Kids and Money

What’s the Right Age to Start an Allowance?

What does that look like?

When I was a kid, we had a list of chores to do, and if we got them done we would get an allowance.  When I turned 10 I got my first job — a paperboy.  My brother also had a route and between my brother, my father and I we would deliver almost 300 papers every day.  We would get up early, fold them deliver them and then find time during the weekend to collect money.  I delivered papers until I was about 17 years old  then I got a “real” job.  It was nice, I felt in general I worked less and made more money, but I was not my own “boss” anymore.  I learned a lot as a paperboy and I am glad that I did it.  I got a lot out of it, not only in material possessions but confidence when it comes to money.

My son CheeseWiz turned six earlier this year, and he finished his first year of kindergarten.  He learned so much during his year in kindergarten, and one of the things he learned about was about money.  The older he gets the more interested he is in money.  He wants it, he knows the difference between a nickel, dime, quarter and dollar.   He has a basic understanding that things cost different amounts of money and he wants to do whatever it takes to have more money.

The downside to this is that (like his father) when he gets certain things in his head he obsesses over them.

We have decided that we are not going to give him a weekly allowance but we are going to give him “extra” chores around the house to earn money.  There is always something to do around the house and after he gets his “regular” chores done then he will have an opportunity to do the “extra” ones.

This works to a point, but he always wants to do extra chores and as soon as he earns a dollar he wants to spend it.  So what is one to do?

We are teaching him the difference between giving, spending and saving which I think is important.  He gets it…..to a certain point.  I think the one thing that has changed since we have started this whole process.  He is thinking about his money, he is deciding what he wants to do with his money.

Our hope in doing this is not only to teach him about spending, saving, and giving, but to start good money habits early.  As we progress in this process we will share our successes and failures.

Out of Control

Sometimes life feels like it is out of control. No matter how much you plan, prepare, or set goals at one point or another your life is going to feel like it has gone a little crazy.

Now I hope you have taken some times this summer to rest, relax and renew yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. Hopefully you have gotten a chance to get away and spend time with your family and friends. My prayer is that at this point you are not feeling like your life is out of control. If you are it’s okay, and it is going to happen.

As I look at my calendar, school is starting in less than a month! It is a time during the year when stress is at an all time high…..school starts, community programs start, in a way it seems like September is more of a “New Year” than January.

A friend told me one time that if you want to change something about yourself, start it in September because our natural rhythms for change occurs more during September rather in January……food for thought.

At this point may feel prepared for the fall to come. You may feel like you have things under control – but then “it” happens. “It” could be an unexpected car repair, an unexpected medical bill, an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or any number of things that puts you back to square one. Suddenly you feel as if you’re completely off course, and it seems like it is almost impossible to recover.

At times like this, there are a few things it may help you to remember. First of all, no one can control every aspect of his or her life, and adversity comes to all of us at one point or another. It doesn’t matter how happy we try and make ourselves be, it doesn’t matter how many spreadsheets we make or how good our attitude is. Bad things happen to good people all the time.

Second, I would like to suggest two things that you can do when you feel like things are starting to get out of control. The first is to pray about it, to ask God for help and strength when things are troubling you. Granted that might not be a short term solution but it is something that I feel is a big help when you are feeling bad.

The second thing is to think about what your response is going to be. When you find yourself overcome with feelings of fear, helplessness, and overall chaos, you can choosing to shift the focus of the thoughts that are running through your mind. Our mental image of ourselves greatly determines the path that our lives go down. So mentally choose good feelings and sooner or later they will come.

Your feelings are a direct result of the thoughts you think, and one of the ways we can try and prevent feelings of lost of control is to set aside some time every morning and evening for positive affirmation, or prayer which can be an effective way of getting these thoughts back under your control again.