Monday, March 14, 2011

Chore Champs

Bradley and I started the new year of 2011 with a goal.  We wanted to begin to eliminate our debt and become better stewards of what God has blessed us with.  After a fabulous suggestion from our dear friend Kristy, we read the book "Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey.  We became very motivated to make some changes in our lives.  We started with a budget.  This was something we had never done in the past.  We began to spend less that what we were bringing in and started to pay off some debt.  We are definitely still learning and getting better control of our personal finances.  I could write an entire other blog on just this.  During our own path, we became to realize that we never really learned the lessons that we should have on how to take care of our money.  It was not the fault of anyone but ourselves.  We are definitely intelligent enough that we should have taken the initiative to learn more about money management ourselves.  We still have a lot to learn.

Very early on in our discussions and budgets, we agreed that we needed to do something proactive to teach the boys how to be good money managers.  Of course, we couldn't begin any kind of system until we had the ball rolling with our own debt reduction.  After a couple of months, we were ready to start something.  I had given the idea of implementing a system A LOT of thought.  I read some books seeking knowledge and inspiration.  I sought out bible verses for guidance.  I was finally ready to start something.  I knew that starting anything was better than starting nothing.  Our goals for the boys were for them to learn some basic knowledge of money.  We wanted them to learn:
Money does not come without work in real life.
Some things are worth saving for.
It feels good to give your money to someone in need or the church.

I had a meeting with the boys at the table to teach them about our plan.  I explained the point system to them. They would earn "points" throughout the week that would be worth money on payday.  They could earn 5 points per day. A morning point is awarded for getting up and dressed on the first request, eating breakfast, and getting backpack ready and out the door. A school point is awarded for good grades, no problems with behavior, and doing homework without being asked.  Two chore points are awarded for completing two chores per day. A "round-up" point is awarded at the end of the day after we "round-up" all of the things that were left out during the day, such as shoes, cups, toys, etc.  The boys are also given the opportunity to earn bonus points for doing more difficult jobs.  The bonus points are optional, the regular chores are not.  I was not prepared for the reaction I got from the boys.  They were so excited to get busy earning their points.  they were already looking forward to payday.

To help manage the payday system, we bought this tiny drawer system that is just big enough for their "time-card", pencil, and the chore sticks.  Each child keeps up with their own points by marking it on their timecard.  They must total it up and have it verified by Mom or Dad on Sunday before payday.

About 25 different chores are written on craft sticks and are inside a paper sack.  After the boys do their homework, they draw out 2 chores to complete.  They put those 2 sticks in their drawer.  They keep the completed sticks in their drawer until all the chores have been drawn out of the bag and have been completed.  This ensures that all the chores get completed within about 4 days.  With this system, my toilets, tubs, floors, windows, mirrors, counter tops, and more.....all get cleaned every 4 days.  After all the chores have been drawn out and completed, they go back in the bag to start over.  There are definitely some jobs that they enjoy doing more than others.  Carter enjoys cleaning tubs and showers, the other boys grimace when they draw those chores.  Sawyer's favorite job is to gather up all the dirty laundry.  Tucker doesn't mind cleaning the toilets.  He says it's an easy job.  I also have one stick in the bag that says "Paid Vacation Day".  That has been a fun one to have!  The day Sawyer was on crutches for having an injured knee, Carter stood next to him with his fingers laced together in front of him while Sawyer was drawing out his chore  chanting, "Please get paid vacation! Please get paid vacation!"  It just so happened that Sawyer did draw out "Paid Vacation Day" that day that he was on crutches, much to his brothers delight.

Our payday system is based on age.  The thought process behind this is that an older child will be financially responsible for more things.  

Our payday night is somewhat of an event.  We do it on Sunday night after dinner.  The boys do last minute calculations and I get out the money box that is only used for their payday.  I also award bonus "worker bee" points for the child who worked the most meticulously and pridefully throughout the week.  For the first 2 weeks, Carter has earned this award both times.

After payday, we talk about the things the boys are saving for and what they might want to spend their money on.  Tucker is currently saving everything to buy a dirt bike.  At this payday, we were discussing some events coming up at school in which the boys would have to decide to spend or not to spend their money.  We had a bookfair this week at school as well as nacho day at p.e.  Carter decided that he would probably buy the nachos for $2.50 and both the other boys decided that nachos were't worth $2.50.  They were all 3 trying to decided on some books that they might want to buy at the book fair. There was no right or wrong decision on either of these events.  It was their choice whether or not it was worth their money.

 After a couple of weeks of implementing this program, I have been dazzled by the abilities of my sons!  On the first payday night, I made a formal apology to all of them.  I told them that I never gave them enough credit for being capable of so many things.  They have completed their chores beautifully, never once complaining or doing a poor job of their work.  The house has been kept clean for over 2 weeks, which doesn't sound like much I guess to many people, but around here we are so busy that I was never able to keep it really clean for more than 2 days at a time.  We only invest about 15 minutes a day on chores and the boys complete them as soon as we get home and we still have plenty of time to play or go to ball practices.  I absolutely cannot imagine going back to the old way again.  The payday system will probably still have to be tweeked and changed, but it is working perfectly to get us started.  I am so proud of my boys and all they are learning to do and all they are becoming.  They are my little chore champs!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful idea! I think I might need to devise our own little chore plan for the twins. They will be 5 next week. Thanks for the inspiration!

Marva Hazelrig-McRae