For a few years now, my husband and I have made a point to teach our daughter about money management and fiscal responsibility. There are several components to this, including allowance, spend/save/give money, paying for things we break, etc. Today I want to focus on allowance and a solution that is currently working well for us.
For the past few years, we have given our daughter a weekly (more or less - more on that in a bit) allowance of $5. $2 goes in the "SAVE" jar, $2 goes in the "SPEND" jar, and $1 goes in the "GIVE" jar. She can spend her SPEND money on anything she wants (within reason), and there are certain things (like Christmas gifts) that she needs to budget and save her spend money for. Her GIVE money is for giving to others in need. We've been pretty flexible on what this looks like, but are generally trying to cultivate in her an attitude of "because I have been blessed with so much, I have plenty to share with others." If she wants to put money in the offering plate at church, it comes from her give money. If she wants to buy items to fill an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, it comes from her give money. If she wants to put money in the Salvation Army bucket, it comes from her give money. Her SAVE money is for unforeseen expenses, and saving up for big items. She currently says she's saving up for college and honestly, she's got a decent amount put away. It'll at least get her a semester's worth of books at this point, though we're certainly not holding her to waiting until college to spend it on books. She has broken a few things and needed to replace them, and that replacement has come out of her save money. Mostly, we want her to get into the habit of setting money aside to give to others and to save in case of emergencies. We also want her to have the freedom and experience of learning about discretionary spending.
Here's where we get into trouble... my husband and I often forget to give her the weekly $5. Sometimes we remember. More often than not, we find ourselves trying to calculate how many weeks it has been since the last time we remembered to do allowance. And often, we remember after she's gone to bed, so we are the ones dividing the funds between the jars instead of having her do it. Also, we have expressed that the $5 isn't automatic every week, but is dependent on her following through in doing the things we ask her to do throughout the week. Unfortunately, we didn't have a good way to track that, we just hoped she routinely complied with a good attitude so we never had to deal with the consequences of crossing that invisible line and revoking allowance for the week. We didn't have a plan... until recently, that is.
Enter: The Daily 5 punchcard.
Here's what I love about it:
1) Every week our daughter gets a punch card. It is HER RESPONSIBILITY to complete each of the 5 tasks each day, and bring the punchcard to me to punch when she has finished the tasks for the day. It doesn't require extra work on my part to remember. If she wants her allowance, she has to remember.
2) If she gets all 5 tasks done for the day, she gets a punch. If she gets 5 punches, she gets $5 at the end of the week. The parameters for earning her weekly allowance are very clear.
3) At the end of the week, it's HER RESPONSIBILITY to bring me the card with 5 punches and trade it in for $5, which she divides between the jars. Again, if she wants her allowance, she has to remember. She also gets a new punchcard when she turns in the old one.
The tasks can be switched up as needed, but she generally does the same tasks during the school year. These cards don't include the tasks she does over the weekend to get ready for the next week. On the weekends, she does laundry, picks out her clothes for the week and hangs them together in the closet, picks up her room (if she has time and/or I have the energy to keep her on task. We're still working on that one), and fills out her planner for school.
Because your tasks are bound to be different than our tasks, I've made a blank version for you to write in your own daily 5. Just right click and save to your computer, then print whatever size you need. I personally print 9 to a page and trim them to business card size. That seems to be the perfect size for us! If you want a PDF of 9, click the link below the picture. Enjoy!
Click HERE for a pdf