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Yesterday’s Dollar Tree shopping trip (and a lesson in finances for the girls)

We’ve been using Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior with Kathrynne and Kaitlynn to teach them the value of money and stewardship. In addition to their daily required (unpaid) chores, we also have a list of extra paid chores they can choose to do if they’d like. We want our children to learn that there are chores you do as part of being an asset to our family and there are extra chores you can choose to do and get paid for.

While this is not exactly how it works in real-life, we thought it would be a great way to help them learn the value of work and money on a small scale. So far, they are pretty excited about it — most of the time, at least! 🙂 — and it’s working out well. Plus, it’s providing lots of great opportunities to teach life lessons when it comes to work ethic, why we save, why we want to be givers and so much more.

Last week they had their first “Pay Day” and they were quite thrilled! At this point, we’re letting them choose how they want to spend the money in their “spend” category. So we went to Dollar Tree yesterday and they got to spend their own hard-earned money on a few items of their choosing.

It’s exciting to watch as they begin to grasp the basic concepts of giving, saving and spending.

Please note: We don’t profess to know much about this child-raising thing; we’re just learning as we go. I share this with you as an example of what we’re doing in our home, not setting it up as something you should emulate in your home. Do what works best for your family and your children!

While at Dollar Tree, I also picked up some more Nature’s Own Bread for just $1 per loaf. (Nevermind the fact that one bag is half eaten. We love Cinnamon Swirl bread around here! Yum!)

How are you teaching your children about giving, saving and spending? I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions.

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  • Robbfamily7 says:

    The Dave Ramsey system is great! And this is exactly how we impliment it in our home. My kids are 14-7, with one on the way. They love having spending cash, and I love having a clean house and many helpers. Although, now that they are bigger, they expect a little more cash for their efforts. Of course the jobs are bigger too, but still. The quarter days were much easier on the wallet.

  • Amy Krause says:

    do all dollar trees sell that bread or just certain regions? I guess I haven’t gone into one for quite awhile now. I would if I knew they sold that bread there! anyone know (I live in WI, if that helps)

  • Kellie says:

    I was wondering where they sale the bread here is what i found…It is not in my area 🙁

  • stephanie says:

    BOys: 7 & 10, both have daily unpaid chores as well that are just their responsibility. We use to give an allowance, but found that we had to battle with them more to get chores done, so the allowance stopped. Now they get “paid” for additional chores as well. I totally agree with chores. It teaches them self & family responsibility, participate, being a member of a group, etc. They do have savings jars & they have to save half of the money in their bank. Every month or so we count out their money & they need to put half of that into savings. They then have a certain amount of money they can spend. Sometimes they choose to save towards a larger item, sometimes they choose to spend it right away. This has taught them to be selective in their spending & get the most for their money. We do the same on vacations or trips. We give them x amount of money (depending on vacation size), they add a portion of their money & then they are not constantly begging for things when we go to gift shops, etc. Of course as they learn they make mistakes & discover something was a bad choice, but that is all part of the process.

  • Denise says:

    Your girls are adorable and looking at their faces as they get excited about their purchases warms my heart! We have two in college, one in high school and started with them much the same way you did with your girls. Our two in college work all summer to make their spending money for the year, while my husband and I GAG over the tuition we pay! They know how much it takes to get them through their year and really try hard not to have to ask for more from us…they KNOW how much their tuition is and value their education.
    Enjoy the Dollar Tree with your girls…college won’t be any Dollar Tree trip!!

    • Krysten says:

      Wow! I worked all summer to pay for college tuition! My parents only paid about 1/4 of my tuition during my Jr. and Sr. years when I’d run out of the money that I saved before college. (I couldn’t make quite enough in the summer to cover all of the tuition and room/board.) I could make it through a semester on $50-$100 of spending money (not including books), which included splurges like snacks for my room and an occasional meal out.

      I know that I got more out of college than most of my friends whose parents paid their way because I worked for it myself, and I sure wasn’t about to let all of my money go to waste!

      Not trying to judge or be critical in any way because I know lots of wonderful people who pay their kids’ college bills – it just amazes me that a college student could work all summer for just spending money and “try not” to ask for more!

  • Melissa says:

    I just wrote about this too.

    I have not seen DR’s Jr. version, sounds great. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks for all the comments and information! Crystal which type of chores do you have the girls do “paid” and “unpaid”? We have our girls do chores and they are paid for some of them but looking for more ideas!

