Budget - on the mini scale.
Helping kids keep track of their own money.
When my son turned 13 my husband and I sat down with him and said that he will need to start paying for his phone bill if he wanted to be able to call his friends. He had been able to use our wifi for a couple of years on an old phone we had given him. He was out of the house more often now so we thought that he would gain more understanding of the responsibility involved in having a plan. All of his friends had their own devices that they didn't have to pay for so we were prepared for serious debate. The bill was $20 per month and he would have to find a way of making the money outside of the home. He surprised us by saying that he thought that would be easy... until he had to go out of the house and actually ask people.
Setting money goals.
My son now knew that he would have to make $40/month. Now you are probably thinking that the phone bill is only $20, why would he need $40. Let me explain, and if I confuse you at all I am happy to answer any questions that you might have. My email is email@example.com
I read a book when I was younger and it said that you should always pay yourself something before you pay your bills. It also said that you had put something into his savings account and give to something outside yourself, like a charity. So earning $40 he could give himself $10.00 put $8 (20%) in to savings, $2.00 (5%) to a charity of his choice (in his case it is telethon) and $20 went to pay his phone bill.
Choosing a charity is something that I think is incredibly important. I wanted to ensure he knew about people in other circumstances. He has the ability to help them by giving them a little money. Every little bit helps. He chose Telethon because he wanted to save it all up and give it in one lump sum at the end of the year. He still put it all aside with every pay seeing it grow and talks about how it will help.
To find the work that he needed he went out and asked friends of the family what he would be able to do for them to help them out. He trialled a number of jobs finding out the things that he was willing to do for little jobs and others that weren't his strong suit. He was washing cars, babysitting, garden work and window washing. After asking around for odd jobs and posting on the local buy and sell page he was approached by the local hairdresser for regular window washing. This was a boon for him, knowing that he would have something to do every fortnight and the babysitting work has become semi regular.
We talked about what he would like to buy with the money that he had the potential to earn. Setting financial goals as targets to work towards. How much he would have to make with the parameters that we had set for him. He really wanted to make sure that he could get the accessories for his Switch (Christmas Present) and some extra games. His First Target was to to earn $150 in his savings by the end of the year. It seemed that he would have to earn less that $19/week. A small amount to earn in theory.
We then said that we would be able to keep a record on the computer so he would be able to see at the end of the year all that he had earned and where it had gone. It didn't matter if he spent it all on lollies or movies or anything he liked, it was all his. This would just give him a chance to see where all the money was going at the end of the day; after paying his phone bill.
We even went so far as writing down the monthly summaries. This is all about building good habits that will help him in the future. If it is something that he knows how to do now, then when he starts to work full time he will be able to keep a track of all his expenses. He will always have money available to spend on the things that he wants. He will have the confidence and understanding by knowing his position.
We have been trialling this system since the start of the year and it is quite hands on. The maintenance of it isn't hard, if you do it all the time. We make sure that he checks it at least once a week and we help him if he needs it. We are going to continue until the end of the year and see what we need to do to tweak the system, learning every step of the way.
After continuing the regular window washing at the hairdresser for nearly six months he has built the confidence to approach another business for another window washing job. He explained that he had been window washing for a while and would like to know if he could do their windows. They shook on the deal and started his third small job. There are other businesses that he can approach but he needs to step up himself if he would like the work.
Teaching your kids to keep a track of their earning can be as easy or hard as you would like it to be. We use a spreadsheet on excel but are looking at switching to google docs that he would be able to access anywhere. It is all a learning process.
Set Goals - make sure that you communicate with your child what they are aiming towards.
Think about others - Talk about different people that are in your community, how sometimes a little bit of help can go a long way.
Have fun Money - Make sure that some of the money that your child earns is just to have in his bank to spend when they wants. Ensure they understand that when it is gone you have to earn more.
Save - Put some money aside for a rainy day.
If he sticks to his book keeping on a regular basis without being reminded then we will reward him with a blue chip. We don't take any away at this stage because he is becoming a young adult and is learning as he goes.