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My kids were complaining recently that they want chances to earn money. We’ve never done allowance before and they’re just below the baby-sitting age, so money-making opportunities have been pretty sparse. I mean, even though they’ve got mad lemonade-stand skills, they’re still not rollin’ in dough.
My brain started hatching a plot when I got an advertisement in the mail about a local cleaning service. It was tempting. I went on their website to get an estimate and when you include the lawn mowing service I would want too … paying for these things really adds up.
- Housekeeping: $185 every 2 weeks, so at least $370/month, except the odd 5 week month when it would be $555/month! Say what?!
- Lawn Mowing Service: Now, add to that lawn-mowing services Spring through Fall, at $45 each week. That’s $180-225 a month!
- Add those up and we’re talking $550-$780 per month just to maintain.
Now, I’m all about delegating and hiring out when it makes sense … but right now that expense does not make sense for our budget.
This is when the idea for The Jar of Job Opportunities, a.k.a. The Money Jar, was born. I pay a max of $38/week for things that actually make my life a lot easier, the money stays in the family, and my kids get to earn money while learning responsibility. Win-win-win. (Sorry, I can’t say win-win without thinking of a Steve Carell from The Office.)
This Jar does not replace regular chores! Oh, no, that would be crazy-talk! Chores are what you do because everyone in our house is expected to pitch in. (Read about my kids chores.) Job Opportunity sticks solve two problems – Households have a lot of things that need to happen to run smoothly and Kids want money.
How it Works
We made the sticks full of jobs I really want done – I mean actually helpful things. My kids pick a chore they want to do and move the stick to their jar when they do it. This happens any time during the week. Once a week, usually on the weekend, we take all the sticks out of their individual jars and pay them for their work. Pay Day! (If there are chores that don’t need to be done two weeks in a row, I’ll hold those out for a week as I’m doing the Pay Day.)
I drew green at the ends of sticks that require on-going work throughout the week, like watering flowers and checking the mail. I admit I use my 4 year old’s jar to put sticks I don’t need done that week. He’s too young to care about money or do useful work, but one more jar in the tray made them all fit better … so I put one in with his name. I found the circular copper tray at Target.
Making the Jars & Sticks.
I made two different printable themes to choose from.
Download the Gold & Floral Version. (This is what is pictured.)
It was easy to make the jars and sticks. I just used regular Elmer’s Glue. I bent the little papers around the stick and put glue where the two paper ends overlap on the back-side.
I used a Sharpie marker to write names on the jars and chores on sticks. Really, the chores can be whatever you want them to be. Check out my big long list of kids chores and pick some things, though add in a specific place in the house.
It brings me great joy to watch my children happily do a task I dread. I will happily pay them $1 or $2 for that. We wanted to start the prices low so there is a little room to grow. The highest paid job is $5 for the backyard.
Matt’s favorite chore-stick: Mow Lawn (we divided into 2 jobs – front and back yard)
My favorite chore-stick: Clean Master Bathroom Toilet
Now, if your kids aren’t motivated by money … are they motivated by time with electronics?? <insert evil mom laugh> I placed my sticks in a very conspicuous place by the tv in the living room.
I’m going to get some more help around here one way or the other!
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