Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Proud Daddy Post

I'm a big proponent of giving kids an allowance. Since Kadin was 3 we've been giving him money weekly as an incentive to do chores, but mostly to teach him how to handle the stuff. Studies tell us that most Americans are in debt. They've never been taught to manage money (or at least not in a way they understood) and so once they get a job and a couple credit cards everything goes south. I don't want my kids to be like that. I want them to understand that if they don't have money they can't spend it, so two years ago we decided to give them an allowance. Here's what they've learned by having an allowance:
  • You can't spend what you don't have (at the store they will ask for candy, if they have money they can get some, if not they can't).
  • If you save your money you can buy better stuff (more on this later)
  • They've learned to tithe (the first 10% goes to God)
  • They learned to pay bills (after you tithe you pay Mom back for the hot chocolate she bought you, before you spend anymore money)
  • How to count money (Kadin used to take his out and play with it, but it's stored away so it doesn't get lost).
  • I'm starting to work with Kadin on budgeting, writing down what you're going to spend, on paper, on purpose (in 15 years this should be second nature for him).
Two months ago Kadin decided that he wanted a Nintendo DS. I told him he would need to save up for a lot of weeks to earn enough to buy one. I didn't really think he was serious, but he proved me wrong. That next week we went to an espresso stand and usually Kadin would buy himself hot chocolate, but he decided not to because he was saving for a DS. Then we went to the store, where he would usually buy himself some cookies as a snack, but he decided not to because he was saving for a DS. By this point we were so proud of him, because he was forgoing temporary pleasure for a more meaningful reward, we decided to double the money he saved towards a DS. Easter came and Kadin managed to get $10 (there was money inside some of the eggs). Then came several more weeks of putting off snacks to save money, and about a week ago he had saved $40. We got online to see about getting a used DS, we found one that came with $50 worth of games that was selling for $130, so he bought it and we payed our part plus the difference for the games. Here is the end result:

Kadin is now the proud owner of an Onyx black DS, but more importantly he has learned a skill that will serve him the rest of his life. $5 a week seems cheap compared to lessons like that.


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