Until yesterday. When we had a little episode at the Rite-Aid. I stopped in for a few things and as we were headed down the make-up aisle on our way to feminine hygiene, my five year old stopped dead in her tracks when she passed Skittles Lip Smacker Lip gloss.
5 yr: “Mommy, Can I get this? I’m being good today.”
Mommy: “You are being very good and I appreciate that, but that is not what we came in for today.”
5 yr: “PLEEEESE!”
Mommy: “Did you bring your wallet with you?” I knew she had a few dollars from her recent 2 lost teeth and a visit from her grandfather.
5 yo: “No, it’s at home. Can’t we use your money?” (Imagine a whiny, tearful 5 year old)
Mommy: “Not for lip gloss honey. I will buy it for you, but you’re going to have to pay me back when we get home. Do you understand?”, I reply.
5 yo: “OK!” Tears gone and her smile returns to her face.
When we got home, my daughter went to get her wallet. The lip gloss was $5.75, but I told her that she owed me $5. She counted out 5 $1 dollar bills and was ecstatic when she realized she had a dollar left. She handed me the $5 without even flinching and that is when it hit me that it was time to start talking about money with her.
This was literally the first conversation we have had about money. She has gotten cash in the past for her birthday or Christmas, but she would have preferred a toy so I have deposited the money in her savings account. She is at the age where she wants things like lip gloss and sticker books when she sees them. Are those things that I should just buy for her because she asks and because she is being good? I don’t mind the occasional treat, but I don’t want it to be expected and become a habit.
My husband and I have to decide how we want to teach our children about money. We both agree that we’ll have an allowance system, but we need to think about how we want to handle it and what kind of system we’ll use.
There are many lessons to teach and many things to consider.
- What will her responsibilities be? Making her bed, setting the dinner table, and putting her clean clothes away are all things she does now. So I don’t necessarily want to pay her for those things. What other responsibilities should we add for her to receive an allowance?
- How much should we pay her? She is in preschool, so her math skills are very limited. She doesn’t understand that 4 quarters equal a $1 yet. Or that 2 dimes and a nickel equal a quarter, so this could be a good math lesson.
- We want her to give a portion, save a portion and she can spend the rest. But should we have rules on what she can buy with her money?
Do you have kids? How have you used an allowance system to teach your children about money? How does your system work? Let us know in the comments.
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