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a little business

November 25, 2011

Well, hello there, everyone. I’m feeling a little like Rip Van Winkle surfacing after a long, long nap. But also somewhat like a baby bear coming out of hibernation, having fed and grown while sleeping, on account of all the pecan pie.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Ours was lovely. Three generations of various friends and relations. It felt lucky somehow to be in that middle generation, between so much grace and wisdom and so much energy and enthusiasm. We had our first turkey in over a decade, which was delish, as was every butter-steeped dish; and not to play favorites, but the grilled deer was really the star.

I’m really just here on business today, to announce the winner of the Silver Sparrow Designs giveaway (apologies for being late on this). Congratulations,  Emily, who said: “Wow, she really has amazing stuff. I would like the I am a rivier necklace, it really speaks to me.” Contact Kristi via her etsy shop and you two can take it from there. And to those of you who are now in love with Kristi’s jewelry, she is still offering 10% off on all orders through Christmas. Coupon code is 6512GROW.

And just a few more things, while I have your attention.

1) A beloved friend sent me a sort of a chain letter book swap. Basically, I send one book to a child on the list, pick 6 other friends to join, and then my kids get 36 books, and I am done. I know I didn’t explain this well, but there’s a protocol, which I can pass on to anyone who’s interested. I’m not much of a chain letter type, but books? For children? I’m in. I’m looking for 5 other people who might be interested. The books do not have to be new, mine won’t be. You can e-mail me @ sanjuandrive(at)frontier(dot)net.

2) Finally, Dan and I spent an hour today talking about allowance and chores. Wondering what you all do in this department with your kids?

Smooches and pie,


23 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2011 5:50 pm

    congratulations on the new look!

    I have HUGE feelings on developing our kids when it comes to fiscal responsibility. I am completely open with my kids when it comes to my finacial life. I tell them all about my taxes, insurance…everything…at an age appropriate level.

    I let them know I expect them to leave my home totally capable of managing their own finances. AND I will teach them to do so. I DON’T expect them to magically know things about money.

    We’ve done a variety of things, Some worked well. Some were a waste of time. The one that worked the best was having the kids get an allowance for their clothes and *cosmetics* (money I would have spent anyhow) but they get to make their own mistakes with it. Then we have a “financial summit” once a month (prior to payday) to “plan – do – review” their fiscal choices.

    My daughter is in college and we’re still discussing money using this format. It works great. It offers me the chance to advise, but not get in the way of my kids learning their own lessons with consequences that STICK. Running out of shampoo stinks.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 26, 2011 8:57 pm

      Thanks Rebecca, I appreciate your thoughtfulness on this.

  2. barefootnmama permalink
    November 25, 2011 6:21 pm

    Sounds like a lovely Thanksgiving! Congrats to the fun!
    The book swap is a great idea:)
    So, allowance and chores…oh geez! My younger ones have a point chart where we reward them for all the little and big things they do to help around the house and the farm. they either get surprised with a gift of the gift is something they picked out and it has been waiting on them to fill their chart…they love this!
    My older daughter has a special kind of chart. We don’t give her points for each thing she does, We want her to learn to help because she’s part of this family not because she’s getting rewarded. We give her points randomly when we feel she has been trying extra hard or has done something really kind or thoughtful for someone, when her chart is full we take her on a date and do something fun for just her:)
    All of our kids have monthly money that is for everything they need, clothes, shoes, art supplies, toys, books anything new they are wanting to get. They help us spend and manage this money, we keep them VERY involved in what it gets used on. It has really helped them learn the beginnings of managing money. They take a lot of pride in trying to get as much as possible with the money they have for the month. I love this because then it’s never me saying no it’s them saying no to themselves. Oh, they sell things, borrow money from each other, save for months to get what they’s wonderful.
    Okay, sorry this is soooooooooooooooo long. Hope it helps a little! ~ Brooke

  3. November 25, 2011 7:39 pm

    Happy post-Thanksgiving!

