Author Topic: Paying Kids For Work Around The House  (Read 4508 times)

swimming_naked

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« on: November 17, 2014, 09:23:39 AM »
So my 10 year old just shoveled the entire driveway himself.  This is no small feat, since he is small for his age and we just had about six inches of wet and heavy snow.  It took him about four hours of steady hard work.  I debated on whether or not to pay him since wife and I expect our kids to do some work around the house for themselves.  I ended up giving him ten bucks.  Here's what I told him when I gave it to him...

Your mom and I expect you to clean up after yourself, occasionally make your own meals, and complete all your homework independently.  However, it was our decision to buy this ridiculously large and opulent home on a large lot with a long driveway.  We don't expect you to pay for our silly decisions.  We could just as easily raise you and your sister in an apartment, condo, or much smaller house on a much smaller lot, with a much smaller driveway.  Because, it was our decision to buy this house, I am paying you $10 for shoveling the driveway.  It's very possible that you will make better decisions than us.  You may well choose to buy a more modest house without sacrificing a bit of the lifestyle we all enjoy.  He took the 10 bucks and ran back outside to dig a tunnel through the snow at the edge of the driveway.

Hopefully, if he actually listened to anything I said, he'll someday lead a sensible and enjoyable life within his means and with as little total bullshit as possible.  In this case, I think paying him for working to maintain a house my wife and I bought makes sense.  After all, he may indeed make better decisions than us and decide to enjoy the same lifestyle but with less ancillary opulence.  In this case, the payment was a chance to pass on a little dose of mustachianism.

larmando

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
  • Location: Germany
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2014, 09:41:20 AM »
+1: no to paying kids for normal duties, yes to paying them for extra work that's not of their doing. So I believe you did the right thing.

julez916

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2014, 10:10:38 AM »
I like this a lot. It also inspired me to share something that my mom did recently for my niece and nephew (who spend all their weekends at her house). She has started setting aside a small amount of money for them each week ($10 or so) that they receive for being a part of the family. At the same time, she made a list of things that she expects them to be able to do for themselves (basic chores like making the bed), and she paired them with the price she would charge them if she had to do any of these things for them. So instead of paying them to do chores that should be their responsibility as part of the family, they have to pay her if they don't keep up their end of the bargain. So far, everyone is on board and the kids are taking on more responsibility around the house. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out in the long run.

TGod

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 125
  • Location: Vancouver Island
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2014, 11:14:56 AM »
julez916
Quote
they have to pay her if they don't keep up their end of the bargain

My friend did this, but started at $50/week and took something off every time he had to do one of their chores or he had to remind them. He said he generally only ended up owing them 5$/week.

I really like this idea and have been trying to think of how to implement it in my home. We have tried various forms of allowance and chore lists, and I end up feeling like I'm henpecking my kids all the time to do all the little chores we've listed for them and then forgetting to pay them :)

My 9 year old has been asking if we can start giving him allowance again, and my husband and I have been talking about what is the work that is expected of him, just for being part of the family, living in the house and eating the food, and what is above and beyond that they can earn money for. 


MDM

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9890
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2014, 12:30:59 PM »
+1: no to paying kids for normal duties, yes to paying them for extra work that's not of their doing. So I believe you did the right thing.

Pertinent to another recent thread: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/where-to-start-a-child's-roth-ira-with-very-low-income, if you are paying them for extra work then that can be counted as earned income and used to fund the child's Roth IRA.  As swimming_naked states, it's a good opportunity to "pass on a little dose of mustachianism."

There are no ironclad rules, but regarding payments that could be counted toward a Roth, it seems (agree/disagree/other examples?):
  - most "inside" work, e.g. cleaning one's room, doing dishes, light vacuuming, etc. would not form a good basis for "earned income".
  - significant "inside" work, e.g. whole house cleaning;  large meal food buying, cooking, and cleanup (i.e., "catering"); etc., could be "earned income" at rates a local service would charge
  - large "outside" jobs, e.g. snow removal and lawn work for large areas, could be "earned income" at rates a local service would charge




Dezrah

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 458
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2014, 04:42:24 PM »
Disclaimer: I do not have kids and am absolutely not qualified to give an expert opinion.

