Monday, April 5, 2010

Kids & Money: Commissions Part 2

In my previous Kids & Money post, I talked about Dave's suggested commission system for kids. We started it a few weeks ago with our four year old son, Troy. Like when we first started budgeting, it's been a work in progress.

The first week we used the Commissions Chart that came with our FPU Junior. This is clearly designed for older kids. It worked well enough, but I decided to find some thing a little more basic for Troy. I picked up a basic chart with reusable stickers from United Arts and Education. (Just recently I saw a really nice one at Target, but couldn't justify $10 when I had some thing that worked at home.) A couple of the things that I did like about the way we used Dave's chart is how I boxed in the days to do the chores and the section that has fines for bad behavior. I can implement this in our new chart, I just haven't done so yet. I have to say... the reusable stickers are fabulous. How have I not discovered these sooner?

You'll notice that we have photos where you would normally write the jobs. This is part of being age appropriate. Troy can't read yet, so this helps him identify what needs to be done. I left the pictures vague so that I could make the task change depending on the day of the week and the need. For instance, one of the pictures I have is of Windex. Then the task for this could be windows in any room of the house or even the t.v.

When we tried to decide the number, frequency, and valuewe kept it pretty simple. Since we were vague on the jobs, I can have Troy do the tasks as often as I need him to (for a distraction some times) or as often as he asks. Because he's in preschool a couple days a week, most jobs get done about 3 times a week. We decided on $0.25 per task. That way, it's not a situation where he has to do laundry every day of the week in order to earn his commissions. His attention span is not that long. He basically gets a smaller amount each time he does it. This works out to be about $4 a week total for all jobs, which was my goal. This is also nice because I can pay him in quarters, which he likes because he calls it "big money".

During the last week, Troy has gotten really excited about this. I think it finally clicked in when he bought his first toy (Cars puzzle) with his money. He loves putting the stickers on the chart. He actually gets excited about the jobs. I'm tying to get him involved in what jobs to put on his chart, but I don't think he cares as long as he gets paid. I think he also likes feeling like a responsible grown up.

When we pay him, we do so in quarters. He loves this! He counts the smiley faces and then we give him $0.25 for each one. He has been using his divided piggy bank. We work on dividing every thing among the different categories. I think he's finally getting a grasp on the concept of what each represents. Spend = buy now; Save = buy later; Give = some one else buys it; and Invest = spend a LONG time from now. It's funny to watch the wheels turn.

As a parent, I have to admit that I love his new commissions as much as he does. Now when he starts begging for some thing I can tell him that if he really wants it, it has to come out of his own money pouch. He doesn't make enough to buy all the things he wants, so this keeps some of the junk from entering our house which is great. He's also starting to learn a lot of important money lessons - which I'll share in another post - which is pure joy to me.

I have a lot more to share, but I'm out of energy and pictures. In my next post I'll try to share the types of jobs we do and some keys lessons we've learned through the process.

What jobs do your kids do? Do you have your kids divide the commissions among different categories (spend, save, give)? If so, how do you determine how much goes in to each?

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