Monday, October 17, 2016

Charge Your Kids An Inconvenience Fee

Butler Delivering A Fee

Have your kids been treating you like a personal butler, maid, or chauffeur lately?

Clearing the cups and plates stacked up by the computer monitor.

Picking up the clothes strewn on the bathroom floor.

Donning the hazmat suit to deal with the old lunch bag left in the basement room.

Picking up the dog bombs in the back yard. Unintentionally. With your shoe.

Driving across town at the last minute in rush hour to get that thing due tomorrow morning. That thing that was assigned two weeks ago.

Perhaps it’s time to teach the kids that your time is money.

Maybe the next activity alert on your kid’s card account should read:

$5.00 from Spending Card ***1234 for: Cleaning Up Your Mess!

That will get some attention. If you’re lucky, it might just get you fired from your family servant side-hustle. Not to worry. You’ve got better paying jobs to tend to.

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  1. We've started doing something similar to this and it's working really well. We use FamZoo's Checklists to assign and track chores. Each kid has about 10 chores available to do each day. For each chore they check off, they earn a certain amount of money ($.25 -$.50). That's sort of their core Allowance. But, at the end of the week, we count up the checks. If they haven't earned at least 14 checks in a week (by doing an average of just two chores per day) they're "fined" $3.00 for not making a significant contribution to our family. If they've earned at least 26 checks, they earn a "bonus" of $3.00 for being especially helpful (on top of the money they earned from each chore). Thanks FamZoo for giving us an easy way to keep track of chores and allowance. We'd tried SO many other systems (checklists, clothes pin boards, marble jars, etc) and nothing worked - endless negotiations about how much we owed them for allowance. Now the kids have their checklists on their phones. There's no excuse for not keeping track of the work they do, and they get paid automatically. A really great feature addition would be being able to automate our "fine / bonus" policy by having FamZoo automatically count the checks earned in a week. Thanks again for all you're doing to help teach our kids to be financially literate and responsible!

  2. Hey, that's an interesting fine/bonus feature idea! Thank you for sharing the description of your system and for the kind words about FamZoo. Always interesting to hear what different families use. In our family, we coupled a fixed weekly allowance with a "chore fail" chart. Checking an item on the chart (like 'Did NOT pick up clothes') would deduct a small fine from the account - in effect, it was an allowance claw-back.

  3. Joseph K made a good comment on a Facebook thread about this post that's worth pondering. He said: "then when you are old, they will charge you to come visit you at the old folk's home..." While the point of this post was to share a little technique for creating some consequences when our kids shirk responsibility and take other's efforts for granted, Joseph's comment reminds us that we shouldn't overdue it either. Otherwise, we might inadvertently send a message that we don't chip in and help each other out without compensation. Like most things, you have to strike a balance...