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I need some advice. We started dog sitting 2 years ago through Rover.com. The kids and I are home all day and love dogs so we thought we'd love it, and we do. We all play with the dogs, take them out, and clean up after them. When we started, we talked about how we would divide the money. We thought about using it for the fun things we do in the summer, having them save up for big things they might want, etc.  We ended up just deciding to split it evenly between the kids and then DH and I. 

Well it turns out, that is a LOT of money for 12 year olds. I have one daughter who just sticks it all into her savings account. The other two pretty much fritter it away on things like clothes or virtual things in video games. One did save up for a hover board. 

They are required to divide what they earn into spend/save/give categories. 

As an adult, the things I watch them spend so much money on bugs me, but I try to remember that it is money that they earned and they are still putting some away. On the other hand, when they started this they did not have cell phones. Now they do. I wonder if they should use some of their money for things like that. Also they all want to go to church camp this summer and that's about $500 per kid. Is it wrong to use their money for that? (They are balking at that).

I just feel that we need to revamp this whole thing. What do you guys think? And how can I say it to them in a way that makes them understand that the money is still going to them?

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My kids pat for half of church camp. And as they make money they can start paying for more of their fun stuff. 

ill often split costs with them for activities like movie tickets bowling etc and every now and then I’ll splurge and treat them.

btw, as to the “fairness” of it, if you and dad weren’t providing the adult supervision that dog owners want, this business opportunity wouldn’t exist. 

Edited by fairfarmhand
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For cellphones, we the parents pay because we need our kids to carry cellphones due to lack of public telephones for them to call us. My husband’s cellphone service is paid by his employer by the way.

For church summer camp, I would let them know you expect them to chip in a certain reasonable amount. My kids would stay home rather than spend a cent on summer camps. Both my kids are as penny pinching as my husband. Even when we pay for everything, it is already hard to get them to go. 

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7 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

btw, as to the “fairness” of it, if you and dad weren’t providing the adult supervision that dog owners want, this business opportunity wouldn’t exist. 


OP and her husband did get a cut of the dog sitting money since they split the money among five of them. 

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Perhaps you can have a family meeting to reevaluate.  Discuss how everyone is making more money than originally thought, and that it was time to re-think things.  

You can discuss different options, such as making a 4th category:   to save for something bigger that's important to them --   perhaps that is discussed with parents (?) --  that they can spend once they have enough or the event comes up.  (Like church camp.)   

Our children usually paid for half of their church camp experience.  (It wasn't just a learning experience for them, it was really what made it affordable for us!)  

I think it's okay for parents to ask kids to help pay for stuff.  I know some parents are uncomfortable doing that.  Maybe my dh and I are old enough to be from households (back in the 60's and 70's!) where most households were one-income and it wasn't unusual at all for kids to help out with these things with their part-time jobs.

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To me, cell phones are just a necessity, so I wouldn’t ask them to pay for those. 


Would you/ do you normally pay for camp? If so, I definitely wouldn’t change the rules now. Doing so wouldn’t sound fair to me (and certainly won’t to a kid!)

Mine doesn’t spend his money either. Around that age he started investing in the stock market though; he’s invested wisely and has made a lot already.

The kids are earning their money. I firmly believe, unless there is true financial reasons they need to be helping out with family expenses, that they should get to do with what they want. Their material desires are no less real than your are. 

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my kids pay for half of their summer camps (although theirs are much cheaper than yours so they don't have to come up with much money) but if your kids really have that much extra free money after saving a reasonable portion (for us they donate 10%, save about 60% and get to spend 30%), then I certainly think it's time to introduce them to real world economics when you have to take money you earn and spend it on necessities and not just fun stuff.  Much better to learn the lesson now than wait till they are an adult.

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I don’t think you should try to come up with responsibilities to use the money so they don’t spend it on things you feel are wasteful. (Not saying you ARE doing this; just warning you not to.) In our family, we pay for their phones until they have graduated from college which is, admittedly, pretty generous, but it is important *to me* that they have phones, so I don’t make them pay for it until they are largely independent. 

IME, some kids are naturally forward-thinking and not wasteful with their money while others are more impulsive. But even my more impulsive child did learn from experience that if you fritter money away on unimportant stuff, you won’t have money for the important stuff. 

I do know people who have kids pay for camps or pay partially for that. I think if that’s the usual understanding in your family culture, then, okay. But I wouldn’t put a requirement on them just so you can direct money into things you deem worthy. 

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Remember that anything you say they have to pay for is something they can decline to do/buy/have. So that can backfire. 

Instead of saying what they spend it on, maybe sit and have budgeting meetings with them, one on one, at least monthly? Have they record the ins and outs of the money so they can see where it is going, and maybe that alone will be eye opening for them. 

Or add a "college savings" percentage. 

Or add on a certain percent "tax" that goes to family stuff?

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I think it is reasonable to split up the expenses that relate to the dog business, including overheads.  Or take out the overheads before splitting up the profits.

I also think kids at that age can pay for almost all of what they "want," if they have the money to do so.  Mine know they need to use their own money to buy things like pop culture clothes, fashion boots, horse accessories, etc.  Basically anything they didn't get for Christmas/birthday that they "want," they have to buy.

Personally I would probably pay for things that I really want for them if they would not choose to pay for it.  Church camp might be in that category - would they decide not to go at all if they had to pay?  Would you be OK with that choice?

I do like the idea of splitting the cost of church camp.  For example, if they were at home, you would be buying their food and a few other things.  Would it be reasonable to contribute the amount it would have cost to have them home that week?  Or give part of it as a gift / match because you consider it worthwhile.

