A dear friend of mine recently convinced me that giving children an allowance at a relatively young age teaches them responsibility and life-long money management skills. I was firmly in the other camp – of keeping your kids away from money (as long as possible). Who needs to “worry” about money while you are young? And doesn’t it just teach you to be greedy and cheap? There might be some merit to my (ex)-beliefs but my friend convinced me from her personal experience. She did not get an allowance as a kid, instead she just given money (reasonable amounts) when she needed it. That led to her not really knowing how to “manage” money to this day. She told me some stories about herself that helped me to eventually see the “light” (that’s what good friends are for).
We recently started our little one on a small allowance, much to her delight and excitement. She told everyone she met for weeks, sometimes complete strangers, that she was going to get an allowance. We turned the “allowance project” into a jam jar craft. Instead of buying a piggy bank, we converted used jam jars into three mini piggy banks. We talked about “spending, saving and giving”. We discussed some basic math. We talked about generosity and frugality. Many good things came from this enterprise, including a lesson in recycling and reusing jam jars. (there is often a “foodie” angle to our projects 🙂 ) We decorated each one with markers and stickers over an entire afternoon.
Today is my daughter’s lesson in generosity – she is taking her grandpa out for a hot chocolate with her “own money”. It’s their little tradition, a walk by the pond and then a hot chocolate that Nanu usually buys for her. Today, (hopefully) she will pay for it….