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How to Run Dave Ramsey’s Chore System {for kids}

February 18, 2011

I am forever in pursuit of teaching my kids skills that will make them successful adults. This is a CHALLENGING task, and one that I’m continuously re-evaluating.
Our newest attempt at this involves a “commission” system that teaches the kids the connection between work and money. Dave Ramsey is a leading guru on how to handle finances, and has a personal testimony that underscores his teaching. This is Ramsey’s teaching tool for kids.
The main premises of the program are as follows:
1. Teaching your kids how to handle money is not the school’s responsibility, it is your responsibility.
2. Pay commissions not allowance; if you work you get paid; if you do not work, you do not get paid.
3. Kids learn from their successes as well as failures, so give them opportunities to succeed and fail with their money while you are there to teach them.
Here are the nuts & bolts of this system:
*Decide ahead of time how much each child will make on commission. We decided by age and abilities.
*Decide what night of the week you will dole out commissions.
*Designate 3 envelopes for each child, 1.Spending 2. Giving or Tithing 3. Saving. Help each child divide up their money into the various envelopes and be sure to discuss each one. ie. what are you saving for? Create goals. Is there something at church you’d like to give your money to this week? My daughter sponsors her own Compassion International Child, so her tithe money goes to supporting her sponser child in Central America.
*There is a place for the kids to mark off when they have done their chores, and there is also a place for parents to list “fines,” make sure these are done daily. The kids are usually pretty motivated to keep up with this because work = $.
Our kids are really enjoying having the responsibility of handling money, and it is so fulfilling to see them make good, and sometimes even sacrificial, choices. One night my middle son came up to me in tears holding out all of his commission money. I had been in a “fender bender” in the grocery store parking lot that week and Hudson wanted to help pay for it. How precious that he thought his small earnings would help fix my car. I took the offering and hugged him tight, telling him how proud I was that he was choosing to help the family. He took pride in giving what he had earned, and he also learned an important lesson in selfless living — both such valuable lessons.
There are many “systems” out there for teaching kids about money, but for $19.95, I think this one is a great bang for your buck!
When my kids were younger, I didn’t want to give them actual money, but still wanted them to be rewarded for their hard work throughout the week. We chose to do “Mom Moneys” and “Dad Dollars.”
We would hand one of these out each day after chores to each child. On our family night, we would hold a “Chore Store” where they could redeem their dollars for various rewards.
They could spend their money that night (ie. $5 Dad Dollars for staying up late with Dad), or save up for bigger rewards (ie. $20 Mom Moneys may “buy” a movie at a theatre with mom).
We had fun with this system for a lot of years and the kids loved it.
**On a side note. We do not reward our kids for everything they do. There is work, pretty much daily, they have to do just because they are a part of the family. The reward systems, however, have value, add organization to the day’s work, and makes work fun!
How do you run chores in your family?
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  1. Amber says:

    I love your chore system ideas! I am trying to figure out what will motivate a couple of my 5 kids to care and be desire to help around the house. Easier for some. I just bought some fake money that I plan on using like your earlier method. I love the Chore Store idea! I am totally going to do that now. Im curious what chores you do and do not pay them for? Thanks!-Amber

    • Krista says:

      Hi Amber! Just seeing this. We don’t pay for basic chores like: doing dishes, picking up room, self-care, or daily usuals like picking up, putting away shoes, backpacks, etc. That said, if you are using a system that is trying to promote rewards for good habits, you may want to reward kids for remembering to do those. When our kids were younger we rewarded them more for basics to try to help them learn to do them naturally. Now that they are older we don’t have to do that (though at times I think we need to go back to that – ha!) I hope that helps. Let me know how it’s going 🙂

  2. Marty says:

    My kids are 8 and 6. Do I reward them for basic chores like doing homework, dishes, making bed, tidying up etc?

    • Krista says:

      Hi Marty! I would reward them with “mom money” or “dad dollars.” We did this when our kids were those ages and it worked GREAT. They can redeem them for special privileges or treats (ie. staying up late, getting an ice cream cone with Dad, going on a bike ride to the park, etc.). Let me know how it goes 🙂

  3. Tanya Thomas says:

    I LOVE the Mom Money’s and Dad Dollars idea, but often struggle coming up with enough rewards. Can you give more ideas of rewards (that didn’t require us to spend money).

    • Krista says:

      Hi Tanya! Glad to here you like the idea – Here are a few “rewards” off the top of my head: staying up late, making cookies, reading a favorite story out loud, you pick dinner night, you pick family activity night, queen or king for a day, no chores day, do a favorite craft, more “technology” time, pick a local activity (lake, picnic, park, playground, etc.), make a homemade slip and slide, dinner by candlelight and only eat with hands, breakfast extravaganza (think waffles with whip cream and berry sauce). Hope that helps and gets your wheels turning :).


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