    The money that our girls earn is separated into four categories – *Charity (Church)

    When we give them their money the first 10% is put into a piggy bank to goes towards their Church Sunday School offering. The remaining money they split however they want to between Giving, Saving, and Spending (and many times they will put extra into charity/church as well). They make the decision on their own how much they want to save for later, give to others, spend however they want to, and give extra to church. It has been neat seeing them growing and maturing over the past few months even.

    I have been considering getting Dave Ramsey’s Jr series for about a month now. Trying to save a little extra to purchase it. How is it?

  • Crown Financial has a giving bank with 3 compartments that we’ve found to be helpful with our children.

  • We use the envelope system with our kids too, we have a 3 & 6 year old but we also have a 16 year old. The new Dave ramsey board game ” Act your Wage” is such a great tool for reaching the teens, they get the concept while playing the game, and your not having to try to force this “cash concept” through just words.

  • Heather says:

    Hope my boys don’t read this 😉 All the chores in our house are “unpaid” – even the extra things like raking, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, helping to put down the mulch. We tried the allowance system and found out we had better results without paying them?? My boys are now 16, 14, and 11. My 11 year old still thinks money grows on trees. The older two are fairly smart about it.

    • gayatri says:

      Even we don’t pay them money to do their chores That’s works perfectly for us. I don’t treat my kids as workers WE are a Family. We rake leaves as a family, we shovel as a family, we do everything as a family. The money Dad earns is for the family. We talk about the money to them about Mortgage, expenses, vacations everything. We use coupons where ever possible. My kids know that. Both my kids are in Gifted and Talented programs. The other day my son saw the grocery bill of a person in front of us paid $100+, my son said that’s lot of money, he is wasting his money :)))

      Keep up the good work and whatever works for your family.

      • Heather says:

        Yep – we do it as a family – I think that is why it finally worked. The “allowance” was more individual and they weren’t very interested in doing it. Now they see that as a family, we all pick up after ourselves, we all clear and help to set the table, everyone takes turns taking out the trash…….
        That’s funny about your son’s comment on the grocery bill. I could totally see my youngest saying something like that.

      • Mindy says:

        I agree

      • Susan says:

        I hope you’re not encouraging your children to be judgmental of others. I occasionally spend $100 at once. Not every week, but on occasion. If a child in line behind me made a comment about my purchase, I’d hope the parent would take the opportunity to teach that child to have better manners. I would, if the situation was reversed and my child were to say something like that.

  • Michelle says:

    I didn’t realize that Dollar Tree had the Nature’s Own Bread. We don’t have one very close to us, but when I go near there the next time I will have to check it out. I loved that the Dollar Tree when we lived in NY carried Utz Potato chips, they are my hubby’s favorite and they are not cheap chips.

  • Lynn says:

    Flowers has several outlet stores too, usually at the distribution centers though they do have free standing stores …..and bread is .69 cent and up. I know b/c I managed one! * after a holiday you get dinner rolls to throw in the freezer for as low as .10 cent a pack.

  • Missy says:

    Your girls are gorgeous! I love the ideas of some chores for the family and some extras for pay. My parents always had some extra chores I could do to earn money for a new outfit, camp or cheerleading shoes!

  • Kim says:

    Your girls are simply gorgeous. 🙂 This is so encouraging. Some years ago, I implemented a system – to use your words, if Imay- “to teach the value of money and stewardship” to our children as well. Admittedly, at times I’ve grown weary of following through with it on a consistent basis. Just in recent weeks, I’ve felt a tug to continue to go forward. And now I’ve come across this post. So timely. Again – this is so encouraging. Thanks.

    This is off the topic, but your mention of homeschooling the girls peeked my interest. Do you mind sharing what curriculum you use? I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Abeka curriculum. Do you find that you have to be “creative” when trying to keep the attention of your younger daughter?

  • Jolanthe says:

    We follow a similar system ~ some chores unpaid and some are paid. I wrote a post about our kids expected chores, etc…. as well as shared some printables to go along that we’re using:

    I made a preschool version for our 4 year old because it was much easier for him to follow:

    Every family is different, so don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t click with your family! Each of our kids has a different thing that ‘clicks’ with them, so we adapt it as needed!

  • marissa says:

    I noticed that someone was asking for amazon codes on here. If anyone has anymore codes that they don’t need I could REALLY use them as well. GOD BLESS marissa_rostad@hotmail(dot)com

  • Jennifer says:

    I really am so sad that you have to put that disclaimer on the end of so many posts. I know why, it’s just still a little sad to me.

