One of the biggest questions I get asked from my readers is all about chores.
It is a great question because for years I struggled with chores.
The best response I can give to my readers is that there is not a one-size-fits-all for chores.
I have done a lot of research and I feel like the best approach for our family is a mixture of several different ideas.
One of the best books I have read on chore systems is called The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership.
This book allowed me to see the trap of entitlement, how to overcome it, and steps to take to get there. It is a great read for parents who want to end up with responsible and mature adults who do not think the world revolves around them!
So let me explain our own family economy system. A family economy system is just a way of earning and spending within the family. It teaches children about having a job (chores around the home) and spending money wisely.
Come Up with Chores
Step 1, of course, is to decide on your chores.
I used Tauna’s course, The Busy Mom’s Guide to Chores, to come up with my chores.
This course took me about 30 minutes to go through, and I have used her chore cards ever since! They are a staple in our home.
I laminated the cards and rotate through them month by month.
I chose to keep the same chore cards for an entire month with my kids. This allows them to master the skill, and I do not have to remember week to week who is responsible for what chore.
If you want more information on the chores we use in our home, GRAB THIS FREE CHECKLIST TO SET UP YOUR OWN FAMILY ECONOMY SYSTEM.
Decide the total amount of money per week
I have tried to give my kids a weekly allowance or money for each chore, but it was too hard to keep up with the amount.
As a couple, Dustin and I decided that our kids would start earning money for chores starting at the age of 8. At this age, they are pretty self-sufficient in doing the chore without much help.
Instead of paying weekly or for individual chores, we give our kids a bi-monthly allowance.
Every two weeks, they have a payday and the money is put into the iAllowance app. This is an app that tracks the amount they make and the amount they spend. It also allows the money to be put into separate bank accounts (spending, saving, and giving) automatically. More on this at the bottom of the post.
Ready to start your own family economy system? Grab the step-by-step guide HERE.
For right now, our 11-year-old is paid $40, and our 9-year-old is paid $30 every 2 weeks. We up the allowance by $5 every year on their birthday.
While this may seem like a steep allowance, our kids are required to use their allowance money for anything they want: toys, clothes, shoes, and treats.
We do help them out with birthday presents for friends and clothes and shoes initially for the season. However, anything above and beyond comes out of their own money.
I also pay $10 for every book they finish. I know that seems crazy, but I want my kids to be avid readers and for now, this works for us!!
Give a starting amount
We choose $50 as our starting point when our children turned 8.
By giving them a starting amount of money, it helps them to get started right away in understanding how to be financially confident and stable.
Right from the start, we follow the spend-save-give method of 70-20-10. 70% is their spending money, 20% is saved, and 10% is their tithe.
For example, at their eighth birthday, our children receive $35 to spend, $10 into their savings, and $5 to tithe at church. This adds up to their $50 starting amount.
Then, every two weeks after, they receive their weekly allowance of $30: $21 to spend, $6 into their savings, and $3 to tithe at church.
Use an App to Track
Keeping up with a system is always a challenge.
There are several allowance apps to choose from when looking for a tracking system.
The one we use now is called iAllowance.
This app allows you to set up different piggy banks so we have a spend, save, and give piggy bank for each child.
Also, you can use automatic allowance feature that will directly deposit money into each piggy bank.
Every other week, my 11-year-old receives $28 in his spending piggy bank, $8 in his saving piggy bank, and $4 in his giving piggy bank. This happens automatically every other week so I do not have to keep up with this part of the chore system at all!
When he buys an item or receives extra money for a book or extra job, then I can go into the app and deduct or add the money.
For a free option, the app Allowance + can work. It does not allow you to have the different piggy banks, but it does provide the automatic allowance feature.
What if it is a big-ticket item and it will take forever for your kids to purchase?
This depends on the item. We are willing to meet halfway for big-ticket items with some stipulations.
We spend a lot of time going over the pros and cons of the item. We spend a lot of time talking about how this item will foster their relationship with Jesus and their family. We also talk about the motives behind purchasing the item.
An example for a big-ticket item in our home is the Apple Watch. I was against it for so long. However, the more research the kids and I did together, the more it made sense.
There is no safari access on the Watch. Dustin and I are able to call and text them when needed at practices or friend’s houses. The Watch gave the kids and I peace of mind.
When our older boys were struggling with being away from me, the Watch allowed them to gain independence and move past that fear.
They saved up for a long time, and we met them halfway for the item. They do have to pay monthly for their service for the Watch. This bill automatically comes out of their allowance monthly.
I have found that when kids pay for part of a big-ticket item. They are much more likely to keep up with it and take care of it as well.
(Sidenote: in order for the Apple Watch to work, it does have to be paired with an iPhone. We used two old, outdated iPhones for the kids. They rarely have these phones, except to listen to Audible books or take pictures on a field trip. When they do have these phones, they are under lock and key using the OurPact app.)
What if they are not doing the chores?
I tried for a long time to only give my kids their allowance when they completed the chore to my satisfaction. However, I found that this was very discouraging to the child.
In our home, the chores are expected to be done because they are a vital member of our family. They know that they have responsibilities each and every day.
When I find that a child is being particularly lazy or not completing his chores, then it is time for a talk. I want to get to the heart issue on this. After our talk, I come up with creative ways to help the child remember.
Maybe it is a sticky note on his bathroom mirror reminding him of his month’s chores. We have even used rubber bands on his wrist that he would move over after completing chores.
To me, it is important to work with each individual child so they will remember their chores for themselves.
We expect them to do their chores without a ton of reminding. Be creative with this one!
Make sure to grab your FREE guide and checklist HERE.