How Is Math Having No Limits Used In Everyday Life My Stand Against Allowance

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My Stand Against Allowance

I have never given an allowance to my children. Mainly my own laziness prevented me from starting another accounting challenge. I also felt that with six of us in the house, each family member had to realize early on that they had to contribute to the household in one way or another. So the question is how do you teach your kids the value of money? Or for that matter, how will they learn to handle money if you don’t give it to them?

Easy: I’ve been talking to my kids about money since they were babies. When we went to a toy store or the supermarket, I would tell them how much I was willing to spend and they would have to find something they liked that matched the price. In fact, if the price of the item was lower than what I had set, they could get an additional item that would add to my price. Math 101: Check! No Tantrums – Check! However, when the items were more expensive than the limit I set, that’s when the parents’ work began. Saying no and sticking with it was hard; giving in and buying the item would have been the easy way out but lazy and counterproductive over time. Because I always set their expectations ahead of time, they weren’t surprised when they heard the word “no” and simply went looking for another option.

I’ll give you an example of how this attitude paid off years later. My oldest daughter wanted a pair of winter boots that cost $120. I don’t spend that much on boots for myself, so I certainly wasn’t going to get them for her. After seeing them, I couldn’t believe that such an ugly pair of boots could cost so much. I told him I wouldn’t buy them because the price was too high. Since I was responsible for buying winter boots for each of my kids, spending so much on one wasn’t fair to the others. If she wanted them she would have to buy them herself. You see, whenever my kids got cash gifts they could keep the money and spend it however they wanted. Since this only happens on birthdays and certain holidays, they have always saved their money carefully. I offered to give her the $30 I was thinking of spending on some nameless boots for her that she could put into her savings. The rest of the money he needed to figure out how to earn.

That winter he didn’t get the boots but the issue didn’t go away. In fact, the following fall he had an idea. She offered to host her sister’s next birthday party instead of throwing my party somewhere far from our home and paying a small fortune for an hour and a half event. She offered to host the party in our basement with her friend and I would just have to make the food and supplies for an arts and crafts project and she would organize everything. The party was a success and he made a lot of money as a result. After thinking of several more great ideas, she had enough money saved up to buy herself a few pairs of boots.

That winter my mom took her shopping and bought a pair of boots with her own money plus the $30 I promised her. He never wore them in the rain and when he got home he cleaned them and kept them carefully. He protected and loved them because he valued them. Instead, a colleague shared with me how her daughter ruined her new pair of boots and was demanding a new pair. His response was: What could I do? So he bought her a new pair. Here’s the lesson: There’s nothing wrong with setting boundaries and saying no. By sticking to my guns and putting a value on what I thought the boots should cost, my daughter had to work and use her imagination to earn extra money for something she felt was worth the effort. Using his imagination he came up with a business idea, formed the business plan, presented it to me and sold it to his sister. The planning she did in collaboration with her sister and friend required serious teamwork. Ultimately, executing the plan successfully was a real job that he did exceptionally well. The actual result of earning money and then being able to spend it on an item he valued highly was the lesson that gave him satisfaction and a great sense of accomplishment.

I truly believe that parenting is the most difficult job we are all blessed to do. Teaching our children the value of money takes work and imagination on our part. Making the process a little complicated and not as simple as saying yes to everything they want I think helps them achieve a lot more. Don’t be afraid to set limits and expectations for your children that will force them to stretch and reach higher. They will only become stronger, wiser and more creative.

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