the other week we were at the toy store, when bear asked me to buy him this silly toy. he doesn’t typically ask for things when we’re out, but since it was only a few days from his birthday party there was a smell of gifts wafting in the air. we chatted and i told bear that his dad and i had decided that instead of just buying him things, he should start to earn his own money. then he could decide for himself when and how he wanted to spend his money.
well, that was a tricky conversation to have. money is complicated stuff, as we as adults know all too well. i tried to explain that dear hubby works hard to earn money, so that we can buy things like food, clothes, a house, gas for the car… it was kinda flying over his head, but i knew he was thinking about it, because every so often he would ask something like “do windows cost money?”, “what about furniture?”, “or trees?”
so, together we decided that we would come up with three chores that if he completed i would pay him. but, it also meant that he would have to continue to contribute to our household, as a member of the family, by doing things when asked. things like helping set the table, clearing his used dishes after meals, tidying up toys or crafts, putting his dirty laundry directly into the hamper and so on.
we’ve only come up with two chores that if done, we’ll pay him and they are, if he makes his bed in the morning i pay him 25 cents. if he unloads the cutlery basket from the dishwasher i pay him 25 cents. i have offered to pay him more for bigger special, projects like outside jobs in the warmer months. he seems pretty keen. we’ll see how much those chores will earn him when the day comes.
i really want him to learn what it feels like to earn money, save money, spend money and how all of those habits are so closely interconnected. our north american, first world society has a very illogical, irresponsible relationship with money. we are private about it when i think we should be open, we spend it as though it grows on trees and we are ignorant about the big picture of our financial lives. so maybe, just maybe by starting early with small amounts and little responsibility, he will learn to connect all those financial dots in his life.