Author Topic: Ways for a young kid to "earn" a big gift?  (Read 741 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Ways for a young kid to "earn" a big gift?
« on: February 25, 2024, 10:45:27 AM »
Long and short, little brother got a really cool gift for his birthday.  Big brother now wants one.  I challenged him to come up with some ways he could earn it, rather than me just outright buying it for him.  I'm asking him to contribute $100 of his savings, and then I'll cover the rest ($175ish).  I'm giving him a few days to think about it and then tell me what he's come up with.  In the meantime, any ideas beyond just general household chores for ways he can work hard to earn this? 


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Ways for a young kid to "earn" a big gift?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2024, 10:50:31 AM »
How old is he?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Ways for a young kid to "earn" a big gift?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2024, 02:34:21 PM »
To encourage savings, the "bank of Dad" pays interest on savings at a rate of 10% a month.  This is not all money in possession,  but money put into a special "save" bank, only to be touched at the beginning of the next month, after interest calculation.

DS tends to have high seasonal variability in his cash; he has a March birthday, which is within sighting distance at Christmas.  But broke by the end of summer.  He did manage to save for his own Nintendo Switch, and is quite proud of that fact more than a year later.  I would say he is a decent saver, but when Pokťmon or Squishmallow fever strikes his class, money burns a hole in his pocket.

We have experimented a couple ways with allowance, but stepped back from a "pay for job" model.  He actually thanked us for that, at the time.  I think he felt pressure to do everything, while we were trying to give him a menu of choices.  He asked that when we try again, we add chores one at a time.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Ways for a young kid to "earn" a big gift?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2024, 04:04:18 PM »
We went with "socialism lite": everyone in the house pitches in to do basic chores, and there's a certain amount of profit-sharing (generally based on age) AKA allowance. We tried not to link them too hard.

To answer your main question, other chores were on option as needed for additional cash: washing and detailing one or more cars, non-standard yard-work, the kids did a fair bit of shoveling snow for neighbors (we ensured that they did a good job!), and there were random chores sometimes available like washing out the trash cans, scrubbing the grill (the going rate for that one is pretty high: I think the HS students that were trying to make a business out of it were in the $50 - $100 zone), etc.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Ways for a young kid to "earn" a big gift?
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2024, 09:10:54 AM »
Why would you just buy it for him?  Or do you mean waiting until his birthday and getting it for him then? 

We always had extra chores available the kids could do to earn money for something.  Not basic things that they were already expected to do, but things like yanking weeds or washing the car or whatever.  Obviously you would need to adjust the jobs to the kid's age/abilities.  But the opportunities are relatively endless.  What things do you have to do that annoy you that you'd love to outsource?  Mowing the lawn, weeding, laundry, grocery shopping, making dinner, cleaning parts of the house they aren't normally responsible for, etc.  Believe me, once my DD was old enough to get her license, I happily paid her $20 to do the grocery shopping!

Also, success could depend on your kid; my DS would jump on any opportunity to make money, even though he almost never spends it, while my DD would refuse any chore she wasn't interested in and then whine about being broke.  ;-)  But it's natural consequences -- you provide the opportunities to earn the money, and he can do them and earn money for the thing he wants, or he can decide he doesn't actually want it enough to put in the work.  Either way it's his choice and not your problem. 


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Ways for a young kid to "earn" a big gift?
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2024, 05:49:21 PM »
I remember when I was around 8-9 I really wanted a bike that was like $220. The bike store let me put it on layaway, but if I didnít have it paid off in 6 months, Iíd lose all the money I put down. We lived a mile from a bank so I put on my church clothes and rode my old bike to the bank to speak with the loan officer (Amy). Fortunately, we lived in a small town so I found out many years later that my parents called to tell them I was coming. Amy sat me down in her fancy office and we talked about loans and how they worked and how I would pay it back. Ultimately I learned that they didnít give loans to people under 18.

I saved and saved and mowed lawns and raked leaves and shoveled snow. At the end of the 6 months, it still wasnít paid off. My parents paid it off but I couldnít ride it until I finished paying them back. Iíll never forget riding it in circles in the garage every time they would leave lol.

I have countless other stories like that from my childhood and lessons I learned about working hard to get what I want. The biggest lesson was as I finished my tech schooling and the wonderful loving note I received from my parents, along with an itemized receipt of all my loan debts and money I owed them for expenses they paid while I was in college. I still have the note and receipt.

Iím not the smartest or most successful, but Iíve had a career in much of the 1%-.1% income for my age bracket for many years with just an associates degree, and I credit that work ethic  to those types of lessons.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Ways for a young kid to "earn" a big gift?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2024, 09:09:05 PM »
I think my kid was around six when he coveted a Lego set his big cousin had. I told him he had to do the familyís laundry every other day for a month. He had to collect, put it in the washer, and hang it all up outside to dry by himself. He did it. And now he can never use the excuse that he doesnít know how to do laundry. I am surprised at how easy it was for him. He really wanted that Lego set. Still have to ask him ten times to do anything like brush his teeth or sweep the floor but for one month I felt like I was winning at parenting.