When $100 Makes You Rich

$100 bills

$100 bills

When Bret first told me we needed to start budgeting I was, um, slightly resistant. You can read more about that here.

It probably isn’t going to happen that way with your kids. At least at first.

“$100?” I’m going to get $100 a month? That’s so cool!”

Our son leapt off the couch and started to do a sort of strange 8-year-old boy version of a fist pump.

“I can’t wait to tell my friends. Bryce gets like $3 a week! $100! I’m rich!”

“Hang on, kiddo,” Bret said. “We have to talk about a few things first.”

Once you have figured out how much money you’re going to allow your kids to manage and you sit them down to explain the new process, they’re going to be thrilled. Because at first, it seems like they are receiving free money. As you explain things to them, however, it’s entirely possible they’ll be less excited. Especially if they’re older. The conversation might go something like this:

  • $100 for an allowance doesn’t really make a kid rich
  • Your friends don’t need to know how much allowance you get. It isn’t polite to talk about money in that way.
  • You will be expected to start paying for some of your own expenses. From now on, you get to decide which clothes to buy, whether or not to take school lunch and how much money you want to give to the homeless puppies on tv.
  • Once the money is gone each month, there will be no more. You will have to wait until your next payday to get more money.

When the interest wanes, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You are beginning with the end in mind. If you don’t plan to support them forever, weaning them off of the dole should start sooner rather than later.
  • Consider your role. If you are already buying everything they want or need in life, there is going to be little incentive for them to want to begin budgeting and managing their own funds.
  • Kids love control. If they are very resistant to this new plan, make sure to emphasize the control this will give them. They will no longer have to ask you for money or to buy them the things they want. They will have the funds available to make those decisions themselves.

If you’ve ever moved from free spending to a budgeted life, you can probably understand the hesitation of your kids. Remember that good habits developed when they are young are most likely to carry over into adulthood.

Well, that’s the plan anyway! 😉

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