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Nov 8, 2008

A lesson in economics

This week we instituted allowance with our kids. In exchange for increased responsibility and a higher bar for attitudes, we're paying them 50 cents for each year of their lives. That sounds like we pay them 50 cents every 365 days, but it really translates to $3.50 per week for Zachary and $2.00 per week for Tyler.

Today was the first pay day.

Tyler learns about quarters and dimes.

Never before have our boys been so willing to comply with Saturday chores! Mind you, it still took far longer than necessary to accomplish the tasks at hand, but the boys' attitudes were in the right place. This is half the battle, folks!

Finally, the moment of truth arrived. Garry pulled out our coin box and counted stacks of quarters, nickels, and dimes for Zachary and Tyler. Dollar signs replaced the pupils in their eyes and goofy grins plastered their faces. They were going to be rich!

Tyler and Zach with their money containers.

Then reality hit. Life can be expensive, even for little boys.

When we introduced the concept of allowance at Family Home Evening on Monday night, we talked about being responsible with money. We talked about giving 10% of our money to the Lord through tithing, and about saving 10% for college and missions. And we talked about the expenses of life.

Right now the boys' main expense is The Sweep Pile. Once a day (sometimes every other day), I "sweep" items belonging to the boys that ought to be put away but aren't. I keep them in a pile in the office until Saturday, when the boys are required to pay ten cents an item to get them back (they can also do this throughout the week if they need or want something sooner). Proceeds of this effort are collecting in a jar. Garry and I will have a nice date one of these days, courtesy of our lazy children!

This week's ginormous sweep piles.

So this afternoon Garry took each boy in turn and doled out his allowance. Tyler's little meeting went like this: Two dollars of allowance, minus 20 cents for tithing, minus 20 cents for saving, minus $3.00 for the sweep pile. Zach's went like this: Three-fifty for allowance, minus 35 cents for tithing, minus 35 cents for allowance, minus $2.80 for the sweep pile. Zachary broke even, but Tyler had a deficit he'll have to work off later. Maybe next week they'll work a little harder and have something to show for a week's labor!
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