When it comes to having 5 little people, keeping things clean + organized can be a challenge. For Joe + I, we wanted chores to be more than just pitching in to keep the house clean. We wanted it to be a way to teach our little people more about responsibility at the same time. So when my friend Merrick recommended I check out the idea of a “family economy” from Ralphie over at Simply on Purpose, my mind was blown! It was almost exactly what we were looking for for our family. We’ve made a few tweaks and customizations to fit our needs, but so far have loved how it works! Since it is working so well for us, I thought I’d share it with you today in case it can benefit you too!
WHAT IT IS…
Our Family Economy is basically a deeper focus on your every day chore chart. It takes your typical work + get an allowance, and teaches the deeper meaning of working to save, learning how to budget, and understanding what things actually cost.
For me, the number one purpose was to help + encourage me to be more of a yes mom. Constantly nagging my little people to clean and pitch in was getting old. We wanted them to grow up knowing that getting the things you want takes hard work + effort and it isn’t just a free handout. The family economy has been a great way to explain these simple things + encourage them to set and achieve goals.
HOW IT WORKS…
The first thing we did was customize these chore charts from Simply on Purpose. Our little people each have jobs/chores they do every day to earn money. For us these daily things include things like making your bed, doing your homework/reading, hanging up your backpack + washing your hands after school, reading scriptures + saying prayers. As you can see, for the most part these are more things they would do already. For the bigger Saturday chores, we have taught them that pitching in is part of living in the house.
As they do their chores, they have to get their charts signed off. If the job isn’t signed off, they don’t get paid. Based on their age, they have a weekly allowance amount. If they complete all of their chores, they get the full amount. If there is a day they don’t feel like doing their chores, that is fine. For that day, they will not be paid. We have had a few days like that, but they quickly realize they’d rather do it and earn more money.
This is where things change from what most people know as chores + allowance. Instead of paying our little people in cash, they each have a checkbook ledger. At the end of the week, we look over their charts and figure out how much they have earned. We write that amount on their check ledger. When we are out at the store and they see a toy they want to buy, or a treat they’ve gotta have, we pull out their ledger. If they choose to get it, we just subtract that amount from their total. I love not having cash floating around the house, or the excuse of “losing it”.
Now don’t get me wrong, we haven’t fully turned into buy everything yourself mode. We still have family date nights for treats and things. But if we are just running errands and they feel like a bonus treat, they know its up to them if they want to spend their money on it. It has been amazing to see them be able to process if things are really worth their money .
Saving is also a big part of the family economy concept that we haven’t completely visited yet. My little people are still young and in the spend spend spend mode, but we are going to start pushing saving soon. The idea they encourage to encourage saving money, is to agree to double whatever is in their savings when they turn 16. Having a benefit, similar to an interest rate at a bank, makes saving money more appealing.
As I mentioned, we’ve only been implementing our family economy for about 6 months now, but are already loving the changes we’ve seen in our little people taking on more responsibility. I’m sure we will learn what else we need to customize or tweak, so I’ll share how we feel about it again a few months down the road!
photos : aubrey taiese