Or the one where I realize it’s time for an allowance for my kids.
The other day my daughter and I had a little date. We hit up Chipotle and when I asked her what she wanted to do, she said she wanted to buy her sister a present. I gave her two stores options and limit of anything under $10. Excited, she brainstormed ideas of what to get her sister which eventually snowballed into what to get her sister and herself. No problem but there’s still a $10 budget, I reminded.
I should mention this concept of a budget and not spoiling my girls rotten is the complete opposite of how I was raised. I was an only child being raised by my grandfather who only ever had sons. I was his little girl and I got anything I ever wanted. Spoiled, yes. Brat, no. My biggest fear with my children is their being spoiled, ungrateful little shits. Pardon my French. This is what all my limits are rooted in. Back to the story.
We get to the store and her eyes glaze over with all the toy options. I point her in the direction of the smaller toys. She shows me two toys she thinks will be perfect and perfectly out of our budget. I reminder her of what we discussed in the car. She insists, telling me she knows what her sister will like. I remind her again. She stands firm, does not throw a fit and very calmly tells me the gift is from her so she gets to choose. We go back and forth for longer than I should have allowed. Clearly, the stubborn apple does not fall far from the tree.
End of the story: I buy her what she wants but I’m equal parts pissed she ignored our original terms for shopping and proud of how firmly she stood her ground without throwing a tantrum. My iron mama will was weakened in light of how poised my daughter was in standing her ground. I was thrown off.
I did what any grown up would do in this situation and drove home in a huff. She sat in the back seat in a huff in response to my huff. Some time and deep breaths later we had a truly grown up talk about the situation. I explained I was disappointed she didn’t listen to me but I was very proud she stood by her opinion. We smiled. We hugged. We apologized. Her sister came home and all was well with the world.
This incident made me realize it’s time for an allowance for my kids. I would gladly buy my girls the world but I don’t believe they learn anything that way. It’s hard for me to teach my daughters the value of a dollar when the dollar’s never theirs to begin with. I never had an allowance growing up so this is extremely foreign territory for me. I’ve got a few ideas so far on how it might work for us:
- The allowance base is equivalent to their age. Anything above that they have to earn.
- They must divide the money into spend now, spend later and do good money.
- I like the idea of coming up with “jobs” they could do to earn money. But I’m having a hard time figuring out what those jobs are since I don’t want to pay them to do things necessary to keep a household running smoothly.
Now I’d like to pick your brains on having an allowance for kid. What age is good to start? If I start with my 5 year old, do I have to do it with my 3 year old? Do I give them one weekly or monthly? I’m not a fan of paying my kids to do chores or to do things expected of any family member so what other options do I have for figuring out how much to pay them? I’m a bundle of questions. I’m open to any and all suggestions.
How do you make an allowance for kids work? Give it to me.