    As for allowance, so far only my five year old gets it. She gets four quarters each week, and she has to put one each in her spend, save, and share slots (special pre-made bank that you could totally make yourself for free…). She gets to put the final quarter in her choice of slot. Amazingly, she always puts it in the “save” slot. I’m not sure she even understands what the heck is going on. In theory, I’d let her spend what’s in the “spend” slot, but it has never once occurred to her to actually do that. When she asks, I will let her, but I’m not going to bring it up until she does! My three year old doesn’t get allowance yet. I’ll start her around four or four and a half.

    I’m one of those people who is adamantly against linking chores with allowance. Granted, my kids are only five and three, so I have no idea what life will bring when they are older. But right now, you help around the house and have jobs simply because that’s what people do. And you get allowance because it’s nice to have a little bit of money and start learning about it now before you’re out in the world as an adult. For me, they’re two separate things.

    Are you guys doing anything for allowance yet? I’d love to hear.

    • April permalink
      November 30, 2011 9:35 am

      I used to be against chores linked with money, but as my child got older he really wanted to be able to make more money than just his allowance gave him (our allowance is pretty modest). So we identified some “extra” jobs that were doable and helpful to us, but more than what we’d usually expect of him. Our “extra” money-linked chores are gathering kindling, sweeping the kitchen and living room, and bringing down his laundry. Of those, I think bringing down his laundry is the most questionable — that feels to me like something that should just be expected — but the fact is, it just wasn’t getting done as a regular chore. It was a lot for my son to remember (harder to remember than, say wiping the table), and it was tiring and conflictive reminding him of it, so I just let it slide. Now that it’s connected to extra money, it gets done occasionally and we all feel happy about that whenever it happens. So, even the questionable one I ended up feeling OK about.

      But you know, if I was able to have him to do all that as just part of his family work, that would feel the best, you’re right. I just feel like I’ve got my hands full enough trying to get him to wipe the table, rinse the dishes and clean up toys!

  4. Melissa permalink
    November 26, 2011 10:44 am

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! We arrived back from the holy land just in time to fry a bird and catch up on all food Americana in one sitting. It was good and I know what you mean about being in the middle generation; I like it too.

    So we are still too young for allowance but Avi definitely is getting more chores and it appears to be quite good for him . . . will be interesting to see all the different responses you get here.

  5. April permalink
    November 26, 2011 3:50 pm

    I’m new here, but I thought I’d quickly share that you can hop over to First Kids Bank and they have an amaaaazing chore and allowance tracking system there. They automatically add the allowance for you, and you can split it into “spending”, “saving” and “charity” accounts. We do 30% to savings and 10% to charity, and the rest he can spend.

    The reason we started doing this online is because we wanted to give our son incentive to save by giving him interest on his savings — more than what the bank would give him. So, we do 10% a month. That way, he can really see it add up and can see how worthwhile it is to save, and just get in the habit. He LOVES this, and went from never saving anything, spending every last dime, to putting everything he can find in his savings account. The site keeps track of all the interest, and allows you to put a cap on it, as well.

    We also give him the chance to make extra money from gathering kindling, sweeping, and bringing down laundry. He’s been doing that 100% more since we started tracking it online. Pretty amazing!

    Now I’ll go poke around on your blog some more…

  6. November 27, 2011 8:18 pm

    I give our kids $1 per year of age each month allowance. This is just for spending and learning to manage money and so that when a school dance or Scholastic order form or Lego catalog comes along, I can say, “Do you have the money?” Chores I feel should be part of being a member of a household, not something done for dough. Once, though, I paid my oldest kid $10 for doing all my weekend cleaning (that which normally takes me an hour took him two days–but he really “needed” some cash). This isn’t to say they willingly or joyfully pitch in around the house, but I hope someday they might…

