pocket money for kids.

            

One of the things we have pondered in our simple living journey as a family is the issue of pocket money.  Do we give it?  How much?  And what for?

For us, we are on a pretty tight budget.  We don’t believe money brings people much joy, and our desire is to raise kids who are content with what they have.  To find happiness comes from within, rather from all the bright shiny things you can buy.  It is also really important they are able to happily pull their weight around the house because it is the right thing to do – not because they are paid for it.  The sheer volume of marketing that is directly geared towards children in todays modern world to make them want all kinds of junk greatly concerns us too.  But like most parents, we want them to know the joy of working hard and earning their own money and the pride that comes with achieving their goals. 


So, week to week we do not give pocket money.  But if the boys come to us, wanting to earn money we will give them extra jobs with an agreed price and they can start and stop those as they desire.

Check out the odd socks - just keeping it real!! 

The jobs we do not pay them for, nor negotiate on are:

- tidying their room (It’s not my crap in there.)

- putting the clothes in the wash/putting clean clothes away. (Because one day I hope they find a wonderful partner and no one likes a slob.)

- picking up after themselves (Its not my crap, and once again no one enjoys living with a complete slob.)

- helping with general indoor housework like vacuuming/dusting (unless I’m ill and Will vacuums the whole house, or if he is particualy helpful above and beyond, I might give him a few dollars as a thankyou.)

- feeding/watering the animals (They depend on us and are family members.)

- picking up after the animals (basic hygiene)

- doings dishes etc. (they are not all mine, and its not all my job,)

- watering the garden (because I’m not convinced they do it well, it usually ends in a water fight - haha!)

- setting/clearing the table (not all my mess and I’m not a maid.)


It might not seem like there is not much left they can do but I assure you there is.  See we don’t pay them for these things as I don’t consider them as “extras”.  I consider them as the responsibilities of the whole family to ensure we live in a clean and somewhat tidy house.  That all members of the house are cared for, including the furry/feathered and scaly ones.  I am not the only one who makes the mess, and by golly I am not going to be the only one who cleans it up.  But these things are not usually a point of resistance.  Work is not an un-plesant thing to do, infact it’s a good thing to do.  So, I don’t find it hard to motivate them generally.  I mean they play with the animals as they potter about, and its caring for their own stuff.


If they are not willing to tidy up their mess, then they probably do not value it enough.  It might mean it is time to have a chat to see if they have out grown it and to take it away and donate it/bin it or what ever the appropriate action is.  Kids love to help other kids, if there is a consistent conversation in the house about helping others, about how grateful we are for all we have, and about passing on those things we don’t need then we can empower our kids to be generous. 


The TV goes off, we do our jobs as a family and then we can each go and do what interests us, after we might do something fun, or they are free to potter in their own little worlds.  I don’t hassle them about doing “extra” jobs for pocket money – that is up to them to decide for themselves.  I believe it is important for them to have control over their finances from a young age, so they naturally develop an understanding about earning, saving and spending as they are ready.  I believe they need to be self-motivated about it.  I’m not interested in nagging them, it doesn’t bother me if they are broke.


Here is an example of what it looks like for us.  A few weeks ago, Angus was desperate for a Lego Ninjago book with a figure that came with it, from the school book catalogue.  The problem was that he didn't have enough money for it.  He was a bit upset, but we talked about it and I pointed out if he saved more he could buy himself a small box of Ninjago, which would be better value for his money.  We had a look and he found the very one he wanted which was $22. So, we gave him a job of filling the wood bin.  Every day he gathered wood with his little trailer and filled the wood bin by the back door, and the little box near the fire for which he earnt $1.  We gave him other options of earning money as well, but this was the job he choose and was willing to do.  Once or twice he got upset and went on strike, as the goal seemed so far away.  $22 is a lot to earn for a little fellow!  But he quickly picked up his little socks and got on with it again, after I allowed his big brother William to do the job and earn the $1 allocated to it.  (He quickly learnt there is always someone else to do the job if he was not.) Every day after he had done the job well, I paid him his $1 coin.  It HAD to be a $1 coin, it couldn’t be any other combination of coins to make up the money.  Each night I had to go and swap out the money from his money box so I would have the right coin for him ready for the next day.  I even tried to give him $2 one day, to give him a boost along, but he was adamant he had only earnt $1 for the wood.  Angus is what we call very particular, and a little obsessive.   😉


Eventually he earnt his $22 and we went to the shop and he bought his box of Lego – he was SO proud of himself!  He has played with it every day non-stop.  Carefully making it on a tray, keeping track of all the pieces.  One day he accidentally dropped his most prized Lego man and Aggie the Scottish Terror chewed its arm clean off before he realized.  My goodness there were tears and my heart broke for him after all his hard work.  But, William came to the rescue with a solution much faster than I could.  He went and broke two of his Lego men to get a red arm and then a black hand off a favorite Star Wars man so his little brother could have his back intact, perfectly as it was.  (With Angus’s obsessiveness, these things are BIG things in our house and he was genuinely shattered.) 



