Financial Peace, Peace Baby

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During the crazy busy week of the wedding, I suddenly remembered we had a whole box of Dave Ramsey materials in the closet. Days before, Darin and I had discussed chores and allowance for the kids, so this was quite the timely find. We were not exactly in agreement regarding allowance, so I opened the Financial Peace Junior materials, educated myself and we discussed it further.

I’m a bit of an organization and office supply geek at times and I was really, really wowed by the kits. Each Financial Peace Jr. includes:

    • Commission Worksheet (Dry-Erase Board) – Keep a record of all of the jobs your child has done and how much money he or she earned each week.
    • Saving to Buy with Cash (Dry-Erase Board) –Your child can choose one item to buy with cash, and when he or she has saved enough to reach the goal they can purchase the item.
    • Envelope System (Save, Spend, Give) – Placed the money earned each week in the envelopes so your child knows exactly where his or her money is.
    • Clip and Carry Coin Case – Helps your child keep track of his or her spending money and helps you to monitor your child’s spending.
    • Instruction Manual – A guide for effectively using the kit to teach your children.
    • Instructional Audio Cassette – Provides additional instructions for you and your child.

And you know where I’m going with this, right? Yep, we started it.

A couple of weeks ago, we sat in bed after breakfast and went over the program to develop our plan of action. We talked about tasks and commissions and came up with a plan, which we later presented to our little brood. And it was pretty well-received, I have to say. They all liked the idea of earning money, so that was a great start.

Jaiden (7 on Saturday!) and Jaylen (5.5) are asked to: help with laundry (bringing it down to wash, help sort, help fold & put away), feed/water the dog, walk dog morning and evening, help cook, help with dishes, put their plates up after dinner, clean up their play area and Jaiden, because she is older, has to help sweep the floors. They switch off with the feeding/watering the dog, morning or evening dog walking and cooking and dishes. We do not pay them to make their beds or practice good hygiene.

The younger girls, who are 3 and 3.5, must fold their pajamas, fold their small blankets (they like to sleep with baby blankets), help sort laundry, put their plates up after dinner, clean up play area and put their shoes and dirty clothes in their proper places.

Each chore was assigned a commission value – ranging from a nickel (putting plates or shoes up) to a dollar (helping with laundry). They can not earn more dollars than they have years. This program also has fines; the children can lose either a nickel or 15 cents depending on the offense, which is predetermined and listed on their board. All of the kids have interrupting listed, because we have a big problem with it. Other offenses include talking back, tantrums, repetitive questions (Like, “Daddy, where are we going?” 15 times in a row!), whining, biting/hitting, staying on task, etc.

We have reused little votive cups from the wedding for their commissions, which we have been paying with pocket change. Every day they see the amount in their container increase, which is instant gratification and motivation.

My mother-in-law gifted us with the entire Dave Ramsey set, including Financial Peace Jr. and three add-ons. The kids really enjoy seeing it all add up. The system has envelopes for spending, saving and giving; we let the kids choose to which charity/organization they would like to donate (Jaiden chose church/school and Jaylen chose an animal rescue).

As I’ve said, it’s only been two weeks, but we’re doing well with it so far. It’s a win-win situation because, in addition to their goal of earning money to buy something special, Darin and I get help around the house. Last week was a lot less stressful than normal because we had help. And through this we see skills emerge – Jaiden loves cooking with me, Jaylen is wonderful at wiping down the table and chairs and loading the dishwasher, Emma is great at sorting clothes and putting her shoes away and Jenna likes folding her pajamas and blankets (just make sure you catch her in a good mood, she has been grumpy in the mornings lately).

I’m eager to see how this will work for us long-term.

I was sharing our success with my in-laws over the weekend and my mother-in-law said, “Yeah, how’s it working for you?” Well, um … see, we haven’t started it for US yet, but the kids? Yeah, they love it! lol. (We will though, soon!)

All of Dave Ramsey’s products can be purchased on his web site, www.daveramsey.com.