Hearts Knit Together #10: Money Box

Hearts Knit Together was born out of my struggle to balance my desire to create with my busy life as a working mother of four. I am challenging myself to do something creative WITH my children each week and to share that adventure with you on Mondays. I invite you to share your creativity with your children so that we might inspire each other with ideas to help "knit our hearts together" with our children.  

I am a bit obsessed with Dave Ramsey. We live a pretty frugal life but we have  A LOT of student loan debt. Dave gave me hope that we can get rid of that debt before my children are in college. We are working his plan and I am thrilled to report that we paid off $14,000 in the first 6 months. I want to teach my children good money habits. I had this debate with myself about chores and allowance. I want my children to work in the home because we all live here and need to pitch in. But also I want them to learn that you get money by working. I think we have come up with a system that works for us. Each child is required to clean their room, unload dishwasher, practice their musical instrument, and do a parent chore each day. A parent chore is simply one chore that we assign them, depending on what needs to be done that day. We all do that because we live in this house together. After their list is done they can have free time and/or 20 minutes of computer time. An extra parent chore could earn them 10 more minutes on the computer or money. 30 minutes computer time is max but they can do as many parent chores as they want. We have a list of chores and amounts each ones earns you. Dave calls it commission. They are learning that money comes from working. My co-worker told me that it is such a middle class mentality. But I guess I am okay with that when he explained the alternative is to teach them to steal. He has interesting ideas. Anyway...

I needed a way for them to store their money and learn good money spending/saving habits. I cannot claim this craft as my own. I got the idea from my friend Carrie at This Mama Makes Stuff. But it has been so great for my girls. The money boxes are a bit of work to make but have been great once we finished them. They each have four slots cut into the top and labeled: tithing, save, spend, and share, so they can learn to do all four. 

The girls are better able to keep track of their money now. Occasionally Maeve has to pay us money so it is wonderful that she has no problem finding it! She has two behavior contracts, one for getting ready for school on time and one for practicing her violin. There are lots of positive reinforcers built into those contracts but the consequence for not following them is an extra parent chore or paying us $.50, for the violin rental or our time driving next to her as she walks to school because she wasn't ready to leave with her older sister. She thought paying us money was the easy way to go but she quickly ran low on money. Slowly she is learning.

My little boys are interested in money but are still too young. One day my littlest did a chore so I paid him a quarter. He quickly stuck it into the piano keys where I couldn't retrieve it. No more money for him!

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