Monday, July 16, 2012

Teaching Kids About Money: First Job!

Allie started her first job this summer!  She sits with our neighbors' children for an hour each morning between when their parents' leave for work and when their summer camp bus picks them up!  

We are so proud of the responsibility that Allie has shown with this.  She sets her alarm clock, gets up, dressed, eats breakfast and goes next door all on her own before I even wake up.  

One of the things that I feel very strongly about is living within one's means.  We don't buy something unless we have the money for it.  Don't mistake that for not being bitten by the little green monster--I definitely am--but I have to ask myself if that is the best use of our money?  What are my reasons for wanting something--to impress or keep up with the Joneses or because we can genuinely use it?  Is it something we should save for?  Would our money be better used on something else?

It is important to Jason and I that we teach these values to our girls.

When Allie got this job, we told her that half of her money had to go in the bank.

She thought she could just spend the other half on anything that struck her fancy..after all, she had earned it!  At first she wanted a new handbag...we even went to the store to buy it, but I couldn't help but point out that she had SEVERAL handbags that were in good shape.  Then it was a "Heart for Heart" doll because she liked that part of the money went for charity--I pointed out that there are other companies that offer other products and do the same.  

I told her to ask herself some questions:  Do I need this?  Could I use the money on something else that is more important?  If I buy this, then I won't have money for....(something else)?  Do I have anything like this?  How often will I use this?

Each week, I would bring Allie to the bank when we were out running errands and she would deposit half of her earnings.  She recently got a bank statement and was happy to see her balance had grown!

Each week, Allie has come up with things to buy... but we have asked her to ask herself those questions, which she has...and the money has sat in her wallet.

This week, she came up with an idea of something to buy and after asking herself the questions, she felt she still wanted to buy it.  Watercolor pencils and a bigger sketchpad.  We had a coupon and one was on sale.  I felt good about these purchases and I told her why:  since she bought them, I know she will take care of them; she loves art; this is something that will "grow" with her and she can use for a long time to come; this is a skill that she is slowly building and working on.  While we had colored pencils, we did not have the watercolor pencils and while we have sketchpads and art journals, hers are almost full!  She has proven that she has used won't go to waste.