  7. November 27, 2011 10:52 pm

    Oh – how I’ve missed your blog – and not because of your Rip-van-winkle-ness… but because of mine! :)
    Well, Cole gets money as gifts, loves picking it up off of the street (he trolls the supermarket checkout lanes for latent coins, long forgotten) and from his own side business – When we go to the barter fair at the herbal symposium, he sets up a little slot of his own. We collect rocks and sea glass and put them in jars, he sells the old pottery pieces he has done from his class, and then we bake brownies, and he pays me back for the ingredients and then keeps the cash. So far, he has been saving everything, until one day, I drew the line at the light-up light sabre with sound effects for 20 bucks. I was offering to buy him the 9.99 one with no batteries, and he really wanted the other one, so I let him know that he could buy it with his own money if he wanted. He did. He loved that light saber for a few weeks. Now, I don’t think he pays it much attention, at least not very often. It is a good point of reference, though, because now when he spends an entire afternoon selling stuff, and says “look mom, I got $17” – I can say: “wow, that’s so cool! And isn’t amazing that it still wouldn’t be enough money for you to buy another one of those light sabers if you wanted to!?” You can tell his inner computers are working hard on that one – every time!
    Recently, he wanted to cut open his paper mache piggie bank. I asked why, he said he wanted to know how much was in there, and he wanted to open a bank account. SO – we did it – $157.00! wow! So, we went to the bank, and had to leave dejected because I didn’t have his social security card… well, we’ll do it this week…. :)
    I would never mix chores and money. I think the chores are part of being a family. I don’t assign chores yet, but probably will when he is older. I like to see him keep his room clean, take care of his possessions, and I expect him to put his own clothes in the dirty clothes. Also, he has to pick up his stuff from around the house, buss his own dishes. Eventually I will have him put away his own clothes, wash his own dishes and clothes – and do the deep cleaning on his room. I also consider that his time learning and doing homework are more important to me, right now, personally, than having him help around the house.
    Anyways, that’s my 20cents worth! :)

  8. November 27, 2011 11:09 pm

    We have the kids do small things around the house. Mainly, we have them un-load the dishwasher. We have them clear the table, pick up their toys, pick up the dog poo, take out the trash, clean the bathroom, sweep, give mom neck massages. Eli, who is 5 doesn’t do much but the other kids are pretty good. My friend has a great chore wheel that I’d like to try. Basically, the outer wheel (really cool, painted with watercolors) has the chores. Then the inner wheel has the kids’ names. The inner wheel is rotated each week to cover two or three things they’re responsible for.

    I’ve tried doing an allowance but I’m not that consistent. At first, they would say, can we go to Target to get some Legos????!!! Then, I’d end up spending way more money than they earned. Amelia is a saver so I don’t have to worry about her. Actually, I think I need to pay her an allowance because she watches the boys a lot.

    Good luck figuring it out!


  9. November 27, 2011 11:54 pm

    Chores are pretty specific here – helping clear the table, putting away toys, making beds, putting away clothes. I always have to ask my 6 and 2 1/2 year old to do each task, but that’s okay. With the little one, I need to be part of the process still. These are things that they use and need and we make the work about helping. They’re very happy to do anything in the garden, so none of us see it as a chore.

    As for allowance, we’re not consistent enough, but I want to be. My plan is that toys or other desires are bought with allowance. However, we do have some rules – no high heels, no make up. Six is too little for that, but she can choose whatever sparkly stuff she wants.

  10. November 28, 2011 2:24 am

    My children get allowance because they are part of the family. And as part of the family they are also expected to clean up and help when asked, walk the dog etc. As they get older they will have other jobs to do around the house, and their allowance will increase- but independently of one another. I think that children should learn about money, and that as members of my household they deserve to have a little to do as they please. It teaches them not to save or spend everything, there is a comfort in knowing you will get more soon that teaches you how to wait- both for more money or the object you desire. So far my almost 9 year old is very responsible with her cash and even has a small savings account started.
    Also, I want them to help around the house because they cherish our home and family- not because they are rewarded with allowance.
    And thirdly, “chores” sound awful- I don’t even want to take care of the house and children if I call it that. On the other hand, when I don’t think of it that way-but just as what is necessary to keep this little world running round, it more fun.

