Back in the Spring, while we were getting intensive in our goal to pay off debt. I checked out most of the Dave Ramsey books from the library. We don't strictly follow him, but he is great at getting you fired up to do something about the mess you've gotten yourself in. While I was there, searching through the libraries online catalog, I found that he had written some children's books and our library had several of them. (Our library didn't have the one about integrity.) We checked them out, I read them to the kids, and we had alot of really interesting conversations about debt, work, saving, spending, and giving money. Now all this time I had been listening to Dave's three hour show in the afternoons on the computer, days we went to town, I'd play catch up the next day. It was getting to the point that Britt called him the liberty safe guy (that's one of the commercials he plays), and so he was hearing in the background some of these things, and seeing that Momma was serious about getting out of debt.
As a result, I revamp the chore charts, there are still things I ask for help with that I expect just because they live in this house, but there are also some set chores that they must complete for a check mark, and then on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning, I pay them a quarter for each completed job. They then tell me how much they want to give to Church, then how much they want to save in the bank, and finally what to put aside for spending. They really enjoy giving their own money to Church to help take care of people. And they value what they can do with their money so much now that they are working for it each week. Ruth is our little saver, she gives sometimes half of our money to Church, and then puts nearly all the rest in the bank. She takes out very little for spending. Britt on the other hand puts aside money for Church and then allocates most of what is left for spending money, and oh the things he will waste that money on. But you know, he's also learned a few lessons too, about using it, and then not having it for other things. They get to see that how much they work, and now also how diligently they work has a direct correlation to how much they get paid. Britt has begged us to let him walk to the neighbor's to get a job taking care of the buggy horse, because "if you want money, Dollar Bill says you have to go to work." He goes out of his way to find more jobs. They are making plans to yard sale some old toys, and I told them, anything of theirs that they sold, they could keep the money.
The conversations have been the most wonderful part for me. We have talked about how much debt slows you down, and what a long job it is to get out, how much of Daddy's work week, goes just to send money to someone else, that we can't have fun with. Britt decided one day to cut up all of his "debt cards" in his wallet. He has carried around some of those old hotel cards for a couple of years now. We have talked about everything having a price, and while they think $20 is alot of money, and don't really understand the large numbers in our budget, we talk about the cost of things, and they get to see me work the budget on the computer and balance the checkbook each week. We've been able to talk about long term rewards, by talking about if we sacrifice now to get out of debt, that we have made them a deal, that when we are debt free we are planning a trip to Disney World. And Britt practices his debt free scream with the radio callers each day, so that we can stop by and see Dave Ramsey on the way. We've talked about our plan to save for a bigger car, so they can see that we save money for big purchases too. Britt wants to save to have a salt water aquarium. Since unemployment, we have talked about cost comparison, trying to find the best deal for our money and how to make it stretch. I make it out as a game for them, and they enjoy "helping" us decide what to not spend our money on like Red Lobster, and what we could do for a Sunday afternoon lunch instead like Wendy's. We have skipped a lunch out and had a picnic at the library on Friday instead. Which things we should buy now, and which ones we should wait on.
One of these days they are going to realize a quarter a job is not much money, but I'm really hoping that these lessons that have become part of our daily conversation stick with them. And it's all thanks to some simple chore charts.