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Chores & Allowance Revisited {Plus a Printable Time Card for Kids!}

I’ve shared our philosophy about chores and allowance in the past, but I thought I would revisit the topic now that I’m the mom of three — soon to be four! — elementary-age kids and not a whole slew of preschoolers.

For us, chores and allowance offer opportunities to teach the girls about responsibility, teamwork, money management, and more:

Chores

We define chores as the things each member of our family does around the house just because we’re all members of the same family. This includes regular assignments and the needs that crop up on any given day we ask the girls to do.

We try really hard to be fair about this, to model a “happy heart” when doing our own chores and even to make chore time fun with music, working together, etc., although there are plenty of times when it’s just plain work.

In our family, there is no payment for doing chores. You do them because you’re an Ehman and because you live in this house (just like Mommy and Daddy!). End of story.

Allowance

On the other side of the equation is an allowance, a set amount of money you get each week simply for being part of the family.

Although we have made some halfhearted attempts at giving allowance in the past, right now, our kids don’t actually get one.

In the future, I can see giving them a monthly allowance that they’ll need to budget for clothes, going out with friends, and other various odds and ends, just to help them practice money management rather than asking mom and dad each time they want to buy something.

For now, though, they get plenty of money for their birthdays and Christmas, plus the opportunity to earn money (more on that below), and I don’t really have any desire to give them more money to spend on stupid toys (which are the ones they inevitably go for!).

Jobs

Finally, we offer our kids jobs, which are paid opportunities to work hard and earn a little money. We’re fairly cheap in this area, and while our 6-year-old surprisingly drives the hardest bargain when it comes to negotiating pay, the others are happy to fold a load of laundry for $0.50 or dust baseboards for $0.25.

Typically, I’ll announce that I have a paying job for the first taker, but we also have a few regular jobs. For example, our oldest actually folds all of the girls’ laundry each week. She asked for a regular paying job, and I was happy to delegate that one. Still, we also think it’s important to teach work ethic and commitment, so our rule now is she can do it happily for pay or with a bad attitude, and it will become part of her regular — unpaid — chores {#meanmom}. That said, we haven’t had much trouble with her attitude. She grabs a basket of clothes 2-3 times a week and folds it during TV time, which is working out well for all of us.

I’m also reconsidering the idea of a job board where I can post available jobs so¬†they can earn money more regularly. We can tackle some of the things we regularly ignore…like dusting the baseboards!

Money Management & Time Cards

Printable Time Cards for Kids

This brings me to the most recent addition to the way we handle paid jobs: the time card.

A few friends had actually asked about chores and allowance recently on Facebook. In the comments of one of those posts, someone else mentioned that they require their kids to divide the money they earn between tithes, savings, and spending.

I’ve always been committed to this in theory, but it’s a little bit harder in reality when you’re paying a quarter at a time.

Enter the time card.

In order to make this a habit, we decided that I would track the money the girls earn and use a $10 payout threshold, at which time the girls will give 10%, or $1, to our church as tithes, put $4 in savings, and keep the remaining $5 to spend. (I know some people do a separate charity category as well, but the girls find plenty of other ways to give to charity — whether through their change, cleaning out their toys or volunteering — so I don’t want to complicate things further by requiring that as well.)

I had initially been keeping track of the money they earned on my computer. However, I really wanted to turn the tracking over to the girls themselves, so I created a set of time cards for them to fill out each time they do a paying job.

The time card lists the date, a description of the job, and the agreed pay, plus a place for Sean or me to initial. At the bottom are fields for calculating the tithes, savings, and spending for the total amount earned.

Click here to download or print the time card.

I’m sure our system will continue to evolve, but this is working out pretty well for us now!

How do you handle chores and allowance in your family?