  • Savannah says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post and all the comments! You guys have some awesome ideas! I don’t have children yet, but look forward to implementing some of these learning tools when I do! What a wealth of information 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    I do something similar with my children. I understand what you all are saying about not paying because you want them to understand that this is just the expectation that they are supposed to help but we also want our children to learn how to handle their own money, save up for what they want etc…

    This first came about when my daughter wanted an American Girl doll. There was no way we were ever going to buy her a doll that expensive so we told her she would have to earn the money. She worked for a year to earn that $100 and it was such a great experience to get to take her to Chicago, to go see the store and to pick out her doll. She has since saved enough to buy two more dolls and is close to having another. There is no way we would have bought those for her.

    The litmus test I use to determine whether a chore gets paid or not is is it an “above and beyond” kind of thing? In other words, our kids all have things they are expected to do every day just because it is part of taking care of our home and family. These are things like making their beds, picking up after themselves, clearing the table, putting their laundry away and in general helping whenever I ask with a cheerful attitude.

    I pay for those chores which are harder that involve caring for the whole family-such as washing dishes, mopping floors, scooping poop (because really, who wants to do that?) and babysitting. Also, my kids don’t get paid if they don’t do their chores without complaining or if they don’t do a good job at it-they can be fired, just like a real job. If the problem is their training, I will work with them until they get it right, but if the problem is laziness then they just don’t get paid.

    I will also give extra if they do something really well, if they willingly help out a sibling with something or if they just generally are choosing to be a blessing. I want them to be recognized and rewarded for their hard work-just like they hopefully will be someday in the workforce. I emphasize taking pride in doing a good job and working hard, just because it’s the right thing to do.

    However, these paid chores are not optional-just like going to work and providing for the family is not optional for my husband.

    Another resource we use to help us keep track of it all is One of the hardest parts for me was keeping track of what they had done and how much they had earned and then remembering to get the money to give to them. On this site they keep track of it themselves. They each have separate log-ins and charts that show what they are supposed to do for the day. The parent sets it up in advance and assigns point values to each chore. The points can stand for $ or for reward points that they can cash in for things like late bedtimes, pizza night or whatever you choose. I check it every so often and when they accrue several dollars I pay them or they can choose to use the point for a more tangible reward.

    As far as $, we do 10% to our church, 50% into savings and 40% spending. They can choose to use their spending anyway they want-towards more giving, for gifts at birthday/Christmas time or for a friend or for something they want that we don’t want to buy them. I also have noticed that those things they work and save for, they take better care of-another added bonus!

    • Janet says:

      I love the above and beyond thing for the chores in fact this is what gave me the idea for having this system years ago. I came home one day of summer after a very hard day of work and my kids new that I was struggling and hurting at the time. The 10 year old girl had done all the laundry for the home and folded it and put it away. The boy had clean out the fridg and cleaned the oven the entire kitchen and bath and dust and vac. the house! HOW great is that !

      The next week I started extra chore list for pay !
      IT helped us all !

  • Katy says:

    It does work!!! We have been doing the same spending/saving method with our kids for 10 years. One of my only consistent parenting approaches. When my 14yo daughter had her first outside job last summer she automatically(without my prompting) split it up into the three categories. Saving now for her first car next year!

  • Anne-Marie says:

    I, too, love your idea of mandatory and paid/optional chores and will be implementing that within my family. To add to the discussion: since they were 11 and 15, we have put our children completely in charge of their own clothing budgets. Each child gets $60 / month for that purpose, on top of their age-appropriate weekly allowances. We pay for their necessary toiletries (deodorant, hair care, etc.) and for everything that is required by their schools and their extracurricular activities (i.e., baseball cleats, dance costumes, school project supplies from Hobby Lobby, field trip fees/snacks, etc.). The default arrangement is that they pay for everything else (everyday and holiday clothing, mascara for my daughter, fancy body washes, etc.) The arrangement has not only taught them about money, but, even better, it’s also put a near-stop to them constantly asking for money and extra things on shopping trips.

  • Ashley says:

    It’s good to read a review of Financial Peace, Jr. I have been thinking about getting it as we are Dave Ramsey graduates, but I didn’t know if it would be worth it or not. My kids, the oldest being 8 even though he is familiar with our principals of saving, giving and spending, he has not internalized it with the money he earns. I’ll have to give this a second look, thanks!

  • My parents (who were Financial Peace instructors) recently picked up the Financial Peace Jr. package for my son who is 3 1/2. We haven’t started the whole thing yet, but he loves for me to read him the jr. books at bedtime and listen to the CD’s in the car. I am thrilled with the program so far. And I am sure it will get better as I have more kids and they get a little older.

