Friday, July 10, 2009

MANAGING MONEY {and the Role of Chores}

Recently, our friend Catherine asked what we do to cultivate a Biblical view on spending, saving and giving with our girls. It was in regards to a post in which the girls had saved money for a year in order to purchase roller skates.

Well, we certainly don't have it all down in this area, but to follow is a quick snippet of our journey. I don't believe there is an all encompassing "right way" to decide whether to pay or not to pay your children for chores, so please do not feel that I am saying that.

Really, anything that has worked in our family has been because of the Lord. There were plenty of false starts and mistakes along the way, but He is still working. And that is good.


When our older girls were younger, they had very little money available to them. We would not pay them for chores and so the occasional Grandma or Great Grandma money received on special occasions was about it.

Our family would still set goals; working together to "save up" for a swing set or something like that, but "saving up" just meant that they knew Mommy and Daddy wouldn't be buying anything extra until we had met our goal.

In the case of the swing set I remember one of the girls asking if we could just stop buying groceries until we had enough money. She was willing to dig a little deeper than I was (smile).



Why didn't we pay them for chores? I suppose we didn't want to cultivate an attitude that they needed to be paid for their reasonable service in the home. I didn't want to ask them to empty the dishwasher and have them ask how much they would get for doing that job. We simply taught them that: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." 2 Thess. 3:10 And then we worked, and we continue to work at, cultivating "hard and cheerful" workers.

As a side note, we did instead create what we called "Blessing Bucks." We used Doorpost's "Blessing Chart" and made our own "Bucks" on the computer. Whenever we saw the girls exerting themselves in a character area from the chart we would call them aside; write their name and what they did on their Blessing Buck and have them tuck it away in a safe place.

Each Sunday night they would redeem their Blessing Bucks for prizes I had purchased. Their dad would allow them to redeem them in his store (picture Daddy at toy cash register with kid sized orange *star* sunglasses on; wheeling and dealing his Dollar Store merchandise).

In this way, we could treat them for those character traits we wanted to emphasize without dealing directly in cash and without buying them things in the store.

It was fun and worked well... until they started announcing all of their good deeds just to earn a "Buck." I think that is when we stopped that system. *Sigh* I do miss Tom in the orange sunglasses.


As the girls have grown; however, we have decided to begin paying the girls for their morning chores. Why? Well, for one thing, it is difficult to teach someone to manage money when they have no money.

The amount is very small, but it is still an amount they can tithe on, save, spend and so on.

The stipulation for receiving pay is that the chores are done well, cheerfully and by 9:00 am. And we inspect the chores.

We don't pay them for their other daily chores; just those that must be done by 9:00 am. This has not yet backfired.



Another way we are working to teach them to manage money is with vacation spending.

Tom and I decided that on our vacation last year, we would simply give the girls a flat spending allowance. We were not yet paying them to do chores and we did not want to have them asking beyond what we desired to spend. So, ahead of time, we decided what we would be willing to give them~ an amount that would cover a sweatshirt, some post cards, links for their lock charm bracelet etc. We wrote the amount in the journal and helped the girls as we went (this did not include Lydia, age 3 at the time).

Although we counseled and okayed each purchase, we let them have a little rope. Sometimes we even let them make mistakes... not every mistake, but some. In some cases this worked out well, for some it was sad to have the money run out so quickly. But in every case lessons were learned and we were able to draw on those experiences later when counseling them about the next thing.

"Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do,
as though you were working for the Lord
rather than for people."

~Colossians 3:23

Did I say that in addition to chores being done on time, they had to be done cheerfully? Really?


Everything God asks us to do, even the everyday things, go against our flesh and remind us of how very much we need Him. There is really no way to live this life according to His will apart from His work in us to "will and do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). If we are settling for anything less than hard and cheerful work we are not driving them back to their Father for help.


You may also enjoy:

May the Lord bless you as you lead little hearts home!

Two of my garden helpers. They get paid in peas and strawberries for this job. : )


  1. Oh Rebecca, I just love this photo of Lydia and Sarah by your vegetable garden! It is so sunny and happy. :) My children really enjoy the job of helping harvest our vegies too.
    Thank you for this post. It is something my husband and I have been talking about recently- the whole paying for chores debate. As yet, our little ones have no money really- a little birthday money from Grandparents tucked away! But as you have said, they need to learn to manage it at some stage. I'm thinking of waiting until they are a little older to tackle that one. :)
    Our new term begins on Monday. Would you pray for me this week? :)
    When do you start school up again?
    Blessings to you,
    Saminda. xo

  2. Great advice! I agree with your "changing systems". Mine is constantly changing, but right now I searching out a more concrete plan to set up and hopefully only "tweek" the details through the years. For chores I am reading the Accountable Kids book and I just read the Duggar book (which your views seem similar to). I have also heard wonderful things about the Manager's Of Their Chores book. Anyway, that is my share. Thanks for your share!! Great insight! I do think is important that we are constantly reevaluating ourselves and allowing changes.

  3. Hi Saminda,

    I would love to pray for you as you begin schooling this week!

    We will probably begin in early August. The children love to get started and by then I should be ready. Right now our office has an extra table in it and books everywhere as I review and plan. : )

    Thanks Shannon!

    We think the Duggars are great. A previous neighbor and friend of ours who watches TV tapes the Duggars for us here and there, but I've heard Target sells their show on DVD. It's one of the few things we might allow our family to watch someday. : )

    I love to see how they organize things, don't you? I've heard good things about the book too.

    We enjoy many of the Maxwell resources as well.

    Great suggestions!


  4. Thank you for this post.... so timely as I prayfully consider how to focus our time the rest of the summer.

    I have 3 kids - 5,3,2- and we have penny jars. When morning chores are done they receive a penny per chore, joyfully completing a task when asked or answering "yes, m'am" or using other verbal manners. I like giving them the ability to WORK towards a goal... and it takes 107 pennies to get that $Store toy :)

    I am also a Duggar fan and have their book... I was initially surprised by how they use pennies to train the kids to respond "yes m'am". So that is some of the inspiration for our pennies.

    I do struggle with the paying for chores debate... I never thought I'd be giving out pennies.... but so far they kids have responded well.... it seems to motivate them, they have been completing chores, and my 2 yr olds "thank yous" and "I'd be happy to's" are a blessing!!!

    Still working on the joyful part though :)

  5. Hi 3 for Me!

    I love the penny idea. It's so nice to find positive reinforcements, isn't it? As I struggled through the "to pay or not to pay" question I was reminded that we ourselves labor for a crown that does not perish (1 Cor. 9:25). : )

    Great thoughts. Yes, we are still working on the joyful part to.

    I was sharing with a friend on Sunday that my goal in that has been to put an arm around and point them to Scripture rather than point at them for their "failure." Keeping on the same team with the goal ahead is such a big part of the battle.

    Blessings friend,

  6. This post came at such a timely moment and ministered to my heart. I had really been begrudging the work in our home and casting blame every which way, when really, there is no need to blame when there is room to bless. The work that the Lord is having me do in my home right now is intended to bless me by humbling me, and in extension, to bless my family who benefits (from a clean house). To His Pleasure, indeed!

  7. "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11


    Blessings to you sister. : )


  8. Rebecca,
    Thank you so much for posting this in response to my question. I was so thrilled that you took the time to do this, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about what has worked for your family.

    Happy planning for your upcoming school year (although we'll miss your posts over the next few weeks!)


  9. What a great idea. The Blessing Bucks! We have this chart and I have always gone back and forth on how to reward them.
    Hope all is well!