Teens, Chores and Money

At our house we don’t give our kids an allowance. Many years ago we started to but it just got too expensive. Plus it would kill me when they’d spend our hard-earned money on a giant bucket of Red Vines. I’m not one of those moms who tells their kids how to spend their money; that’s a lesson best left to experience. But it sure did pain me to see them squander it on Pokemon cards.

Now our system has evolved into doing chores because they live in the house. We buy them food and clothes and orthodontia and they have to empty the dishwasher or take out the garbage on regular basis; tis the price of living with such an awesome mom.

If they need money they can earn it doing extra chores like scrubbing out the microwave, mowing the lawn or doing other crappy chores that I hate:  doozies like organizing the pantry or sorting toys in the playroom or straightforward stuff like polishing the good silverware.

The best thing is when the kids really, really, really want something. Arabella is dying for a new iPod and Finn is saving up for a fancy watch. The watch costs $200 and that kid has been working his guts out for months to earn the money. (Yeah, a watch. He is passionate about watches and will spend hours looking at them online. It is the weirdest hobby but whatever. Better that than something pointless like baseball cards.)

Today’s chore: organize all the CDs in the house (alphabetically and by genre). We don’t listen to them very often but it’s nice to have them all put away where we can find them. Surprisingly Finn has turned into kind of a neatnik over the last year and I think he digs the process of organization. I certainly dig his wanting to organize our stuff.

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Last year York organized one of our closets that’s dedicated to food storage. Lots of stuff had to be stacked high but never fear–York made a map of where to find everything.
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When my kids were tiny I really dreaded having teenagers; probably because I was thinking of horrible I was at that age. But it turns out teenagers are pretty cool–especially when they do great stuff like weeding the entire backyard

5 thoughts on “Teens, Chores and Money

  1. I’m still waiting for an organization gene to ignite in any of my boys. We’ve made our teenagers earn ALL their spending money through what seems like “ordinary” chores, but it has made them highly motivated to make their beds and take the trash out. It has also made them VERY frugal in their purchases. It’s been interesting to see what they choose to live with or without, and very nice to not nag them to empty the trash. It has definitely been a process. But, as I always say, “whatever works for you!”

  2. My husband’s aunt had a saying with her teenagers that I use with my kids:

    “Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy”.

    Luckily, my kids don’t care about money yet. I dread when they do. I am hoping to pawn them off on my mom and she can hire them to do things.

    What kind of watches is he obsessed with? My husband gazes lovingly at Invicta watches for hours.

  3. Maybe I am strange, but this post made me very happy. I like organization. I like kids working. I also do not tell my kids how to spend their money and occasionally have a panic moment wondering if I am doing them a huge disservice, but at least if I am – you and I can go to parenting hell together. Whee!

  4. We’re currently deciding what we are willing to pay our kids for, vs what we expect them to do becuase they live here…. These are good ideas to stash away for when they’re a little older. 🙂

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