When our kids were little, my husband and I went back and forth about how to give them money. My husband, Tim, grew up with no allowance and was adamantly against just giving our kids money without them doing anything. He felt that they shouldn’t get paid for doing things around our home because they are part of a family and families do work to help each other, not to get paid.
I can’t say I disagreed with my husband, but I grew up doing chores and helping around the house. I also got a bi-weekly allowance. I liked the idea of giving kids money because I wanted to teach them how to manage money well. If they didn’t have any money, how could they learn to use it?
Tim and I went back and forth for years trying to figure this out. We finally came up with a compromise that we could both be happy with. The compromise was to give our kids a timecard.
A timecard helps our kids learn practical, real-life skills, which makes me happy. Our system also requires our kids to do certain things around the house that they do not get paid for, which makes my husband happy. They can’t get paid for jobs on their timecard unless the family responsibilities are done first.
I hope this system is teaching my kids responsibility. When they grow up and get a job, they will have to keep track of hours and tasks that they do. They will also have to turn the timecard in to their boss in order to get paid. Because I’m going for real-world experiences, I don’t pay my kids for jobs unless they turn their timecard in on time.
Here is an example of my 10 year old’s timecard.
The top of the timecard shows the jobs our kids do not get paid for. These are the things our kids do because they are part of the family. We also don’t offer exorbitant amounts for the jobs they do get paid for because we want to teach them that saving money takes time. They have learned quickly that saving up to buy something takes patience and hard work.
I made the timecards specifically to fit on a small clipboard. I print off several timecards at a time so we don’t have to print them out every week. The kids decorated the clipboards with scrapbook paper and used stickers to put their name on it. I put magnets on the back of the clipboards and attached a pen with ribbon. We put the clipboards on a magnet board in a hallway by their bedrooms where they can easily see it.
This system has worked well for us for many years. Now that our kids are getting older, we have had to adjust how we use the timecard. Our oldest daughter is 15. When she turned 12, she started babysitting and earning her own money. She still helps with the jobs that our kids do because they are part of the family and also helps her siblings clean their bathroom, but she no longer uses the timecard. Our 13 year old son uses a timecard but has additional things he can do outside of our home to earn money, like working with my husband at our car dealership on a Saturday.
If you want to try out a timecard, I have made one that you can fill-in and use with your own kids. Just sign-up below to get access. The timecard is editable, so feel free to change the family responsibilities, jobs, and values to meet your own needs. I formatted the timecard to print 2 to a page. This size fits perfectly on a small clipboard. Just print out the document and cut it in half.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how you teach your kids to work and manage money. Share your ideas in the comments.
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