Stuck at Home with the Kids? Keep Them Busy and Help Them Save
Over the past weeks, many parents have been home wondering how they will cover the bills and how they can keep their kids engaged. COVID-19 has brought us all into circumstances we never knew could exist. We are home working, teaching, cleaning, and cooking as a family, all day, every day. Though I don’t have any secrets to help you become a millionaire, I can help with getting the kids to do their chores and understand what to do with the money they earn doing them.
Get your kids excited about saving!
Below, you’ll find two ways of teaching the same money-saving skills. One is more technology-based for kids and parents who are more tech-friendly. However, I know many of you are trying to restrict your kids’ screen time, so I’ve provided the second, craft-based option, which accomplishes the same objective.
Option One: An online chore tracker for your techy kid
BusyKid is a chore app you can download on any Android or Apple device. There is no subscription fee, but you do have to create an account. This app has many benefits; your kids get to choose the chores they want on their own, see their money grow, and learn how to save and donate it. It creates excitement and gives them a good reason to “work.”
How do you get started?
- First you will need to download the app.
- Once downloaded, you will make an account for yourself. This is a super simple process and the app will walk you through each step.
- It then asks you to verify your account by inputting a code, which they provide for you.
- Once this is complete, you will create a profile for each child.
- Then (I find this very neat), you will create a personalized code. This can be child-specific or one for everyone. This code will allow each child to access their unique or group profile, giving them privacy and authority over the account. (You get the code too. Don’t worry.)
Once you start creating their profiles, you can create the chores. There are some preset chores for you to choose from or you can create your own. This is where it gets a bit complicated and questions start to arise. I’ve provided guidelines below (and you can click here to skip ahead).
Each week, your kids get a “payday” (i.e., the money you have agreed to pay them for the chores is transferred from your account to theirs). They can then choose how much of their pay goes to saving, spending, and/or giving. If they don’t like how their money has been distributed, they can transfer money between accounts. It’s like a credit union or bank account they control. I find the only downside is you cannot choose to give them cash. The app only works with your financial institution. Their paycheck is deposited either onto a cash card in their name or into their savings or checking account. (Click here to skip the craft-based option.)
Option Two: A craft-based option to reduce screen time
If you’d prefer to keep your kid offline for the afternoon, here’s another option. This idea will allow your child to organize his or her savings in the same way as the app, but without the electronic funds. For this option, you will have to use cash. Using the same thought process as above, you will construct three jars to hold your child’s earnings.
This project can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour, depending on how fancy you want to get.
- Three jars, with lids, for each child
- Stickers (optional)
- Pipe cleaners (optional)
- Pom poms (optional)
- Glue (optional)
- Set up a nice craft area for you and your crafters.
- Have each child decide what they want to save for—maybe a bike, guitar, or trip somewhere.
- Help them decide what percentage of their earnings they will give/donate (ten percent is a common amount). Once they choose their “give” percentage, work with them to choose what they will save.
- Whatever is left over from their earnings goes into their spend jar.
- Now it’s time to let them decorate. They can decorate it to represent what they are saving or just make it look pretty, personalized, and fun.
- While they are decorating, you will cut a hole in the top of each lid. It should be big enough for a quarter or a rolled-up dollar bill to fit through.
- As the kids decorate, they should label each jar—label one “spend,” one “save,” and one “give.”
- Once the jars are complete, place them where everyone can see so the kids can show off their hard work.
Once you have the jars made, it’s time to determine which chores to compensate them for (see below) and display the chores where they can see them. There are so many different ways to do this. Simply write them on a piece of paper with how much they are worth and use a magnet to hang them on the fridge. Or you can make them fancy and crafty; here are 20 options you can check out.
Chores and Payment
We all try to teach our children responsibility and accountability, so we cannot pay them for everything, right? I broke down the chores into sections and put some 0$ chores in there to remind them to do the chores and to give them the satisfaction of checking things off.
Everyday (Unpaid) Chores – 0$
Pick up around the house
Brush your teeth
Make your bed
Set and clear the table
Put away laundry
Clean the bedroom
Feed the animals
Paid Chores: $.25—$1.00
Wash the dishes
Assist in the kitchen
Do the laundry (flip loads, sort colors, fold towels)
Take out the garbage
Paid Chores (extra): $.75—$2.25
Pick up dog poop
Clean the car
What chores are appropriate for each age?
How do I advise them on how much to save and invest?
The rule of thumb for giving is 10% at a minimum, 20-30% for saving, and the rest can be spent.
How much do I pay them?
Payment should vary by age. By age, the average allowance for kids breaks down differently. Here's a quick comparison of weekly allowance ranges for kids aged 4 to 14, according to RoosterMoney:
- Age 4—$3.76
- Age 5—$4.21
- Age 6—$5.24
- Age 7—$6.69
- Age 8—$7.27
- Age 9—$7.79
- Age 10—$8.10
- Age 11—$9.40
- Age 12—$9.85
- Age 13—$10.79
- Age 14—$12.26
There is a lot going on in the world. Kids are experiencing just as much uncertainty as we are. Helping to create routine and giving them something to work towards will help them and you stay motivated and get the housework done!
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of VSECU.
About Leah Jones
Hi, I am Leah Jones and I am the events and project specialist at VSECU. I have a 1.5-year-old daughter who takes up all of my time. Together, we love gardening, crafting and puddle jumping. We have become "professional pintresters," meaning we DIY everything. It does not always come out great but it always makes some amazing memories. We love to share what we learn or what we find works. We hope you enjoy!