Week 19: Teach Wren about money
We live in an insanely privileged area. Appearances and keeping up with material things means a lot to some people around here. I'm not entirely sure how we made this home.
Our goal has always been to steer our kids away from materialism and the allure of buying "stuff". We rarely buy our kids anything, though you wouldn't know it if you came to our house. They are showered with everything in the world by family, and that is okay. It's just that we want their minds where money and materials are concerned to be in the right place.
This week at Target, Wren found a sticker book she wanted. We said no. She said, "Okay, no big deal. I'll just wait for my birthday." Her birthday is six months away.
Dennis and I felt kind of weird. I mean, we don't let them get something when they go to the store, and they don't expect it. It's exactly what we hoped for. But still, waiting six months for a $6 sticker book? What's the solution?
We figured it out: Wren is going to start getting an allowance. She's only four, but we've got everything ready to teach her how to allot money for giving, saving, and spending. It's our first time doing this so we don't really know what will work, but here's the plan:
- We are not connecting chores to allowance. Basically, kids need to do chores because they live in the house rent free and they need to learn to manage money because it's a life skill. We're not connecting the two.
- Wren will receive $4 every week. The amount will increase as she ages, so she'll receive $5 a week when she turns 5. From that, 10% will go to giving, 20% to savings, and the rest she can spend.
- We actually expect Wren to spend her own money. Of course, we will still pay to feed her, clothe her, sign her up for extracurricular activities. Plus, D takes the kids on a Half-Price Books run twice a month because we never really refuse them literature. But for toys, trinkets, dolls, items that are not necessities, she will have to use her spending money. That's the only way this will work in teaching delayed gratification and in her deciding what's worth her money.
We're new at this aspect of parenting, so we will see how it goes and if we need to change anything. I'm excited because it means if she does want something, my answer doesn't have to be no. It can be, "well, do you have enough spending money?" which is much more pleasant. It gives Wren some ownership, and she's ready. We think.