3 October 2012

Pocket money and jobs: a strategy

It's school holidays here. Apart from our two, there's often an extra child or two around in the holidays, as other parents try to juggle jobs and holidays. The kitchen gets a good workout, and the more help I can get, the better.

That combines nicely with the fact that someone in this house has spent too much money on lego recently. Trade Me is a dangerous auction website if you are a lego addict. The addict is only nine years old, and his Mama didn't stop him falling into the trap of auction fever. Lego knights were his downfall (although he insists they are worth his bid price).

However, he spent three times more than his wallet holds, so it's time to repay debt and hopefully use the episode as a lesson on money management. I needed the nudge of it, certainly: since the children were very young I've been saying how important it is to encourage them to save 10% of all the money they get, and yet I've never implemented it.

So here's our strategy. It involves housework, saving 10% and commitment.

They have three jobs a week to do: cleaning either the bath or our three handbasins, making their bed each day and helping me prepare our evening meal once a week. They have a week to complete the jobs and on Sunday they get $4.50, 50 cents of which will go to school in an envelope to be banked in first credit union (I'll be getting the application packs to join the credit union when term starts. They already have bank accounts, but this way we only need make the slightest effort to deposit the money.)

If they don't do the jobs, they have to pay me $4. I know it sounds mean, but recent experience assures me that otherwise they don't do the jobs if they don't feel like it, which usually means there's nothing they really want to buy that week. (We've had a less formal money-for-jobs thing happening for a while). Then they want to do lots of jobs in the week they've found something they want.

Anna helping me cook tonight. The carrots were
chopped very small, but I didn't complain!

My ulterior motive with the cooking is that by the time they're 12 they can cook dinner one night a week for the family, and this is their training ground. Plus they tend to eat raw vegetables as they chop them, which is a good way to slip the good stuff in.

I really need the help around the house, too. Even little jobs noticeably reduce the burden, and I don't want to have to harass them for the help. They already regularly do other things that aren't on the list, like set the table and take out the rubbish and recycling.

But when I entitled this post, I didn't mean that ours is the strategy. It's something I think will work in this family, although it may need refinement. I hope that they gain skills, I get help and they get to experience the magic of money growing effortlessly when a bit is regularly put aside.

Do you have any tips you can share?

I shared this post at Frugally Sustainable and at the


  1. Brilliant! I wonder if it will work with my 7 year old? Can't hurt to try.

    Hello, new follower here! I would love to have you link up with my Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    I hope to see you there!
    The Chicken Chick

  2. Hi Kathy - I've tried to do it but I can't get the thumbnail up. Will try another strategy later. Thanks for the invitation.


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