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Monday, August 26, 2013


My experience raising children that age is so last century, but I can't imagine giving a child that age a credit or debit card. It's too abstract until they have experience handling cash.


You're probably right. I like that idea of children dealing in cash first, before dealing with the more abstract bankroll on a debit card.

We gave our kids $2 a week once they were 5, snd raised it to $5 once they were 9 or 10 (13 years ago or so). We let them decide how much of that to put in the church collection plate. My son was the most generous and would sometimes impulsively put his entire allowance in, especially when he had just heard an especially heartrending sermon or testimony (for example about the school for Indian girls our church helps fund where they literally buy the unwanted girls from their parents who would otherwise sell them to carpetmakers or into prostitution, and where our mission raises them as Christians and with an education and preparation for a trade. I don't know where THAT came from...at his age, I lusted after candy, and spent every penny on chocolate, and filched all the change I could find in the dryer to buy more....

When they were 14, the older two were expected to get parttime jobs and we stopped giving them allowance. We wouldn't let them work more than 8 hours a week so their school work wouldn't suffer, and so that they would still have time to read and relax. They never complained of poverty, and they NEVER bought $5 coffee drinks. I would occasionally take one of them out to Starbucks for a mother daughter heart to heart talk, or just a treat, but from the age of 14 they viewed all expenditures from the standpoint of "how many hours do I have to work to buy this". We bought their textbooks and most basic clothes (ie: parkas, boots, sports clothes, basic clothes. ANy fashionable or frivolous clothes they had to get with their own earnings. I would drive them to wherever they wanted to shop as we stingy ogres didn't let them learn to drive until they were 18 (we didn't want our insurance to go up, and I didn't mind driving them to and from their activities and social stuff). We found that when they were paying for stuff, they were a lot more annoyed about things being bad quality or wearing out quickly, and it made them much more careful shoppers.

Also, we gave them cheap flip phones at 14 so they could call us from nighttime sports practices for me to pick them up. I finally got the middle one an Iphone when she was a junior in college applying for jobs and needing to be in contact with two of her three termtime employers during the day. I was amused that many of the six and seven year old Sunday School kids I was then teaching had their own iPhones at that time!!! And routinely went to Starbucks for the kinds of $5 drinks you describe here....

But we live in an insanely greedy town. One way we cope is that we all cook up a storm in our house and make FAR more delicious things to eat at home, so we don't feel deprived just because we can't buy those debit card treats....

I was never so organized or methodical in raising my children. They turned out well despite me, not because of me!

There was one impromptu experiment that paid off well. After several arguments in several stores over inappropriate (actually rather sedate by today's nonstandards) clothing at exorbitant prices, I surrendered and gave my oldest cash, set her loose in the mall and told her that whatever she bought was what she was wearing to school for the next year. And not to forget unmentionables.

She ended up making the money go further than I would have and she is now the best money manager I know. The whole family hits her up for advice, though we're not always bright enough to take it.

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