Kids and Money…spend/save/charity

Pocket money is not something we have done in our house. We expect the kids to help out around the house and no, we are not going to pay them to do their share. I don’t see anyone knocking at the door with cash, each night I do the dishes.

However, our eldest daughter is 18 and has worked a causal job since she was 15 and we have really tried to instil in her the value of saving. Her younger siblings have recently complained that it’s not fair, they never have money to spend on things. It occurred to me that you are never too young to learn the value of money, how to spend wisely and how to save.

So, we decided to flip slightly on the “no pocket money” idea for our 8-year-old, and I must say it has had great results! Here’s what we did.

There are some jobs that she has to do, no questions asked and no money exchanges hands. For example, keeping her room tidy, unpacking her school bag, putting her washing away, setting the table. However, for larger tasks, we have written a list and put a dollar value on it. Eg, help fold washing and put in everyone’s rooms $2, water the herb garden $1, tidy the lounge room $2. Her enthusiasm to help has increased tenfold! She is very happy to offer her help and has also learned to negotiate on the value of the jobs she can do. But this is not where the biggest lesson has been learned.

We have put into place some rules around what happens with the money Miss 8 earns and this is where the best value has come in. She has 3 jars, that she decorated and put on her desk (see our cute printable labels below). One is called “spend”, one “save” and one “charity”.  Whenever she earns some money, we make sure it is broken down into coins and she must put some money in each jar.

Money from the spend jar, she is allowed to spend on whatever she wants. While this was a big novelty at the start, she soon realised, you need to plan for what you are going to spend your money on and once it’s gone, you need to work and earn more money!

The save jar is for long term and if she decides she wants to save and buy something “big”, it is to be discussed with us. She is learning it takes a long time to save a significant amount of money but is excited about working towards a goal.

The charity jar was the most interesting and I think, rewarding. In the beginning she asked why would she want to give away her hard-earned money to someone else? We talked to her about the kind of work different charities do, and how they rely on the generosity of others. She was not convinced. An envelope was sent home from school for the Good Friday Appeal and she asked what this was for. A little while later Miss 8 came out from her room with some money from her charity jar, “I think the Children’s Hospital is a good charity and I would like to donate my money”. “Great idea” I replied. She is now saving to donate to the Geelong Animal Welfare.

I really do think this has been a winner and hopefully we have started some good habits for the future!


Lara Walsh - Pop Planner Co Creator