Thursday, September 30, 2010

money matters

A couple weeks ago after Max had begged and begged for me to take him to get a new volleyball (he's in this new whiz-bang volleyball club thing and he adores it), we hopped in the car with plans to go purchase a volleyball while the girls were at gymnastics.

Max's smile stretched wide across his face. It was contagious and spread to me too. I was going to get him all to myself for a little while. And I was was so excited that he was so excited about volleyball.

As the girls were shuffling into the car I leaned over and asked him if he had his money.

"What?" he asked, purely confused.

"Well, we're going to buy a volleyball, right? Don't you need money?" I replied.

His face fell as the realization hit him that he had to contribute to this thing he wanted so badly. I wasn't just going to hand it to him on a silver platter. Suddenly going right that minute to get that ball wasn't quite such a matter of life or death after all. You see, I don't know that that boy had any money. And as tough as it was to not get that ball after all that day, I hope so much that little things like that will help him realize he needs to save like the dickens (since talking about it 'til we're blue in the face doesn't seem to do the trick).

Now, let me tell you, Max is a good kid. I don't mean to single him out because most of our other kids have had instances similar to that one, this just happened to occur most recently and it hit me again what an important job we have as parents to train our kids to handle money responsibly.

...and how we have a lot to learn.

Dave and I both have families who had their own good methods of dealing with money, and we've tried to incorporate the best of both systems into our family.

We don't believe in paying kids to do jobs at home. We think it's important for kids to realize that as part of a family everyone does their share to help out.

But we DO believe in teaching kids to 1) work hard, and 2) manage money, and the importance of SAVING as part of that managing.

So Dave and I decided long ago that in order for our kids to learn to manage money they would get a small allowance (their age doubled once a month), and that they'd have to earn money other ways to supplement that if they needed extra.

Now, when allowance is given, we have a very strict rule to help our kids manage it. We adopted it from my family and it's called the 10-20-70 rule. Growing up in my house it was introduced from the time we were tiny, and was talked about incessantly by my Dad until we all started to roll our eyes when we could tell the schpeal was coming, again.

And I am SO glad for all those schpeals.

The rule is that when money is earned, ten percent goes to tithing to our church (giving money helps so much to remember that in the whole scheme of things it's really not our money in the first place), twenty percent goes to savings, and the remaining seventy is used for living. Period. There are no if's, and's or but's about that one.

My Dad was great about being the "banker" of the "First Bank of Eyrealm" each Saturday when we had "Pay Day." (We had an elaborate system of earning money you can read about here and you can watch the awesome video my Dad made about it here.) We would keep track of our earnings and figure out how much to give for savings and tithing etc. We were completely motivated to save because that bank of ours gave out some serious interest. Ten percent each quarter to be exact. And I for one was pretty excited to see that the more money I put in that savings account, the more it grew.

Well, Dave and I inherited that Eyrealm bank (a wooden chest spray painted gold with a padlock on the front) and although we don't do it every week, Dave is a pretty good banker himself when he gets around to it.

If our kids go somewhere with their friends they pay for it themselves (once they are old enough to go places with their friends without us). If we go somewhere as a family, we pay. We pay for clothes too (growing up we had to pay for clothes from the time we were eight-years-old...Dave wasn't hip with that idea because he had mortified visions of our children...one of them in particular...wearing rags to school because they didn't care enough about earning the money to get decent stuff). But if they want some brand-name thing that is more expensive than the regular stuff, they chip in.

Recently inspired by the Parenting Breakthrough I talked about here, Dave and I decided that after our kids turn twelve they no longer receive an allowance. At twelve we feel like we'd almost be doing them a disservice to keep paying them. They really can earn their own money. Max mows our neighbor's lawn and works hard as our pool boy (yes, we pay him for that). Elle babysits and occasionally does her own photo shoots. Hopefully this will help them learn to save and work harder as a result of having that allowance slip away from them.

I know it sounds mean, but I hope they'll struggle a bit through this adjustment. I think it's even tougher for me than it is for them to not be able to join their friends for fun things because they haven't saved their money. But hopefully it'll help them learn the importance of money and working hard.

