Friday, June 24, 2011

Mind the Pennies

Part of my goal as a stay at home mom is to teach my children the value of money and hard work. Because of that goal, we do chores around the house and the children earn ten pennies for each chore. That probably doesn't seem like much but keep in mind they are 8, 5 and 3. I'm sure inflation will hit our house hard a few years down the road.

Each child has three different containers. When the children earn 10 pennies, they put 1 in a tithing container, 4 in a spending container and 5 in a savings container. Each Sunday they pull out the pennies in the tithing container and bring it to church.

The spending money they save up for different toys they want. For example, Scotty worked very hard earning a lego set. To his five-year-old brain, it took FOREVER! To a proud momma, he worked hard, volunteered to help and I believe he values the set more than if I had thrown it in the shopping cart and bought it with no effort on his part besides begging.

The savings container is what got my juices bubbling today. I have noticed their savings banks becoming heavier and heavier. I also want to take their understanding and appreciation of saving to the next level. I want them to have savings accounts and every week or two deposit the money from their savings and update a register. What a great learning tool!

I called my bank and asked how much it takes to open a youth savings account. It's $25.00. After adding up what they have in savings, we're not close. I still want them to have a bank account but it will take a while for the five pennies per chore to reach that.

Then I gazed at our penny jar. I was curious how many pennies we had in there. This is the jar that after buying something with cash we throw what's left into the jar. The children and I made lots of stacks of pennies and discovered we had over nine dollars!

Around our house, the children earn the pennies and after doing several chores they can trade in the pennies for silver; a.k.a. nickels, dimes and quarters. Since they trade in regularly (which causes them to practice counting and coin recognition -Yes!), I decided we didn't need over 900 pennies. I took out 8 dollars worth and put the rest back in the penny jar. I realized I was 8 dollars closer to the $75 total we need to open three new accounts.

I got really excited! Instead of just magically making the money appear, what if I could gather up more coins and dollars so the kiddos could see how much money it takes to get to $75.00? I became a woman on a mission. I prowled around the house finding pennies, nickels and quarters. We had coins stashed here and there -pocket change really. Once I pulled them together, we actually have quite a bit! To make a long story shorter, the children had about $15.00 in savings, I have $20.00 from the farmer's market on Wednesday and I was able to gather about $30.00 in loose change! We are only $10.00 short and that I feel I can make magically appear and not lose the point for the children.

A lesson I learned from my last job in Texas was mind the pennies and the dollars will follow. While I felt this was common sense and valuable, the true impact did not sink in until today. We held onto the pennies and they grew into dollars.

How do you mind your pennies?

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