Friday, July 22, 2011

Pay or Play?

Thanks to those of you who voted for Dress Me for Date Night. It's between 2 and 3 for me right now, we'll have to see how I feel. It was fun for me to see the comments, though! Thanks for playing!

Growing up, we had varying rules about allowance and chores. During the summer when we stayed at a guest house in Cape Cod, we got a quarter to make our beds every day. This quarter was then happily spent on getting a total (sugar) high at the local penny candy store.

Sometimes we got $5 a week to do our assigned chores, and then later in life we basically had to do what the parents told us in return for money to go out and access to the car. So there was no set allowance. As I was a total loser in high school and didn't do more than go to a movie on occasion, I feel I was a pretty cheap date as far as allowances went.

But I made up for it by going to a rather expensive college.
Scott and I have loosely talked about what we're going to do for allowances when Wee 'Burb is big enough for these things. My thought was about $10 a week or so with the understanding that $1 of it goes to the church each week, sort of an early lesson in saving and giving to good causes.

Then I read this on the Wall Street Journal:

A rising proportion of parents are adopting the pay-for-work view, based on a new survey. A surprising 71% of parents will pay their kids for doing chores this summer, according to a June 2011 survey of 2,004 consumers. And they’re going beyond pocket change, paying an average $25 a month just for doing laundry, says the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. No comparable data from previous Tracker surveys is available.

I don't think $25 a month is astronomical on its face, although I do think it is for doing one chore. Growing up I standardly unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned the bathroom, and vacuumed upstairs. I also, as I mentioned, was at the whim of my parents to do additional chores as needed.

Other friends growing up had chore wheels, chore jars, or other ways in which the chores were rotated.

And yet others were never paid for chores. But some were paid for grades, which I found odd. Why, I wonder, do I think paying for chores teaches responsibility and time management, but paying for grades is somehow grandiose? Aren't we paid for performance often at work?

Still others never had to do chores. Their parents felt they were children and should enjoy childhood. Incidentally, these were the kids at college who looked at the washing machine like it was the sphynx.

I feel like it's about expectations, and also about money management and I am just not sure the best way to instill those values. Also, given that Wee 'Burb is only 20 months, who's to say the rules won't change? On $5 a week I could at least go to a movie. Nowadays $5 won't get you in the door!

I'm curious, how did you handle this in your house growing up? How do you do it now, or plan to do it in the future? Do you and your significant other have different views on this issue?


Sparkling said...

Pay the $25 a month- it's cheaper than $10 per week!

I'm dying to know where you stayed when you went to Cape Cod. Like I need the nitty gritty. I'm familiar with the place.

Mads said...

I can't imagine getting that much money for one chore! We did everything from laundry to garbage to dishes to dusting, etc.
We got money from time to time for really excellent grades or doing all the chores without getting reminded.
My parents went with the philosophy that the kids should already be behaving awesomely, so they should really only be rewarded with $$$ for going above and beyond.
I turned out fine. :) ...I swear...

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

I was the kid that never had to do chores. And now I wish I was made to. I think each member of the family should contribute--w/o being paid. We're all part of the same household and should all pitch in. We will give Donut an allowance though to teach her about money and budgeting.

Aleta said...

For a while we were paid for doing our chores, then it was "responsibility" not a payment. Instead, we were told to go into the real world and find out about taxes. Lol.

I think 10 a week is a good amount, but as well as 1 dollar towards the church, take out another dollar for taxes (and put it in a savings account for you child) or something of that nature.

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

I got money for grades! But when we were growing up, grades were hands down the most important things we were doing. That was our "job". I honestly didn't have an "allowance" but I do think it's important. We'll give Luke allowance for sure, and have set chores for him.

Shell said...

Hmmm, I haven't even thought about it yet, but now you've got me thinking!

kathryn said...

Loved this post! Especially 'cause we summered at The Cape and I remember that penny candy store!!

We did the chores...and I believe we rec'd some measly compensation for it. At least, I think we did. It couldn't have been very much, as I don't remember it.

I know of many people who'd rather pay their kids than some cleaning woman. I've got a hankering for penny candy.

Anonymous said...

I had a token allowance, but my chore list was extensive, and up to my parents discretion. That said, I was given money for extracurricular expenses, as needed. My allowance was really pocket change.

We tell our boys that chores are a necessary way of life, and everyone in the family helps because it is for the good of all. We do give our boys a "commission" for their above & beyond work around the house, taking initiative, helping with a major home project, etc.

Kat said...

Mom and Dad just gave us cash when we needed it and we did things when they asked us to because...we did.

I guess we didn't think to rebel?

Plus, I think they liked being able to distribute money on the weekends because then they knew we were taking $20 to the movies instead of $100 and NOT going to the movies...hahaha.

Long story short, I'm sure that someday in the distant, distant future, Marcus and I will do the same thing.

Mama Spaghetti said...

Wow...I hadn't even thought about this, but I'm glad you brought it up. I'm not sure what we'll do.

I LOVE the idea of teaching your kids about giving back though, by encouraging them to give to church.