Yesterday Ben and I went to the bank and to open his very own savings account. In went the money he has earned by taking care of our neighbor’s cats while they are on vacation, lemonade stand earnings, and birthday money.
The savings account was his idea. Up until now he has kept his money in a small red lockbox in his room. And every once in a while he’ll buy a toy or a candy bar.
But recently he decided that toys and candy are a waste of his money- he didn’t like seeing the amount in his box dwindle. He’d rather have it in the bank where he wouldn’t be tempted to spend it. Great idea Ben.
In the car ride to the bank, I was bombarded by questions:
Do they keep my money separate from the other money in the bank, in a box with my name on it?
What would happen to my money if a bank robber came and robbed the bank?
Can I have a check book?
Can I have a credit card?
Will they give me $10 for keeping my money in the bank? (Where did that question come from?)
Can I put more money in the bank if I earn more?
Can I have my money back if I need it?
All in all the trip to the bank was so satisfying for me. It felt wonderful to see Ben planning for the future… making goals about how much money he wants to earn and save.
It also spurred a conversation last night of whether or not we should be paying our children an allowance in cash. We have job charts currently. The kids can earn points with the charts… to be turned in for privileges or used to earn something they really want.
But should they have money in hand? Money that can be used to learn to budget- what to spend, save and give.
The hardest part is I would have to be organized enough to have the right amount of money on hand every week– and then how much money? What is fair? What is reasonable? Should some jobs be done because they are members of our family? And just the bonus jobs earn money? What happens if they don’t make their bed one morning? How much do I deduct?
The most important thing I want to teach my children is that budgeting money is important. Saving is important. I also want to teach that spending money doesn’t make you happy…
Does anyone out there have a system of allowance they are happy with? I’d love to hear.
And if any of you are in love with the darling mushroom bank shown above- like me, it’s from one of my favorite toy stores The Magic Cabin.