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Works for Me Wednesday: Clothing Allowance

For Works for Me Wednesday, I want to talk money. And character building. And how you can kill two birds with one stone!

It seems to me that what the school system focuses on above all else is self-esteem. They mistakenly believe that if kids feel good about themselves, they will excel, instead of realizing that the relationship should go the other way: if kids excel, they will feel good about themselves. Indeed, there's nothing special about self-esteem in and of itself. Those with the highest self-esteem tend to be in jail.

What we really need to teach is maturity, and that comes best with delayed gratification. We need to teach kids they can't have everything they want all at once. And I've found the best way to teach that is with an allowance.

We started our children on allowances very young, and tied them to chores. Then we stopped paying for chocolate bars, so they had an incentive to earn money! I've written more about that here.

But now that my daughter is 13, we've established the clothing allowance. Last December we totalled up all clothes that she is likely to need this year, and then I gave her a dollar value as to what I would be willing to spend on each item. She made it into an Excel spreadsheet. I lowballed the amounts since I tend to buy a lot at thrift shops, and we came up with the final figure. It was really high this year because Rebecca has grown a lot and her body shape has changed so she needs new everything. I don't think I've ever spent that much on myself in one year before, but I've never needed to start from scratch again, either.

Anyway, it's working well. I handed the money over in January and we opened an account with a debit card attached to it. She had to spend extra on bathing suits this year because we needed better ones than we thought for her swimming lessons, so she's learning she can't buy tops just because they're cute or she won't have money for that winter jacket she's going to need next year.

She wanted me to take her to Value Village last night, because you can get great recycled clothes, and she found a few things she liked. But she's learning to budget, and she never asks me for money. She knows there's no point.

I think it's a great idea, and my 10-year-old is looking forward to her own clothing allowance when she's 13. So that's what Works for Me!

Be sure to read more of my blog! I've got great posts up on marriage lately.

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At 3:23 PM , Blogger Let Them Be Little said…

What a great idea! I dread the day when my kids will realize that basically all their clothes are from garage sales.


At 11:45 PM , Blogger Bonnie said…

My parents did this with me and my siblings when we were growing up. FANTASTIC !!!


At 10:01 AM , Blogger Donnetta (momrn2) said…

We have already started the concept with our children that we will buy and provide for their basic needs. However, if they want that high end pair of shoes, or jeans, or.... then they are going to have to fund it from their spending money. (They get an allowance and only a portion goes into a spending category.)

This is a great idea and as they get older I may think a bit more on giving them the money to designate how they spend it. Thanks for the idea!


At 3:02 PM , Anonymous pippi said…

My mom did this with me when I was about the same age. I heartily recommend it. It is the only thing that kept us from killing each other during my teen years, and I'm the one who found the thrift shops so I could get more with less. I still have a hard time buying clothes at full price, and I just turned 50!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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