Dave and I are in the midst of trying to figure out whether to help pay for college, missions, etc. So many things to think about (and I'd love any input in any sort of money ideas...I know there are so many good ones out there).

The point is, money education is so very important. Saving is so very important. Oh how I hope we can help these kids to get that down pat before they leave the confines of our little safe-haven at home.

39 comments:

A House and Home said...

It's always interesting to hear about how parents handle money. My parents had a small business when I was growing up that I started working in when I was six. I always wonder exactly how I will start handling money with my kids when the time comes. Thanks for sharing.

Ruth H. said...

This is something we've put a lot of thought into, too. The cash allowance thing just didn't work for us....mainly because people kept losing their money. (And the preschooler kept finding it.) This last year, we discovered our bank had debit/savings accounts for children. Now, we directly deposit their allowance, and they have their own debit cards (which are rigged with some parental controls--there is no line of credit on these things). We decided that it was important not just to teach them about earning, saving, and spending money, but about how it works in the real world: they have to check the balance in their accounts via the internet before shopping, they are learning how to use a card at the store, they are learning how to track their spending, etc. No more lost piggy banks or parental digging for cash when it is allowance time. It has been good for all of us.

Love Being a Nonny said...

This is THE thing we failed at as parents. I SO wish we had known the importance of teaching them about the value and importance of tithing/saving/spending. It is my one regret. They have done okay with $ and one of them is a Dave Ramsey freak....but it is still a struggle for one and maybe it wouldn't have been if we had been more diligent. No words of wisdom here to you from me....but I WILL share your thoughts on this with the parents of my grands! Yours is STILL my favorite blog!!!

DaNae said...

This concept is so important and one my hubby and I have been trying to figure out with our kids. What age did you start giving them allowance?

meegz said...

I've been working on this too -- here's our plan.
We pay them their age each week. I found a "bank" online at www.kidsallowancebank.com. It lets you set up accounts for them and then they get direct deposit. Which is great so I don't forget to be the banker:) Then on the weekend we sit down to really "bank" The kids go online and request to have money withdrawn for tithing and savings. I used to have them tithe 10, save 50 and spend 40. My 10 year old recently negotiated a 25% cut in savings if he did well in school that week...it's working like a charm. Anyway, after they request, I go in and approve it and give them their tithing money then I just transfer their savings money between my own accounts online(no going to the bank is making this work well:)) Then their spending stays in there until they need something like a volleyball. When they do, they go to the computer and request it and we go to the store with my debit card. So much easier than having cash around that gets lost or never given.

For Missions and College we're planning to adopt a plan of some friends of ours. MIssions...they earn it all or 1/2 and then when they return honorably, they get it back to be able to start college off well. (shhh, don't tell them:)) Then College, they get a's they get full reimbursement, b's 75% reimbursement etc...married, their on their own.:)
We'll see how it all goes.

Lombardo Family said...

Shawni, my maiden name is Eyre, prounounced Air, but we are family and our parents know eachother. I just found your blog and have really enjoyed reading it. So, I have to tell you about a dear friend that I went to highschool with. He was one of 9 children, as am I. I later learned, from my parents, that Freeman's parents were incredibly well off. I had no idea. They did not live like they had lots of money. Anway, the point is, our senior year of highschool Freeman was saving like crazy for his mission. He had been for several years. His parents had taught he and his siblings that they had worked very hard to achieve the financial success they had and that the children would need to learn the same principle of hard work by paying for their own missions (he had 6 brothers). I believe they did help with college, but I could be wrong. I was so impressed with their way of teaching their children about money that my husband and I now are trying to teach our little ones the responsibility of earning and saving as well. Not easy, but so important. Thanks for all your great parenting methods as well. Your parents have often been a great source to turn to in times of need with parenting. :o)

Susan said...

I think you are in good company withthis one. I've all but given up on trying to instill some sort of good common sense when it comes to money, allowance, saving and spending with my children.
Three of them are about as absent minded about money as one could get. The other two know what they need to do to get it, but rarely do it.
My husband and I have decided to give our children the opportunity to pay for their own college education. I paid for mine and helped my husband finish paying off his after we were married. We received no help whatsoever with any part of that after we left home to go to school. I think my husband and I will pay for their living expenses and food when they go off to school, but that is it.
If you ever find a really good working system for teaching kiddos about money, let us all in on it because I still haven't found one that works for us.

