So cute to be passing the boys’ room and to see the 7-yr old very purposefully counting the money in his jar. (I’m not sure, but I think I even saw him lick his lips.) He wanted to know exactly how many dollars remained. Hot cash waiting to be claimed at the end of the month.

I’ve had a couple of questions about how we were helping them manage the lump of cash. Well, as with the idea itself (thanks again, Lauren), the answer is from another friend. They have set up custodial accounts for all their children at their bank. With this FREE account, each child gets an ATM card, so they can check balances, deposit and withdraw their treasure. The greatest part??… I can manage it all on-line. This way I don’t have to go to the bank each month and get ALL those $1 bills (its a boat load in this house!). I basically go on-line and transfer the designated jar amount into their accounts. Then I can recycle the bills for next month.

This also brings up another empowering lesson: Money Management. Since they have very little appreciation for the passing of time, it has taken lots of convincing for them to realize the very quickly they will be begging for a car (we already know some of our brood have more expensive tastes than others… uh-huh!). Then comes the lecture:

“It’s not just the purchase, you will have to pay for insurance and gas.”
“What’s insurance? And why would I have to pay for gas??!!”
“Welcome to the real world.”
“What if I’m doing an errand for you, do I still have to pay for gas?”

I fight the desire to spew back all the things I endlessly do for them that they don’t pay for and that I don’t get paid for. Let it go, Kay. Let it go…

Okay, so in the money management area (well, probably in most areas) I’m winging it. Jon & haven’t set in stone the role they will play in paying for big items like a car. But I’m sure its something. So for now, I’m employing one of those mother-tactics … when you don’t know what’s going on, fake it. Plus, even though I’m faking it, I’m certain they need to grasp the idea of saving their money. The bank accounts have been incredibly helpful for this. Out of site, out of mind. Very good for the instant-gratification impulses.

At the end of the day, here’s what we’re doing. 10% off the top for tythe. They actually support an African child through World Vision, works well with some of the money they are getting. 40% saving for future big purchases. They don’t have any ongoing expenses at this point, so I think it could even be a bigger number, then the rest they keep in their drawer for their own spending (Slurpees, I Heart Yogurt, whatever). At a certain point, they take the excess and deposit it also. Good thing they have cash on hand, though. I’ve been known to “borrow” a little here and there when I myself haven’t made it to the bank and the pizza guy is waiting at the front door. (I try round up when I pay back.)

This is the blind leading the blind over here. I’m sure there are much better ways to do this… and would LOVE to know what has worked for your families. How do you motivate saving vs. spending? At what age do you get your child a checking account? … a credit card? This is one topic we will have a guest blogger – Teen/Tween Money Management. I don’t know about y’all, but I could use the insight.

But for now, the bank accounts have really helped us! My kids love it. More than anything, it has made them stop and think before they spend. The satisfaction they feel as they make a deposit and click on “balance” has kept their impromptu purchasing at bay.

dollar jars
Just so you know, you’re never too old to start… here’s a photo my folks sent me. I’m not sure who is checking whom on the bed making and clutter control, but they sure are cute! Dad prefers putting a dollar in the jar (reward) as opposed to taking a dollar out (consequence). I let my kids choose. 3 of the 4 prefer the consequence… interesting.

Feel free to share your ideas on money management in the “Comment” section below. As always, thanks for walking the road with me!

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