How timely. Right on the heels of talking about responsibility, The Parent Bloggers Network has a contest for those who write about when to teach kids about money(prize: an iPhone).
In addition, Capital One has launched a new online Moneywise eLearning tool to help families learn about managing money including ways to bring their kids into the discussion.
Well, we here in the Scary household recently did just that - we talked to the Twofer about money and we came up with a way to teach them about it....we put them to work!
OK, Ok really, we assigned chores to them and started tracking on a weekly basis. It is somewhat coincidental that around this time we made the decision to pay the Twofer a weekly allowance...but they are not actually getting paid to do the chores (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).
The Twofer turned 5 this Spring and after asking around, we decided to give them each $1 per week. We actually give them $2 a week and $1 of that goes into our "charity bowl" and they get to keep the other $1. The "charity bowl" will be opened closer to Christmas and together we'll decide how to donate that money (and hopefully teach the Twofer just how lucky they are to have what they have).
Why pay? I really do believe that kids should help out around the house not for money, but as members of the family. We also wanted them to start learning the value of money. Not how many quarters are in a dollar, but what a dollar can get you...or these days, can't get you.
In short, we wanted them to understand why they don't get an ice cream every time we're at the pool.
Lessons learned. Now when we're out at a store and they see something they want, we say, "How much money do you have?" They are learning that the neighborhood ice cream truck is a ripoff ($3 for a bomb pop) compared to the snack bar at the pool ($.80 for an Italian ice). And that a Hannah Montana magazine provides hours more entertainment than a necklace that breaks within 5 minutes of wearing it.
Oh don't worry. I'm not that Scary. I treat them to an ice cream sandwich now and then and of course provide them with the necessities: shoes, clothes and riding lessons (I gave in to that because we are no longer paying for school).
The fact remains: learning about money, it's value, and the importance of saving is a lesson that can't be learned too early. Check out the Capital One tool and fingers crossed that I get one of the 3 iPhones!