Monkey Money

Yesterday morning while we were getting ready for school, the boys brought up the topic of money. More specifically, bank accounts. They each wanted to know if they could open their own bank accounts for spending money.
This is a topic we have discussed before, yet the boys still do not have their own accounts. I am not against them having bank accounts, quite the opposite actually. The reason they don’t have bank accounts is because they haven’t been able to hold on to enough money long enough to open an account.
I refuse to hold their money and/or tell them they can’t spend their own money. Money management is more than putting money in a bank account and forgetting about it. The control needed is the same whether it’s cash or plastic.
I have told them that they must have at least $10 cash before I take them to open an account. In my mind, this will encourage the management of their cash. Of course this got them thinking as to how they can obtain more cash.
The next topic of conversation was how their friends get money. Number one answer: allowance. “Mom! Can we start getting allowance?”
I do not believe in allowance. I do not get money for taking care of my responsibilities at home, I don’t believe they should either. I feel that allowance is a way of bribing children to meet expectations. If they are expected to put their toys away, why should they be paid to do so? I feel that granting children allowance can provide them with the illusion that every chore in life is going to have a tangible reward. We all know this is not the case in the “real world”. Sometimes a job well done is the only reward for the completed job. I feel it is part of my responsibility as a parent to teach them to appreciate a job that is completed correctly.
When they asked me if they could have an allowance, my decision was, therefore, simple. No allowance is coming from this mom! They knew this already this time though, as I said, we’ve had these discussions before.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the boys NEVER have money. They receive it as a gift for special occasions or, sometimes, for no reason whatsoever. They always seem to at least have some change in their pockets (and T has his pennies). I was prepared for what came next though.
“If we can’t have an allowance, how are we EVER supposed to get $10 to open a bank account?”
I pointed out to them that they do get spending money from time to time and that money could be saved. I also suggested chores for cash.
Chores for cash in my home means doing extra work in addition to the regular expectations. The bedroom still needs to be cleaned, they still have to take their turn as kitchen helper, homework still needs to be completed, their laundry still needs to be put away, etc. If they choose to wash and dry the laundry though, they can earn 50¢ per wash or dry (washing includes gathering, sorting and taking the load to the machines; drying includes taking from the washer and putting it in the dryer with fabric softener sheets, cleaning the lint filter, and bringing the clean laundry to the living room to be folded). There are TONS of jobs they can do around the house to earn money….and, frankly, at 50¢ – $2, there are tons of jobs I’d be willing to pay them for doing. So far, since yesterday morning, the boys have each earned a grand total of: $0.00!
Damn, guess that means I need to go do some housework….

No matter how dark the day, the sun is always shining somewhere!

Jules

P.S. I call my boys “my little monkeys” when we’re playing around, hence the “Monkey” Money title.

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