Carin said...

This is so interesting to me as our kiddo is still only a preschooler, but I want to have some sort of system worked out before we start giving her an allowance. We have already decided we won't pay college and things, though we may help out with the initial cost (but we haven't quite worked out all the details yet). We do have small trust fund set up for her though, which she and only she will get access to when she's 18 (it's a UK government scheme) so the part of her allowance going to savings will go to that. At the moment we add a tiny amount to it each month. That should set her up enough that we don't have to worry about her going into the world penniless.

ChrisKatieKelly said...

Shawni- Thank you so very much for always giving us ideas on ways we can teach our children. I LOVE all the ideas your parents have done in the past, and that you implement them (and Daves) into your family life.

One question- how on earth did your parents do it all?!?! They had so many family traditions and things they did for you 9 kids, how did they stay on top of it all, really? I would love to know!

Holly Janeen said...

all i can say is what i know from my own experience. my parents did not pay for my college or my mission, and i am glad they didn't. it gave me ownership and made me work hard toward my goals. i am grateful that they didn't hand things to me and i plan to make my own children pay for their college and missions.
good luck on your choice, you certainly are good at choice making, so i am sure it will all come together ;)

Laura said...

I think one of the most important things is for parents to occasionally tell their kids "we can't afford that." What we don't want is for kids to grow up thinking that being an adult means never having to limit their spending!

My parents gave us bigger allowances as teens because that was our part of the family budget and from that point on we were expected to purchase our own clothing, toiletries, gifts, etc.

I think the point of having kids start managing their own money as young children is that we WANT them to make those mistakes and learn those lessons when we are talking quarters and checkout line candy, rather than waiting till they are older. The result- if we wait- is what we have in the world today of college kids with huge credit card debt!

Brandee said...

Such a great topic. Our recent concerns have been college. With Mackenzie graduating a year early, it threw us into a tail spin. Here is what we came up with. We decided we would pay for college, but there are some stipulations. Good grades are a must! We will pay for 2 years of BYU (that is where my kids want to go). Mackenzie is currently getting her associates at CGCC and doing that in 1 year. She got a scholarship to CGCC which helps. Although books cost as much as tuition.

Jensen as a sophomore in High School is getting ready to take her PSAT and PACT. She really would like to go 3-4 years to the "Y" and knows she would need some sort of grant/scholarship. Right now she is focusing on her entrance tests.

We found it was really hard for them to work and earn money in High School. We decided that their job should be school...good grades and good test scores. If they decide they don't like our plan, then by all means they can choose a different path, but the financial backing won't be there.

This is just what is working at our house. And each family is different. I love all the ideas and suggestions.

tawny said...

Okay I love this love this concept! Raised the same way! (9 siblings!)

But the real question I am facing now..(and need advice or help from you..LOVE your blog) My twins (11 yrs old) who started Middle School this year are so BUSY! You understand..school till 4, then swim team/bball team 6:45, home at 7, dinner, (scouts, FHE, YW) homework 9..and bed! The day is over. It is so so hard to find the time... I totally agree the kids need to earn their money as they are older! but not sure how to implement it..My kids play year round sports..(so yes, I still give allowance for daily chores..but know they do need to do more..it's a fine line!)

Like I said..I love your fabulous blog!! thanks for all the great wisdom :)

sarahandmatt said...

As far as paying for colleges and missions go, I'm sure everyone has an opinion. My grandparents left as an inheritance a mission fund that paid for half of each of their 89 grandchildrens' missions. My parents let us pay the other half. My parents had 11 children and paid for 0% of college. We managed (sometimes not so well). I've seen it done many ways, but my husband and I think we'll do what my sister-in-law's family did. They paid tuition only. That insured that their kid could always go to school (some of them had to live at home to do it). If they wanted to go away from home, they had to support themselves. It worked well for them. Their kids have all grown up to be educated AND responsible with their money.

The Farar Family said...

