    Children benefit from being included in family dialogue about finance and budget. Anything a child wants beyond basic household and clothing costs is a great opportunity to communicate and teach about putting forth effort for an end result. Counting a kids income on the family budget sheet feels rife with potential backlash and potential misunderstanding. Until eighteen, of course.


  6. Bob
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 05:36:23

    I think that if builds character, self esteem, and life skills to help out the family both financially and through meaningful work around the home or farm. As an employer and as a father, i always hire farm kids and children who’s parents had a small business that employed the kids from a young age and seldom hire the kids whos parents thought that childhood was merely a time to play until after college.


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