By Ashley McNeill

Who’s ready to get the family organized this coming year? My family has used charts for years, and they’ve worked great. They usually have fun pictures and give you a great visual to head towards your goals. We had the “potty” chart and a behavior chart and everyone loves a growth chart on the wall! And over the past year we have developed our family chore chart. This has been fun and a learning experience for us all. SO, if you’re ready to get organized this year, I have some great ideas.

My parents taught me a lot about saving money and how to value money and the things we earn. My brother and I have the same parents and somewhat of the same upbringing, although we are different in how we understand and save money. We have discussed as adults that the one thing they did teach us was that money does not buy us happiness and greed is not healthy! So, knowing this and believing this, how am I going to teach my children. I want them to work hard to earn money and value the things they have, yet appreciate the simple things in life every day. Here is how I am starting.

There are certain things that have to be done at home that feel like chores, however if they do not get done we all suffer; laundry, clearing the table, dishes, and someone needs to feed the dog. My children are 9 and 6, they are learning responsibility, they are learning to appreciate things, I want to encourage this learning and make them value what we have. Most of us are motivated by money (right??), and I want my kids to learn the value of money and how to work for it. So, I first started with a simple “chore chart” with items they could easily accomplish. At the bottom, I had a list of activities that would earn them money. We used this system for about 6 months and I loved it. I realized that it was time to update and advance our system and I added an allowance.

Now, each Sunday my kids get three dollars. Surprisingly, they quickly take it to their jars and put one dollar in each. We recently went to a consignment sale, where we were selling their clothes. They each saw something they wanted in the “toy” section. Both of them priced the items and talked about how much they wanted these things.  Well, they went to their spending jars.  My daughter took out $10.50. My son took out $3.00. The next morning we went to the sale. My daughter got exactly what she wanted and came home with $5.50 which she returned to her spending jar. My son, he went over his limit by $2.00, which he had to get from me. . . ..yes, I have some more work to do with him!!

I have read some of the book Piggybanking; Preparing your Financial Life for Kids and your Kids for a Financial Life by Jeff D. Opdyke, although I have not finished it! I looked ahead and he talks about helping your children understand the stock market, I am hoping to learn more about that as well!!

As far as chores, there are several “chores” that they do every day and I am not having to remind them. They proudly make their beds each day, clear the table, set the table, throw clothes in the direction of the laundry room, put items to be recycled where they need to go and homework is just expected. There are still chores that are not done each day and I “encourage” these activities, some days I beg for help . . . empty the dishwasher, taking clean clothes out of the basket and to your room, put the clothes in their drawers, and one day I need to teach them to wash the clothes! I have to remember, “Rome was not built in a day” so, with a deep breath and patience, I look and realize that they are kids and they ARE just kids! Some days I do want to get the whistle like Captain Vontrapp had!!

Well, what do you think? What other charts and incentives have you used to get your family organized?