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My oldest got her first cell phone at 13.  We paid for the first 6 months, but then we had her take over the bill after that.  And yes, we did require that she maintain cell coverage.  Our thinking was that paying bills is part of being an adult and that there was nothing wrong with having her pay that one bill for herself.   We had set it up on prepay and the plan at that time charged like 10c per text.  It was really interesting to watch how having to be responsible for paying for her own texts each time made her think about how her texting related to her costs.

But, when she had a larger trip expense coming up, we split paying for those sorts of things.  She was working but she wasn't earning more than a few hundred a month.  So, we had her pay for some, and then we also paid a portion.  When she went to Europe, even her grandparents contributed some.  

I think it's perfectly fine to require them to pay for some things, even necessities.  People all have financial responsibilities and I have no problem with requiring financial responsibilities of kids who are earning money.

Having said that, once you decide which financial obligations you want your kids to have, and have taught them how to make a budget with their money, how they spend the "fun money" portion of their budget is something I would suggest you let go.  Everyone spends money on things that other people think are silly.  My DH buys fishing stuff that he rarely uses.  I buy way more stickers and craft supplies than I regularly use.  Some people spend money on tickets to baseball games or eating out or whatever.  I think it's important for kids to learn that as long as they meet their financial obligations, then they can use money to buy things that make them happy.  

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Rather than deciding to charge them money so you are benefitting from the job at a greater percentage than was originally agreed upon,  I'd simply require that they put a specific % into their savings account to be used later for a car, college expenses, expensive hobbies, etc.

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2 minutes ago, hippiemamato3 said:

Rather than deciding to charge them money so you are benefitting from the job at a greater percentage than was originally agreed upon,  I'd simply require that they put a specific % into their savings account to be used later for a car, college expenses, expensive hobbies, etc.

 

This is what we have done when our kids have gotten money rewards for doing things that are more money than we want them to have easy access to. We require them to save a portion of it for future expenses -- a larger trip they otherwise could not have gone on, a car, etc. Maybe even college one day.

Edited by vonfirmath
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2 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

My oldest got her first cell phone at 13.  We paid for the first 6 months, but then we had her take over the bill after that.  And yes, we did require that she maintain cell coverage.  Our thinking was that paying bills is part of being an adult and that there was nothing wrong with having her pay that one bill for herself.   We had set it up on prepay and the plan at that time charged like 10c per text.  It was really interesting to watch how having to be responsible for paying for her own texts each time made her think about how her texting related to her costs.

But, when she had a larger trip expense coming up, we split paying for those sorts of things.  She was working but she wasn't earning more than a few hundred a month.  So, we had her pay for some, and then we also paid a portion.  When she went to Europe, even her grandparents contributed some.  

I think it's perfectly fine to require them to pay for some things, even necessities.  People all have financial responsibilities and I have no problem with requiring financial responsibilities of kids who are earning money.

Having said that, once you decide which financial obligations you want your kids to have, and have taught them how to make a budget with their money, how they spend the "fun money" portion of their budget is something I would suggest you let go.  Everyone spends money on things that other people think are silly.  My DH buys fishing stuff that he rarely uses.  I buy way more stickers and craft supplies than I regularly use.  Some people spend money on tickets to baseball games or eating out or whatever.  I think it's important for kids to learn that as long as they meet their financial obligations, then they can use money to buy things that make them happy.  

 

I agree with this.  I don't think there is anything wrong with making them pay bills of their own.  I think it is a good practice for them.  That being said if you want to pay for it for a certain amount of time that is ok too.   But I think it is better for them to learn about it younger.  I also think it is ok to change plans.  Kids grow up , circumstances change.  You can change your parenting rules when you feel like it too. 

Amazing that your dd earned a few hundred a month.  What did she do to do that? 

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I would revamp your whole system.  Like I'd allow them $20 a week and that is their recreational money.  Then the rest I'd put into a 529 for college (or a camp fund, etc) if you could afford to do that.  Or give yourself an allowance to cover cell phones, etc and save the rest.  

My concern would be suppose the kid decides a Nintendo switch or an old car is better use of funds than their cell phone which you use to contact them?  Or some other expensive pile of plastic is more important than church camp?  Which might be educationally and socially significant?  I wouldn't want kids this young to have responsibility for that much money.  Giving them an allowance to save with and spend with gives them that practice without much risk.  If they were 16+, I might feel differently.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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If they’re already splitting spend/give/save, they’re learning the important lesson.
If you need them to contribute to camp in order to make it affordable, there’s nothing wrong with that.
If you just think that helping you to pay for camp is “better” than video games, that’s not very fair.

I’ve considered having my teens contribute to their cell phone plans (their quite old phones were gifts), but there are some seasons in which we prioritize school/activities over paid work, so they don’t always have an income every month.  I don’t think it’s right to expect them to tackle a monthly bill when they don’t have consistent jobs.

ETA: For the record, we don’t spoil them, lol. They’re saving to buy cars. We don’t provide those.

Edited by Carrie12345
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It sounds like you already have a good plan in place.  I would not require them to pay for camp/phones/whatever if you've always paid for that in the past and are still able to them.

I would have a chat with them about future expenses.  I would tell them that it might be wiser to put more money in savings because college is expensive.  Maybe lay out for them a scenario of how much college costs and how much you are willing to help (if any).  Maybe help them decide how much to put away for college -- 20 percent of their earnings or whatever.

I really wish I would have had a better grasp on this before I took out $$$$$$ in student loans.  I'm sure my mom explained it to me.  I probably needed to hear it 20 or 30 times more before it would have sunk in.

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Our kids had to pay for their cell plans (roughly 50 a month) and their car insurance (probably 1K a year? Can't remember). They didn't get phones til 16years old. They didn't drive til they could pay insurance, so 18/19 for the boys and 17 for our girl. (There were some other circumstances for the boys.)

I think you have to let go of the way they spend discretionary income,  but you could have them start saving for bigger things. 

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