Tag Archives: budgets

By popular demand: Answers to some of your allowance program questions

11 Sep

5aEarlier this week I used my Monday Musings post to share some details about our new system for managing the kids’ allowance each week.

I’ve had some questions and I thought it’d be best to answer them here, since if one person is asking, most likely other people have the same questions and just haven’t asked yet.

The first question I got appeared as a comment and I answered as a reply to the comment, but I’m going to put the question and answer here as well.

  1. Q: Are all of the chores worth the same amount of money or are harder jobs paid more?
    A.: I purposely made all of our chores worth the same amount of money. My goal first and foremost was to make sure that this was easy for me to manage, and keeping everything to one dollar per job was easiest for me. I didn’t want to do less than a dollar and have to deal with change, but I also didn’t want to have to remember which jobs paid which amount. Everything, across the board, is worth one dollar. Additionally, I only make so much money per month on average, and my checks pay for more than just the kids’ allowance each month. I had to keep our payouts affordable so that it didn’t interfere with the other things I needed to pay out each month. If I started to make jobs worth $2.00 for example, that’s now times three kids every month. Instead of filling those higher paying job pockets with three dollars each time, I’d now be putting in six dollars per job each time. At the end of the month, the kids would be making more money than me.
  2. Q: Do all three kids do all the same jobs?
    A: Yes. Again, to keep it simple to manage and to also keep it equitable, everyone’s jobs are exactly the same all week and all three kids each have one chance per month or per filling of the pockets to get to do any of the extra jobs. Once they’ve taken their turn, they put their clip on the pocket and someone else does that job later in the month. This allows everyone to share in all of the responsibilities all month long.
  3. Q: Why monthly?
    A: I get paid once per month, and therefore that’s when I set up the allowances for the following month. However, the kids get paid by the week. It’s just laid out a month in advance.
  4. Q: Can you give us a list of the jobs for each section?
    A: I can, but I hesitated to do so initially, only because everyone’s household runs differently and everyone’s needs are different-both as parents and as kids and what they need to learn or what they need help with remembering to do, which for us is a big part of why we do allowance. For example, many people insist that their kids make their own breakfasts or lunches each day. However, at our house, because of our tiny kitchen, our morning shower schedule and routine, and our nightly schedules, that would make me crazy. Therefore, that’s a Challenge job at our house and each kid can choose to do it for one week out of the month. It gives me a little break in the mornings, yet doesn’t overcrowd my already space-challenged kitchen, and doesn’t interfere with any other carefully choreographed schedules in the morning or at night. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I know my kids will know how to make their lunches and breakfasts, and how to pack a healthy lunch for themselves. That’s my goal. That and keeping whatever is left of my sanity.

    That said, here is the list of what I chose for our chores. It addresses things we need/want them to do to help out, things we need/want them to learn and know how to do when they leave our house as young adults, and things that some one of them might struggle with remembering to do. It also rewards them for some of the things that may come easy to one of them that they always did without being told, but that the others might not have done regularly or easily.

    3a“HELP WANTED!” CHORES: These are the six weekly chores and these pockets are to be emptied and refilled every week, so each child has the potential to earn $6.00 per week minimum.
    1) Feed the dog on your designated nights of the week.
    2) Clear your place at the table after meals.
    3) Organize your school supplies after school and at night before bed for the next day.
    4) Put away your folded laundry.
    5) Do your bathroom jobs by 4pm on Saturday evening.
    6) Make your bed every day.
    FYI: I did tell them that if after 4pm on Saturday night they see one of the other kids’ bathroom jobs not done, they are welcome to do it and take the dollar. They’ve had the whole week to get it done, and I’d much rather have a clean bathroom than not. I also rotate the bathroom jobs every year so no one is stuck on toilets for five years in a row. Each child has two jobs in the bathroom per week–sink/counter tops washed, mirrors washed, toilet cleaned, floor dry and wet mopped, laundry emptied and trash emptied.)