My parents didn't have a lot of money to send us kids off to college, but college was not an option. We HAD to go. So instead, my parents encouraged {and helped when necessary} me to find scholarships. I paid for 4 years of college on scholarships alone and I even had money left over {I was able to use it however I needed}, which my father helped me invest. I think I learned more from finding the scholarships and filling out the paperwork, than had my parents handed me the money. {I cried when I got my award letters in the mail!--I wouldn't have cried had my parents just handed me a check} Plus I then became responsible to someone else {the scholarship donors} to keep my GPA up. If my grades dropped, I lost the money. This also helped me keep my grades up from the beginning of High School because scholarships depend on that! I also worked at least part time throughout college. I am grateful that I worked hard to find the scholarships and then in turn earned that money through good grades. If scholarships had not been an option, I would have had to work to earn the money. Either way, I have no intention of completely paying for my kids college or missions. If they have done all in the power to earn the money for themselves, I will compensate where necessary.

pakosta said...

I think it's awesome what you are doing!!! I have been meaning to do this bible study with my girls: Money Matters for Kids: earn it, give it, spend it, save it. by Moody (Larry Burkett). It looks SUPer! Maybe check that out? You could do it on Family Night?! I am going to start it next week I thinK!
tara

pakosta said...

p.s. my husband's parents paid for his college and he failed out the first year. They didn't help him again and he went on to pay for it himself. HE got a CPA and said it was the best thing they ever did for him, not paying for it! He earned it ! He now has a Masters in Business Education!
tara

Nichole said...

I love hearing ideas on this topic. I think it is so hard to figure out and it is so important. I thought that was interesting that you stopped giving your kids allowance at age 12. I have noticed my kids really need money for legit things the most in the teenage years not so much when they are little. You will have to give me your thoughts on that! It is so hard when they become teenagers and have so many different activities where they don't have a lot of extra time. They always need money as teenagers which is tough to balance. I think starting the habits like the 20,10,70 when they are young can help mold children and is soooo important. I stress about this subject a lot because I want my kids to get it. I think each child is so different though and will always handle money differently which makes it really tricky.

Shari Goodman said...

I am just as "mean" as you. Love your thoughts.

Myrnie said...

Our parents let us earn money by babysitting and doing "big" chores like clearing the garden, pruning the bushes, cleaning the carpet, etc. When kids started driving, and had jobs, we paid our parents back for insurance...and they kept the money in the bank (quietly) to be used for the missions and college funds.

It wasn't perfect, because there was normally a kid or two that didn't care about earning money, so jobs wouldn't get done!

Laura said...

I thought I would add my perspective as a 22-year-old reader; I am the same age that your kids are likely to graduate from college. I like the 10-20-70 rule you wrote about so much that I plan to use it myself. Just as you write, managing money is the art of balancing giving, saving and spending, and each has its place. I found Rachel's post on Small Notebook very inspirational (see link below). She explained how tithing helped her to have a healthy attitude towards giving and spending money.

Most parents writing here are concerned with teaching fiscal responsibility. I just want to share the overwhelming feeling among friends my age who have had to put themselves through college. It is not a feeling of entitlement, it is a feeling of fear. How are they going to pay back debts ranging into the hundreds of dollars with a bachelor's degree in subjects like history, especially in this economy? One friend dreamed of going to law school after graduation, and now she can barely get part-time work at minimum wage to save up for it. Others have taken out further loans for grad school and will owe half a million when they are out.

Moving to Germany two years ago helped me to understand that it doesn't have to be this way. Here, I pay ZERO TUITION (yes, you heard me!), and anyone with financial need can apply for a government stipend that is 50% grant and 50% loan (it's called BAföG). But back to the situation in America - it's true that not everyone can afford to send their kids to college, but if there is any way that parents can help, it would really help to alleviate this huge psychological and financial burden on their children.

There are wonderful alternative ways that children can work hard to help out - I really liked the comment by The Farar Family about merit scholarships. That is one of the things that helped me get through college without debt as well as graduating a year early, which helped me to save 25% of the total cost. Most of all, however, I am grateful to my parents, who paid for the rest and thus allowed me to start my adult life debt-free.