  11. Bree permalink
    November 28, 2011 8:17 am

    My kids are 8 and 5.

    “Chores” in our home is just working together anytime mom or dad asks. My opinion is that taking care of the home (paying bills, lawn care, laundry, cleaning, meal prep, dishes) is the parent’s responsibility and that we should not burden our children while they are just little. Once they are 10 or 11 I think engaging them in caring for and running the home is different. They are more responsible by then and eager for such tasks.

    This is a bit of what we do: My husband will ask my 8 year old to grab garbage cans from around the house to dump in the big bag or help haul stuff to the street. My 5 year old folds laundry with me when I ask or dries dishes. They are both capable of checking pet food dishes and filling them…. Mostly we just do things together and teach work ethic through our own good attitudes about what we “have to do” each day. And if the kids don’t feel like helping when we ask, it’s not a huge deal to us, since 90% of the time they want to.

    “Allowance” depends on the unique child, I think. I have friends who do the $4/week for the 4 year old and so on correlating the allowance with the age and a dollar sign. Personally I find that to be too much too fast. Kids should have to start small.

    We started giving spending money when our oldest was 7 — not connected with helping out around the house at all. Just $1 a week. We wanted it to take a long time in his little kid world before he could afford some huge lego set or splurge. Now that he is 8 we started doing $2 a week as he has proved himself capable of handling it. Anytime we run errands he is allowed to grab spending money, but only with some kind of plan for what he wants to look for or buy. Impulse shopping is not a part of our family ways so we are modeling that for him.

    My husband is often able to bring our son to work with him and so will pay him per hour for his “labor” — this is different to us because our son gives up his playtime at home to work with dad.

    Hope this helps :-)

  12. Emily permalink
    November 28, 2011 8:32 am

    I’m another parent who doesn’t link chores with money. And I’m a stick in the mud, according to my children. But this is possibly because I don’t give an allowance. The monkeys are 6 and 8, and we don’t have a whole lotta extra cash to dole out for cheap plastic junk. Yet, somehow my daughter, Ellen, has managed to save up over $200. How you ask? I have no idea, but she very carefully spent some on thoughtful Christmas gifts and a bit each time we venture to Whole Foods for food items I don’t buy regularly (Annie Mac and Cheese, gum, chocolate that she won’t have to share with me and Jack). I suppose she earned it by being a lovely young relative in a large extended family. Jack, my son however, gets money from odd things around the house (“Mama, I’m selling this ___ that I made to Kevin down the street ok?” and “if I take out the compost will you give me a quarter?”) then immediately spends it at the first opportunity. So, he is why I don’t do allowance I suppose. I would cringe at every purchase I had enabled. I guess I didn’t give the kids sharp pointy knives before they showed and INCLINATION to not cut off fingers, so why would I give Jack money before he showed a glimmering of interest in spending it mindfully? But, I’m not sold that my way is the best way (even for my kids), and Jack is on the cusp of “getting it”. This holds me back: if I gave an allowance it wouldn’t be meaningful amounts (we’re talking dimes here) and that would be worse than nothing.

  13. Nana Judy permalink
    November 28, 2011 10:05 am

    Re allowances/chores –
    See if “kids and money” on Google has suggestions that fit

    Not sure what the current thinking is, but seems to me that there should be chores that kids do as part of making the household run. Perhaps the allowance is a different subject. Can there be extra duties – i.e. above chores – that kids could do to earn money?

    With the allowance issue go subjects like what expenses are there – and the perennial tussle between buy-something-small-now vs save-for-something-larger-later.