I've personally never been a fan of the whole "chores for allowance" system.  When we were young, my parents bought my siblings and me whatever reasonable items and experiences we asked for.  I say reasonable because we were told no often enough that we just kinda grew up with a honed sense of what would and would not be approved.  Money from grandparents went into nebulous "accounts" and to this day I honestly don't know whether there were actually detailed accounts in our name or not.  If we had ever been given the chance to choose between no chores or allowance, I would have chosen no chores every time.  My genuine wants were so few and far between, and my loathing of chores so severe, that I would have played with sticks my whole life if it meant getting out of chores.

Freakonomics wrote a chapter about various motivations.  They cited one example where a day care decided to start charging a fee for parents who were late to pick up their children.  Basically these parents exchanged a moral obligation to be on time (wasting the caretaker's time) for a minor financial obligation and they saw a HUGE uptick in the number of people who were late.

OP, I think your lesson is really good, just make sure he's the type to take the lesson in the right way (saving and effort are good) and not the wrong way (I'm only shoveling for the money and not for the love and appreciation toward and from my family).  He's a hard worker in any case.

galliver

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1871
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2014, 05:33:46 PM »
I like to bring this up in allowance threads because I haven't heard of anyone else doing it:

In middle school, when my sisters and I tended to get interested in having/managing money, my parents started giving us about $20/month. The catch was that this was our "emergency lunch money." We typically brought lunch from home, but if we ever ran late in the morning, or didn't have "lunch stuff" or simply felt lazy, it came out of our money. It had to last to the end of the month, but anything left over was ours to keep/spend as we wished. An early and cheap lesson on the expense of eating out! Incidentally this could be extended to other kid expenses, like clothes, school supplies, etc. as long as the amount was appropriate.

socaso

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 592
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2014, 08:02:26 PM »
I like this a lot. It also inspired me to share something that my mom did recently for my niece and nephew (who spend all their weekends at her house). She has started setting aside a small amount of money for them each week ($10 or so) that they receive for being a part of the family. At the same time, she made a list of things that she expects them to be able to do for themselves (basic chores like making the bed), and she paired them with the price she would charge them if she had to do any of these things for them. So instead of paying them to do chores that should be their responsibility as part of the family, they have to pay her if they don't keep up their end of the bargain. So far, everyone is on board and the kids are taking on more responsibility around the house. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out in the long run.
I like this but I am going to be such a hypocrite if I require them to make their beds.

julez916

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2014, 09:59:59 AM »
I like this a lot. It also inspired me to share something that my mom did recently for my niece and nephew (who spend all their weekends at her house). She has started setting aside a small amount of money for them each week ($10 or so) that they receive for being a part of the family. At the same time, she made a list of things that she expects them to be able to do for themselves (basic chores like making the bed), and she paired them with the price she would charge them if she had to do any of these things for them. So instead of paying them to do chores that should be their responsibility as part of the family, they have to pay her if they don't keep up their end of the bargain. So far, everyone is on board and the kids are taking on more responsibility around the house. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out in the long run.
I like this but I am going to be such a hypocrite if I require them to make their beds.

I totally would be, too! My mom has always been really consistent about making her bed, though, so I think it's fair on her end.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3518
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2014, 03:45:27 PM »
Whatever options you choose, I think the most important thing is that you remain consistent.  Being wishy-washy teaches kids bad lessons.

Here's what we've done, and it worked well:

- Everyone has chores.  They aren't really tied to money; rather, they are mandatory because we all work together to keep the household running.