Regardless of whether you help out with college or not, the biggest gift you can give your kids is empowerment over their financial situation (which you are doing wonderfully) as well as (and this is the real point of my comment) a healthy attitude towards money. I don't think that fear is an emotion that should be associated with finances, although perhaps that is the reality of the times.

You can read the post I mentioned above at: http://smallnotebook.org/2008/07/31/breaking-free-from-financial-fear/

redvelvet said...

shawni- great topic! obviously one that we are all interested in. i have watched a couple segments on byutv via internet and they have some things regarding financial matters to the family. http://www.byutv.org/watch/597-126

i'm very interested to know if you do the "tag system" that your parents used? I have tried several times to implement this in my home and have failed at it. Some of it is their age (6,9, 12). some are more interested in computer/WII time than money or toys.. we have tried a few methods and it hasn't worked. what have you done to make chores/allowance successful in your home?
thanks for your post. love all the comments and I love your blog! Keep up the great help you are to all of us! Thanks!

Kristi said...

Love this post! My kids are just at the age where they are old enough to start learning about money. Somehow they think it grows on trees and we (the parents) can make that "DS" just appear - because in their eyes it's that simple. Understanding the value of a dollar is a very important lesson. I totally agree that they should not be paid to do chores around the home. Families need to work together. My incentive to them is that the more we work together the quicker we will be able to get onto the fun stuff. I will remember the 10-20-70 rule for sure - and I really liked the interest part. Thanks for sharing!

Jen said...

I grew up with no allowance and my husband's family was the same. Our basic needs were met, and neither of us had an extravagant upbringing. All of my 6 siblings are really frugal and smart with money. No one has any problems with credit cards, etc. My parents taught us well and we worked for our extra money as we became teenagers and paid for much of college. In college my dad taught me how to build credit by having and using a credit card, but never purchasing more than I had in my bank account. My parents taught by example to spend much less than we earn.

My concern with giving allowance is that it would steer young children into focusing too much on money and worldly things.

I have five children now. My oldest is 9. The kids have all received money as birthday gifts and are great little savers. This has been plenty of exposure to them at this stage for learning how money works. They will bring their $$ to the store and ask about what they can buy. They learn how to look for prices and are often surprised at how much things cost. It has helped them to appreciate what they have and the few extra things they occasionally get.

I don't love the idea of getting money without working for it. I also believe that working in the home is part of a built-in responsibility as a member of a family. The kids just barely started asking for extra things, and we are looking into extra jobs they could do to earn money.

My husband paid for his mission on his own. He earned a scholarship to college for his first year, and paid for the rest by his hard work (and I mean HARD work!). He just told me the other day how glad he is that he earned all of his own money. It really builds character and helps young people appreciate things and learn how the real world works.

I love your ideas and we'll see what each new stage brings to our family. It is fun to share and learn from so many great women out there!

Jen said...
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Jen said...
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Corrie said...

wow it's not something I've thought too much about as ours haven't started school yet but it does make me think. I have seen what happens when you spoil a child - my little brother is 11 years younger than me, has none of the motivation or incentive to keep a steady job or get a career,move out of home because everything was always provided on a silver platter including money whenever he wanted it, a car, overseas holidays etc. I'm so glad I was the eldest and worked hard for everything in my life as it has led to success in so many aspects of my life. Same goes for my sister too.

now with college, in australia we don't seem to have the same tradition of paying for our children's college/uni fees. But our fees aren't as huge here as yours but I paid my own by deferring it and paying it once I started working. I paid it off within 5 years and my parents bought my text books and looked after my living expenses. My husband's dad was a banker and would lend the children the money to pay upfront to get the discount and then they would pay their father back at a low interest rate. I quite like that system too and I know we will pay for our children's living expenses if need be when they go to uni.

corrie:)

Mary said...

LOL! My son is 30 now and I will never forget the first time he invited me to lunch. He was 16, had his first job, and said, "Mom, I am going to take you to lunch." He drove to Burger King, (Where he worked) and placed the order then walked off. I asked if he was going to pay and he said, I DROVE us here!!

Men - If I had known I was paying I would have eaten somewhere else!! LOL

But I have to say - that boy of mine is pretty thrifty now that everything is on his nickle!
He turned out ok - maybe a bit insensitive...but pretty darn ok!

jill said...