    “#FREEMONEY$” CHORES: These pockets are filled monthly and everyone has one chance per month to do them, assuming the opportunity exists (Example: snow shoveling opportunities don’t happen every month, but when they do, they are plentiful. Additionally, I’m flexible and I’d let all three work together to do the snow, the leaves and the car washing, for example, if they wanted to.)
    1) Dishes washed (we don’t have a functioning dishwasher)
    2) Help rake the leaves
    3) Windows washed
    4) Wash a car
    5) Help shovel snow
    6) Wash the kitchen floor
    7) Vacuum the floor
    8) Dust the furniture
    9) Help fold the laundry
    10) Help out in the kitchen with meal preparations

    “@CHALLENGES” CHORES:¬†Everyone has one chance per month to do these chores also.
    1) Make your own breakfast for a week
    2) Make your own lunch for a week
    3) Clean up the playroom/office–a “big cleaning”
    4) Extra pocket for any extra jobs

    Hopefully this will be helpful to everyone who was looking for a starting point for their own allowance and chore systems. There are lots of “chore chart” resources out there that list chores by age-appropriateness which might also prove helpful to you as well. Remember to be flexible. There may be bumps in the road or changes that need to be made, just as with any new system.

End of Year Couponing Update for 2012

3 Jan
Hot off the press!

Hot off the press!

As many of you remember, I accepted a challenge from my college roommate, Karen, last January and tried my hand at couponing. I began at the end of January, right around the 28th of the month, or thereabouts.

My first couponing trip was to CVS and with that one trip, I was hooked on saving money!

This week marks the start of the new year, a whole new year of saving money. To celebrate, I am sharing with you some photos of a local magazine article in which I was one of the couponers featured. This magazine, Prime Time, is the January issue and it’s put out by the same company that puts out the two newspapers I work for, Beacon Communications. I was so excited when they asked if they could feature me for the story. Also featured is my friend Pam, who has been so helpful in teaching me her couponing strategies along the way.

Clip, clip, clip...

Clip, clip, clip…

I thought that with the feature story coming out today, it’d be a great day to share with you some of my couponing savings totals for the 2012 year.

Remember, all of the items I purchased were from places I already shopped, for things I already buy. I did not add any other stops to my already busy schedule and I did not start purchasing things I don’t need, like baby wipes for example, when I don’t have a baby, just to use the coupons.

Ready?

CVS: I saved $1604.36 at CVS this year. At CVS I utilized their own store coupons, stacked with manufacturer’s coupons, along with sales and their Extra Bucks Rewards to make the very most of every penny I spent there. I also made sure to enroll in their Beauty Club and just yesterday, their brand new prescription program, both of which earn you additional Extra Bucks for purchasing things you already were buying.

TARGET: I saved about $90 this year just by using my Target Red Card, which is not a credit card since we do not use credit cards, but rather a debit card. This does not count all of my savings from manufacturer’s coupons or Target store coupons, which I stack in order to make the most of my savings. With the Target Red Card you save an additional 5% off your total purchase after coupons. Caroline recently used our Red Card herself when purchasing an item that was over $200. She had saved up for months and used her Christmas money and a Target gift card for the rest, and saved herself quite a bit of money out of pocket by using the Red Card.

STOP AND SHOP: I only recently started popping into Stop and Shop¬† due to our new dietary needs, for things that my other grocery stores don’t have. Therefore, I only have one month’s worth of savings on my last receipt there, but I have saved $62 in that one month alone, according my last 2012 receipt.

I have also saved with coupons at Walmart, Staples, AC Moore and Michael’s. I’ve saved online using Groupon, Living Social and other group buying deals, throughout the year. I accumulated over $200 in rebate money through the year, which I used to start off my Christmas shopping early this summer.

My kids and my husband have also picked up some great couponing skills. They all scan the CVS card when we enter the store, as many times as it will let us, and they can spot a good coupon right away. We recently went to CVS to get some Zyrtec. I had a $4 manufacturer’s coupon and when we walked in, a $5 store coupon off that very product came out of the machine. Elizabeth came running down the allergy aisle holding it up. She knew we would now save $9 off a product we used to pay full price for.

Of course, being my competitive self, my goal for the new couponing year is to beat the 2012 totals for the next year in order to save my family even more money!

Time to get clipping!