It has taken nearly a decade, but we have finally come up with a satisfactory way to pay our kids their allowance.
For years, I went to the bank occasionally to stock up on dollar bills. I doled out allowance weekly to my little natives, until I would run out of cash, and then I would make myself a note to go back to the bank, and the note would get buried in my car.
It never worked, and I ended up being pretty inconsistent about paying them. Rule #831 of parenting: keep it simple.
Several months ago, my Hubs had a brainstorm. The kids already each had their own savings account (separate from college money). We synched it up all on-line, together with our checking account. Now when we log in to our banking accounts, we see our checking account listed with each of our kids' savings account listed below. We can easily do a transfer from our account to theirs (as they stand by and watch) with a click of the mouse.
No cash. No trips to the bank.
At first, I worried that not having their little hands on cold, hard cash would somehow make them less aware of the value of a dollar. Actually, the opposite has happened.
You and I both know that money you can't physically see is the money that it's the easiest to spend (hello, Great American Credit Card Crisis). By paying my kids this way, they're seeing that money has value even when you're not holding the currency in your hand. And they're seeing it under our close supervision, which will, hopefully, teach them to be savvy consumers someday. Paying them directly into their savings accounts (again, with them standing right next to us watching the transactions and the balances) has encouraged them to save. They're learning that there's some great satisfaction in watching their little nest eggs grow.
As for the amount? Right now, we take their age, divide it in half, and that's their weekly amount. For example, my ten year old gets $5/week.
On-line allowance works for our family (and it's one more example of how woefully dependent we are on the internet. If there's ever a world-wide web crash, I'm toast.)
*UPDATED* I forgot to mention how we do withdrawals when there is something the kids want to buy. Generally, I just pay for it myself, and then (with them watching) I get on-line and transfer money from their account to mine. Very easy.
I'll post our chore lists for next week's WFMW.
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