- About the time the kids started school, we started giving them a small allowance.  The allowance was for spending on "fun items", but they were also required to purchase certain things for themselves.  For example, we started with having them buy their own school supplies -- and we always gave enough to allow them to buy the SpongeBob notebook OR the sparkly pencils, but NOT BOTH.  So they learned that they had to prioritize.  Later they received a larger allowance, but they were responsible for school lunches and toiletries.  And in high school I gave them budgets for dresses to wear to dances.  They learned well. 

- When they were young and wanted a toy or whatever, we'd often say, "Is that what you're going to ask for at Christmas?"  And if the answer was, "No, I want it now!" we'd often provide a way for them to earn the item by doing extra work around the house -- and your snow shoveling ties into that line of thinking.  Other times I'd say, "I want ___ job done.  Who'd like to do it for X amount?"  However, I never made up fake work for them.




retired?

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 665
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 12:54:51 AM »
paying him makes sense to me.  That is hard work and he did it for a while. 

One way to look at is "would you have been happy paying someone else the same amount to do it?".  If so, then why not keep it in the family and pay him. 

The "techniques" I have used is are a) if you help me finish this chore hten we can do something fun and b) I'd like your help and I'll pay you $X to do it. 

Generally speaking my kids are such money grubbers, fortunately, that they take on any role.  $$$$.

What is nice is when you can get htem to do the chore with you.  Then you get to spend time with them, show them how to do a little work and then reward them afterwards. 

Some will say "they should do chores without pay".  I agree to some extent. BUT, I would rather give them $$ and then force them to choose how to use that money than not pay them for the chores but buy their goodies.

homehandymum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 550
  • Location: New Zealand
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2014, 02:40:32 AM »
We have basic, expected chores that are not tied to money (dishes, a meal cooked per week, bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, basic laundry etc) - they're all things that are just part of living together with other people, and it's our job as parents to make sure they know how to do them.

We give an allowance each week and have an expectation/rule that they will divide it into thirds - spending, saving, giving.  If they want anything, it comes out of their spending.  Saving is long-term stuff, really and we haven't made clear expectations as to what this is for - but it goes into their own bank accounts and they watch it earn a little interest.

On top of that, there is the occasional job that we offer payment for - like the girls share the lawnmowing from time to time and get paid $5 each (we have paid a neighbour boy $10 to mow the lawn in the past). 

Or a couple of weeks ago I really needed an old fridge cleaned out before our new boarder moved in, and I just did not have it in me to do it myself (heavily pregnant, exhausted), so I introduced a 'tender' process.  I told them what the job was, what my time-line was and that I'd give the job to the lowest bidder.  They went away, thought about it and talked about it, and came back with their offers (delivered to me in private so no-one could under-cut).  Mr5 said $30, Miss7 said $14.80, and Miss10 said $12.  So the job was Miss10's.  She tends to have a bit of a problem maintaining focus, so I said that she had until 4pm the following day, and that I'd be penalizing her $0.50 per half hour that it took her beyond then.  She did a great job, and finished right on time :-)

In hind-sight, next time I'll need to remember to state that if all the bids are too high, then the job will pass in, and I'll do it myself.  Miss7 is a very strategic thinker, and I can see her organising a conspiracy to over-bid, in return for profit-sharing.

Katy Stache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Paying Kids For Work Around The House
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2014, 07:53:55 AM »
On and off, we have had a small working farm. Since we ran it as a business, my kids would receive payment for work they had done. Believe me, they worked really hard. Anyway, they were getting paid large sums of money that we really couldn't afford to pay them so we started having them buy most of their own necessities.

This led to me requiring a budget from them before I would cut their checks. I have them set up on YNAB. We have had to shut down the business but I haven't started handing out free money. They are each trying to figure out how to earn money to pay for their "needs." My 12 yo just received $150 from her grandparents for Christmas and budgeted it out to include savings and spending money at our local ski area.

Teaching them how to manage money at an early age gets them off the dole. I don't know yet what chores can possibly replace the intensity of the farm chores. But I have a hard working 12yo looking for employment.