Shawni,
What age do you start your children doing this--I mean do you do it with Lucy or is Claire involved? I love this system--my fear although is that it will just give my younger children more opportunity to buy "toys" and thinking it's free money (even after tithing and savings. What's your opinion? And should they have this opportunity for money. I love you philosophy on helping out and jobs...and I went out and bought the book "Breakthrough Parenting after you recommended it last weekend and I LOVE it! thx

Jelly said...

Brilliant ideas!!! I really like the 10-20-70 idea!

I find that here in the UK a lot of children aren't taught responsibilty like they are in the US.

I think not paying them for regular chores is great, because what if they say one day, "Well I don't want/need any money this week so I won't make my bed etc".

Your blog is great.

Becky said...

Your system sounds so similar to what we've done with our kids. We didn't pay them for chores around the house; everyone works together just because they live here. But we felt we did need to help them learn to manage money. Starting at age 3 they got an allowance, also just because they were a member of our family. It stopped at age 12 because by then they were old enough to earn money elsewhere.

We also instituted "phantom money" which is what they earned for non-normal chores, usually as part of our Saturday workdays. (We've put in several backyards!) That money can be used for things we expect them to participate in, yet also pay for (like Scout Camp and Christmas presents), not for going to the movies with friends.

We've always felt children appreciate something more and take better care of it if they've invested in it, yet we didn't want "I don't have enough money" to be an excuse not to go on a mission. So, we decided to split the mission cost 25% them and 75% us. College is a different story. We'll help a little bit with tuition but they're responsible for at least half of their tuition and all living expenses. Their main job as teenagers is to be a good student (and earn scholarships), but summer jobs are great experience and help build the bank account as well.

This is what has worked for us. Hope it helps someone else. Learning wise money management is crucial, and there are so many methods, yet it's important to deliberately teach sound principles.

bostonshumways said...

how in the world did YOU end up with the family bank? Do you know who ended up with the pegboard? I want that.

Great post Shawn.

Shell in your Pocket said...

What a wonderful reminder and something to ponder-

thank you.

Sandy Toe

Amy Lindstrom ~ YourLifeUncommon.com said...

This was very good for me to read! We have payday every Saturday and I think we have changed and reworked our system enough that it is perfect for us. There is a wall in my house called "The Motherboard". It is the wall that eliminates all nagging! :) The kids know what is expected and they know where to find it! :) The kids have household responsibilities which include their morning & bedtime responsibilities (prayers, scriptures, dressed or PJs), and act of kindness each day, scouts, a household chore, etc. Then there are the paid jobs. They are the jobs that are things like clean baseboards, yard work, etc. They get paid for them, but ONLY if all the weeks responsibilities were done. (They also do their own laundry AWESOME!) :)

We also do the percentage thing. Although ours comes with a 10-10-20-60. All the same as yours, however, the second 10 is a missionary fund. My plan is to have my son fill that account with the money needed to go on a mission. I think it is important for him to maintain the focus that he is saving for it, and keep him in the mind frame of preparing for it, until it comes. In reality, I am sure that we will pay for his mission. The money will sit untouched so that he can have it to pay for life after the mission. He won't know that until he returns.

As far as college...we also pay for grades. People disagree with this, but it is something that has made all the difference with our son. He gets a $25 bonus for each trimester that ends with a straight A report card. At the end of the year we will give him a $100 bonus if he kept straight As for the whole year. This is a lot for a 6th grader, but we believe it is worth it. He has worked so hard and met this goal since we implemented it. I have also told him that if he gets a scholarship to college we will buy him a car. Not a new one, but something reliable to go to school in. This keeps his focus on the fact that he is going to college and it is totally motivating to him. It also motivates him to get involved. We tell him it is not always just about the grades. He needs to get involved with other extra things in school. His main savings account (the one that has collected 20%) will supply a portion of schooling, if there is not a scholarship.

Anyway, we try to hit as many things as we can with one rule or motivation. Saving for a mission implies that there will be one and is one way for them to prepare. Same with college. It totally works for us so far! :)

And thanks so much for the idea of interest! PERFECT! I haven't thought of that! What a great way to encourage savings!

salwa said...