  • Janet says:

    Not sure if anyone ever wanted to take all of this money thing even to one more level.
    Which could teach Biz skills.

    Let’s say a child has a clean biz at age 12 for a few neighbors who are aging.
    IF they show up with own cleaning supplies then they have Out of Pocket cost and we could teach how expense accounts work and how folks get reimbursed for some expenses in life.

    Just a thought.

  • Michelle says:

    Along with seeing you at the Dave Ramsey event in KC, I was also able to pick up the Financial Peace Junior kit and caboodle in that nice little tote that came with it and added another Junior kit only to it. I have already read 1 of the books because my 6 year old was more about having a book read to him (one of his favorite things ever) than learning about money. I think because up until now, he got money, he went to Wal-Mart. I still have yet to read through the little booklet to figure out how it all works, but your post inspired me to get with it. I will say he loved the banks and so far has on his own put all his pennies in the save bank – lol. Not sure he knows what that means, but it’s a done deal!! LOL – Can’t wait to get started with the 6, 10 and 12 year old. 15 year old got the Teen edition this past Christmas and has very much inspired him. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • This is great. We led the Dave Ramsey class this past fall into the winter. We have our 10 and 8 year old already saving for a car. They have 4 envelopes because one says CAR FUND.

    We had a ton and I do mean a ton of debt and we are so close to it being gone. The budget helped but cutting up those credit cards helped the more. The debit card is a gift from God and I praise Him that we can finally see light at the end of debt tunnel.

  • Anne says:

    We just started giving DS (age 7) an allowance on his past birthday. Its primary purpose is to allow him to decide what he wants for toys, i.e. does he want a lot of small things, or to save up for larger, more expensive toys. Usually he will save up, but every now and then he’ll get a small thing that really catches his attention. An unexpected benefit is that it gives him incentive to learn to count money (he has trouble with the concept that some “counters” ((i.e coins and bills)) are worth more than others).

    It’s not tied to chores at all. He has some basic chores, but is also expected to help with “specials” like snow shoveling and leaf raking, none of which are paid.

    So far, he hasn’t asked to earn extra money (he still gets $ presents on occasion, especially from his Grandmother). If he did, we’d probably ask for something really extraordinary like washing the car.

  • That’s how we do it too. You must contribute to the family with chores such as clean your room, take recycle to the bin and set the table. Then we have paid chores such as empty the waste baskets. It works well for us

  • Kelly says:

    Am I the only one that has a hard time getting my children to participate in chores? Like most of you, I expect a ‘minimum’ level of participation just for being part of the family – things like picking up their dirty clothes, keeping the bathroom neat, bringing dishes to the sink, not leaving shoes or socks in every room of the house, etc. My DDs (7.5 and 5) act like they’re in a prison camp when I ask them to pick up! They willingly help with chores IF it’s their idea and something they deem ‘fun’ (watering plants, windows, mopping). I do pay $.25 for any chores that are done *without* being asked. BUT, getting them to help with the every day basic stuff is a battle. Unfortunately, my husband is not a good role model in this regard either. Anyway, it’s a constant source of strife in our home and I’ve tried lots of things but it’s not getting better. How are so many of you getting your kids to be compliant and not give you a hard time?

  • claire says:

    I was givev this idea a few weeks ago but have not done it yet. We have 5 boys and 1 daughter and it would do them some good to get paid for extra chores.

    Great find at Dollar Tree! My mom and I have been finding some amazng deals there lately. We got a 3,5 oz package of Fetta for a buck! and Super pretzle bites(a big bag) for a buck! We love it!

  • Becky says:

    DD1.5 and DS3.5 both pitch in. They have to put away their toys, put their dirty laundry in their baskets and both race to help load the washer/dryer. DS also scrapes any scraps from his dinner plate and puts his plate, cup and utensils in the sink. He’s teaching his sister to do the same. DS asked me to buy him a small shovel so he can help me clear the driveway. At this point, they’re enthusiastic to help, and I hope it lasts for at least a little while.

  • Lorie says:

    We started doing this a couple of years ago with our son but, for whatever reason, got out of the habit. He does a decent job of helping when I ask but I’d like to come up with a regular list of chores he needs to do each day. My question is: what chores do you have the girls do because they’re a part of your household and this is what you do to help mom out (to paraphrase how Dave Ramsey says it) and what extra chores can they do to earn money? Thanks!

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