Thursday, October 13, 2016

Make Kids Journal Their Money Requests

A money request journal.

Asking mom and dad for extra money is a little too easy. Not that kids are nefarious or anything, but harried parents are a pretty easy con.

“I’m in a rush, so I’ll just flip Johnny a 5.”

“Did I just give Suzy 10 dollars on Monday, or was that last week? Man, I’m losing it!”

“I wonder if Emma already hit up Mom for that...”

“Did I ever get change back from Logan on that 20 bucks I doled out last week?”

“It sure seems like Sophia just asked to buy something like that last month, or was that Madison?”

There’s a simple solution for putting the brakes on impulsive, redundant, or (dare I say?) exploitative money requests from the kids.

Force your kids to write them down.

Make them maintain a little money request journal with columns for:

  • Date,
  • Amount,
  • Reason,
  • Approved Amount,
  • Approval/Denial Comments,
  • Adjusted Amount (if change was returned),
  • Running Total for the week or month.

Now, to get money out of you, the kids have to fill out a new line item in the journal with the date, the amount, and a reason. (If you want to ditch the pen and paper and go New School, you could use a shared Google Docs sheet or an app instead.)

Coming up with a written justification and confronting the reality of their recent request history so will often be enough to stifle impulsive asks right away.

If not, you’ll have the advantage of glancing over the recent history too. No more exploiting our parental senior moments.

If everything is ship-shape, you can approve and hand over the money without feeling taken. Or, you might negotiate a bit: “Hey, your running total for the month is getting a bit high, I’ll give you half that amount.”

Flat out denial is a distinct possibility too. Just be sure to record a thoughtful reason: “We’ve hit our agreed upon limit for In-N-Out runs this month.”

All that said, if you’re handling a ton of random money requests from the kids, you may need to fix the way you’re doing allowance instead.

Want to turn these tips into action? Check out

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