I don't mean to come off as rude but I don't know how else to ask this. How can a parent NOT pay for your child's college? You bring them into this world, raise them to have hopes and dreams and then tell them you're not going to pay for college. What if, God forbid, they don't get a scholarship? They take student loans?

Again I'm not intending to be rude. My view is life is a huge struggle even after you graduate (job hunt etc) what happens if your child can't find a job and pay off their loans? Don't you have a responsibility as a parent? Have as many children as you can afford to at least see through an under grad degree? Don't you try to make life easier for your child while teaching them the importance of self responsibility?

aharrison said...

First off, I loved reading this post and absolutely LOVE the family bank! Such a cool memory!! Regarding kids buying their own clothes, I, like you, had to buy and budget for my own clothes since I was young (9, not 8, but pretty close ;). The difference was that we got a clothing allowance, separate from our regular allowance, and we weren't allowed to use it for other things- only for things that went on our body. Also, we didn't hold on to the money, we had a chalk board that kept track of what each of us had and we just kept a running tally. That included winter jackets, basketball shoes, team sweatshirts, back to school clothes, prom dresses, etc. And if ever one of those things came up and we hadn't planned ahead, we either went without, or turned to hand me downs, thrift stores, or borrowing. I remember needing a new blouse for a band concert in 8t grade (as in I was required to have a certain color and type of shirt by our band director that I didn't yet have). My mom came home one day after finding the perfect one on clearance for 3.99 at Old Navy. She handed it to me and I was so relieved to finally have what I needed. She then informed me she'd take it off my clothing allowance. I knew it wasn't a gift, but earlier that week I was at a friend's house when her mom came home with 3 big bags of new Abercrombie clothes. She came in and showed her, and my friend just said, "thanks," like it was no big deal! I thought about my 3.99 shirt and how even that little purchase had to come out of my clothing allowance, and I threw myself a little pity party... but I eventually got over it. There were no exceptions, and we knew it, so we knew how to plan and we were empowered to make choices to set ourselves up for financial stability. We didn't take things for granted, and we didn't feel entitled to anything really. We recognized things are earned, special things are gifts, and everything else isn't ours. My friends all think my clothing allowance from 4th grade on up was crazy, and yet I'm the one my friends come to for budgeting help- go figure.

And per Salwa's comment above, without getting into too many specifics as college costs are all over the board today, I thought I'd just chime in. My dad agreed to pay half of in-state tuition (I don't mean tuition at a community college, but university tuition). If we got a scholarship, we still got the money to do with what we wanted. If we decided to go to a private school or out of state, that was on us. We knew what we would get and we knew we'd need to come up with the rest. Paying for a significant part of my college helped me take college more seriously, and I worked my tail off in the summers and during school and graduated without a penny of student loans. Not everybody can afford to pay for all or even half of their children's college tuition/room and board/books. I think the important thing is for our kids to know what they can expect- all, half, or whatever the arrangement. That way they can plan ahead and make summer job decisions and college decisions accordingly!

Jordan Page said...

Shawni! I wish I knew how to email you! I'm a blogger over at www.FunCheapOrFree.com and I wanted to ask your permission to use your 10-20-70 principle in a big upcoming conference I'm holding. Please email me, jordan (at) funcheaporfree (dot) com and I'd love to ask your formal permission! Love your site, just discovered it today. Went to a power of mom's retreat at your parent's home a few years back, it was fabulous.

Supriya said...

I cannot express to you what a god send your blog is to me today. Our 12 year old is a kind generous person but we have realized that his sense of entitlement is now distorting his sense of appropriate behavior and expectations. I was trolling the web this morning and praying for help with some sort of responsibility system that we can adapt and came across your blog. Please know that you have changed a family today. Thank you. Thank you.

Supriya said...

I cannot express to you what a god send your blog is to me today. Our 12 year old is a kind generous person but we have realized that his sense of entitlement is now distorting his sense of appropriate behavior and expectations. We saw that we needed to create change before it becomes an actual problem. I was trolling the web this morning and praying for help with some sort of responsibility system that we can adapt and came across your blog. Please know that you have changed a family today. Thank you. Thank you.

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