Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Money Talk - PASS week one

I've been wanting to talk to my teens about money for some time now. When I was asked if I'd be interested in trying out the new PASS card (not a credit or debit card, but a prepaid, reloadable card geared to teenagers from American Express), I checked it out and decided that I was definitely interested in trying it with my two oldest children. I thought PASS might fit into my plan to teach my teens about managing money.

So I sat my fourteen and fifteen-year-olds down and talked to them about high finance. Okay, so maybe it wasn't high finance, but I did have a money talk with them. I told them (especially now that I'm a single mom) how important it is to stick to a budget. I explained that I didn't have money for extras and that if they want to go to the movies or have lunch off-campus with friends, then they'd need to spend their own money on those kinds of things. There's a difference between wants and needs and even little kids can learn this.

I discussed possible ways for my kids to earn their own spending money. I've personally never liked the idea of tying an allowance to chores. I've always believed that my kids should help out around the house (cleaning their rooms, setting the table, washing dishes, putting laundry away, etc.) because that's what families do. Every member of the family pitches in to make the household work. When everyone works together and does their part, things run smoothly and there's time for fun. In return, if my kids wanted to go to the movies, I'd give them cash. If they wanted something that wasn't necessary like a new cell phone case, a video game, etc., I'd usually tell them to put it on their Christmas list, but sometimes I'd go ahead and buy it for them. I didn't give them an actual allowance. Now, I'm not saying you're wrong if you do tie an allowance to chores. There are arguments for that way of thinking as well. I just never did it myself.

However, now that my two oldest children are teenagers, I want to give them a little more freedom and responsibility. I want them to have the freedom to handle their money. There are very important, life-long lessons to be learned in this. And I want them to have the freedom to spend it as they see fit. Yes, I even want them to make little mistakes and learn from them now when we're talking about $20 as opposed to when they're adults and we're talking about $2,000.

On the flip side, I'm giving them more responsibility. Although I'm not directly tying their allowance to chores, I am expecting a little more help from them in return for a monthly allowance. Since I'm a single mom of six, I'm one busy lady and asking my teens to take out the garbage, mow the lawn and babysit the little kids now and then helps me out tremendously. I don't mind paying them in return. And I want them to be responsible for saving their money and setting aside a portion for tithing.

Over the following weeks, I'll be writing more about helping my teens to develop a spending plan. I'll let you know how these PASS cards fit into my teens' money plans. Check back here on Monday for the next post. In the meantime, if you want to look into it yourself, you can go
HERE to get information about PASS from American Express.

I am working with American Express on this project. As always, I'm writing my honest accounts and opinions.


Becky said...

I have a great idea when it comes to teaching responsibility with money. It's not my own, of course. My youth pastor's wife was the daughter of a small church pastor. They didn't have much money so when their daughters were 13 and 14, they started giving them money for their essentials, and they made them responsible for it. They got like 80 bucks a month (back in the 80's tho) and it had to pay for fast food, clothes, shoes, movies, music, make up, shampoo, soap, toilet paper, kleenex, everything except their private music lessons, laundry, cleaning supplies, and food (they had chores of course, but there were other consequences than taking money away if they didn't get done, mainly loss of privileges, etc.)

I thought this was brilliant because it taught them to save for expensive things they wanted (like homecoming dress, expensive sneakers, etc.), to be resourceful if they ran out of money and needed something. They learned all the lessons that we have to learn as adults, only the consequences were on a smaller scale. Although to a 15 year old with no mascara it could seem like the end of the world!!

Anyway, they couldn't afford to send the girls to college (both got there helped by music scholarships) but they could afford to keep up this allowance, and my Youth Pastor's wife said this was a huge help to know that no matter what her work schedule was, she always knew she had at least a little coming in.

So this pass card would be great for this system, especially when one can find such great deals online, but if they only have cash it's not an option.

Mayberry Mom said...

I agree about the not tying allowance to household chores~kind of. LOL

How we do it is that the kids have certain chores they do that they do not get paid for (making beds, setting table, cleaning up own stuff, etc). We explain it the same way you did~that's what families do.

Then we have other "chores" that they get paid for. We don't "require" them to do them, however, they know if they do they get paid. For example, on Mondays they collect all the garbage cans from around the house and bring them into the kitchen for the hubs to take outside. If they do this they get $.50. If they forget and David does it for them, they just get nothing. They have a notebook where they keep track of what they have earned. Once they get $10, then we pay them.

And sometimes I have them do things like weed the rocks, which I HATE, HATE, HATE, so I'll give them $3 for that! LOL

I'm not sharing to say everyone should do it this way, it's just the way we've come up with to teach them responsibility. They earn their allowance based on how hard they want to work and they don't expect to get paid for everything.

Then comes the "tithe and savings" lesson. They don't get %10 "take home". They give $1 to the church and theys save $1. Yeah, they love that! LOL