    Re savings, it may be worth providing an INCENTIVE to save by matching the amt saved (at some percentage – 50%, 100%?) I did savings matching with my brother for several years – and it helped him build up a cushion for cat care – which was important for him.

    It’s important for kids – and adults – to have healthy attitudes towards money!

    Good luck, let me know how it goes in this dept.

  14. rose permalink
    November 28, 2011 11:28 am

    hi rachel! with any decision i make about my life i take some time to figure out if i am coming from a place of fear or trust. if it’s fear i take some time to figure the source of that before continuing. a lot of personal growth and healing has occurred from this approach. we have a very egalitarian philosophy in our household in which the strength of our relationships is paramount. any decision that is made has to support the building of intimacy and trust among all members of our family. my only agenda for myself and my kids is that we live a joyful and passionate life and i trust that with that as our aim everything else will fall into place and i won’t have to make rules, assign chores, set limits, etc. so far this is working for us beautifully.

    some food for thought on this subject can be found on the right side of this page under “chores”

    blessings to you, as always.

  15. Audrey permalink
    November 28, 2011 12:28 pm

    One of my favorite parenting books suggests that children are expected to do chores, and they should get an allowance. The two are not linked, except if you have to do your child’s chore, they have to pay YOU for it. It’s a way to keep from nagging kids to do their chores. You simply deduct some amount — say, 25¢, whenever you have to make their bed, etc.

    I’m also a fan of the three buckets: short-term savings, long-term savings, and donate/charity.

    Ryan’s parent’s gave him an allowance and the only requirement for getting the following week’s was to show an accurate ledger of how he’d spent his money. I thought this was a great idea for slightly older kids as a way to build good habits and create their own feedback loop.

    My mother had “baseline” chores we had to do, but if we wanted to earn more money, she kept 3 envelopes taped to the inside of the pantry door. In the “chores” envelope, she’d right various jobs and the amount you’d earn for doing them (like “wash sliding glass door – 50¢”). If we did the chore, we’d move the card to our own envelope and at the end of the week we’d get extra money for anything above-and-beyond that we did.

    I think Clementine is totally ready for a bank account, and think it would be fun and big to walk her into the local bank and open an account. This seems like a great opportunity for homeschooling?

    Haven’t got it together to make these things happen yet, though. Maybe after the holidays…

    Miss you!!!

  16. November 28, 2011 4:07 pm

    My daughter is only 3 so I’m here lurking and reading the answers, preparing for the future.

    My Thanksgiving also involved 3 generations of mostly friends (who might as well be family). It was amazing. So glad you had a great time as well.

  17. Mandy permalink
    November 29, 2011 12:13 pm

    I agree that “chores” and “allowance” should not be linked. My kids (6 and 3) help around the house on a regular basis because that is what a family does. They are responsible for their own messes ( the 3 year old needs a lot of help with this) and they help us with whatever needs to be done. My 6 year old gets money every week and he splits it between three glass jars that he decorated with “spend”, “save”, and “share”. He can buy whatever he wants ( junky toys, candy, and usually Lego’s) with the spend jar and the share jar is for whatever charity he wants. Im not saying its a perfect system, I do find bikes in the bedrooms and block castles on the kitchen floor and I have to restrain myself from picking them up but i’m letting go of the whole idea of a clean house!
    Hope this helps…..we tried a few things and this is what has felt the most authentic for us all.

  18. November 29, 2011 6:42 pm

    We speak a lot about the work we do to make our home run well, and our girls choose weekly about work they can do: dusting, feeding pets, folding diapers.
    We haven’t gotten to the point of writing things down or keeping ‘score’ and maybe that’s why it hasn’t even become a fight or anything. We’re no-stess about it all, but pretty clear. Once each season we take them to the toy store and we spy one item that really stands out in their mind. It’s always Playmobile or Lego or something plastic, but they get the lesson in saving for one item and working along the way. This could all change when they get a bit older.
    Thanks for creating this dialogue… And, I love, love the picture above.


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