Tuesday, July 7, 2009


image courtesy of jenn-jenn

A while back we started giving the girls an allowance. I went back and forth about this for a while because they are pretty young, but they often get money from relatives or, in Cheyenne's case, the tooth fairy, so I decided it was time to teach them how to use it.

There are so many valuable, complex lessons for kids to learn from allowance. Saving, giving and delayed gratification, to name a few. I have strong feelings about money and this is one of those areas where I'm tempted to micromanage. It takes a lot for me to pull back and let them take their lumps and learn their lessons.

Well, it turns out the girls are natural savers. When we instituted allowance, both of the girls picked a toy they wanted to save for. Cheyenne wanted an Ariel doll she can play with in the pool and Isabella wanted a smaller, less expensive fairy mermaid doll to play with in the pool.

We discussed that the Ariel doll is bigger and more expensive, in part because it is a Disney character, and that at $1 a week Isabella would be able to afford her doll sooner than Cheyenne would be able to afford hers. Ever since, whenever we go somewhere and the girls want a cookie or an ice cream or a dollar bin toy I remind them that if they spend their money on what they want now, they'll have to wait longer for their toy. Shockingly, they have decided every single time that they wanted their pool toy more than they wanted to indulge their latest whim.

This weekend the day came for Isabella to get her pool toy. We went to Target, picked it out, brought it to the counter and she proudly gave the cashier the money. She had accomplished her goal. Cheyenne was a little upset at first. We looked at the Ariel doll and I explained that if she wanted something now she could get something cheaper, but she'd have to wait for Ariel. In the end, she decided to wait.

I'm very proud of the girls. I think this allowance thing has been good practice for them.


  1. I've been thinking about starting an allowance for Emily, and after reading your post I'm going to give it a try. My parents started giving me an allowance when I was very young too. It's great to learn the lessons of money at such a young age. Great idea!

  2. I was talking to my mom (who's degrees are in child development) this evening about my decision to start the girls out with allowance at a young age and she said she thought that was good. Money is such an abstract concept at this age, so it's easier to save it for something concrete and establishes that as a habit early. I'm sure Emily will be a thrifty girl. She's got an excellent example in her mom!

  3. I'm really not sure how she'll be with money, but I hope she's a saver! About the only things she knows about money is that gas costs "a gazillion dollars", and that if something is expensive it means "you can't touch it". LOL I think today may have been the first time she linked using a credit card to money, but that's probably because I hardly ever use mine. Did you link the girls' allowance to chores?

  4. I see great things ahead for two little girls who "get it" at such a young age! Now if I could only instill this attitude in Mr. T...I fear he'll have to take his lumps a few times before he "gets" saving.

  5. How old are your girls? They are doing really well! Great job!

  6. Valerie, I don't link the allowance to chores. When I was a kid my parents did it that way and I used it as a way to wriggle out of chores. I figured if I didn't take the money I wasn't obligated to help. I think it works for some people, but my kids are too much like me.

    Green Girl, I'm sure he'll get it eventually. My sister was the exact opposite of me with money and it only took a couple of years out in the real world for her to become a saver.

    Brittainy, they are 4 and 5. Thanks for the compliment! I am proud of them.

  7. I'm hesitant to link the allowance to chores as well. I feel like the kids have the responsibility to get their chores done, period.