This way of pocket money is completely dictated by the boys.  It is initiated by them, it requires self-motivation, and they will achieve their goals at the pace they are willing to work.  William is perhaps less focused, and driven, but he also applies himself well when he wants too.



When it comes to what they are able to buy – crappy toys that break and will simply go to land fill are a firm “no”.  But this is not hard to explain, and I get very little kick up about it.  They are all too aware of the disappointment that comes when they have been given something for it to only break that same day, and William is turning into a little environmental warrior!  Lego, books, balls, games pieces, collecting cards, stickers tend to be the things they like.  William likes to buy succulents. (which I can’t love enough, seriously how cool is that?!!)and earnt his $1. Once or twice he got upset because he seemed so far away from his goal, but after a day or so of moping (and watching his big brother doing his job and earning his $1!https://www.facebook.com/images/emoji.php/v9/f29/1.5/16/1f602.png😂) he picked up his little socks and kept on going. Today he finally earnt his last dollar and got his Lego, he is SO proud of himself! I'm really proud of his determination and all the little lessons he learnt along the way. Every day he counted how much closer he was to his goal and kept on chipping away, even when it seemed so far away, $22 is a lot to earn for a little fellow.

An old photo of William's succulat patch.

I wonder how others on the simple living, consumer avoidance path tackle the same topic? 


Much love,
            Emma
            xxand earnt his $1. Once or twice he got upset because he seemed so far away from his goal, but after a day or so of moping (and watching his big brother doing his job and earning his $1!https://www.facebook.com/images/emoji.php/v9/f29/1.5/16/1f602.png😂) he picked up his little socks and kept on going. Today he finally earnt his last dollar and got his Lego, he is SO proud of himself! I'm really proud of his determination and all the little lessons he learnt along the way. Every day he counted how much closer he was to his goal and kept on chipping away, even when it seemed so far away, $22 is a lot to earn for a little fellow.


16

Rain, sweet rain.

I woke this morning to the rain falling softly outside, giving the ground a much needed long deep soak. The local farmers will be happy.  It's been a dry start to the season and many have held off seeding, or been forced to stop part way through.  Our garden will also appreciate the rain, and the boys will appreciate a muddy playground over the coming weekend no doubt.

We are tucked up in the old cottage, Aggie in her basket near the crackling fire. Henry quietly playing duplo. Me with my books spread on the table working on my final assignment after a bought of bronchitis. I'm not over it yet, but I am feeling a little clearer in my head, and not quite so tired.  All is well and snug in my little world. How about you?



Two cats who know where the quietest spots in the house are!

Much love,
Emma
xx
12

Choices.


We all have choices in life, don't we? 

We can choose to walk to the beat of our own drum, or we can choose to be influenced by the voices around us.  Those voices which move us away from the quiet voice in our heart of hearts.  We usually know we have done this when after we make a decision we feel a kind of unrest within ourselves. 

We can choose to have the lovely things we see in the shops, and in magazines.....or we can choose to look for an alternative.

We can choose to eat out and enjoy the atmosphere that it brings, or we can choose to find a different kind of beauty in our homes, and save the money. 

Recently I joined a dear friend out for breakfast with her friends.  I know these other women and they are lovely people.  We are quite different but that’s OK, the world needs different people.  I was bemused as they judged my decision to own a pure bread Scottish Terrier, gasping at the cost.  Declaring they could NEVER afford something like that.  I chuckled as I looked at them with their faces fully made up, hair styled and dyed, clothes on trend.  Showing each other the beautiful jewellery their husbands had bought them, driving their new cars, discussing their husbands footy season tickets.

Their choices resonated with them, mine with us.  Which is OK.  When we say “yes” to something, we say “no” to another.  But I did find the conversation amusing, none the less!

You see for us, Aggie the Scottish Terrier is not just a pet.  She is something we get to experience.  She is a part of the family yes, but she is also a teaching tool for our family.  Aggie, will be a breeding dog.  A partner for her will be carefully selected, genetics thoroughly researched so her offspring will have strong, pure genetic lines.  Our aim will be to preserve and strengthen the breed.  Her litters will be well spaced out, and kept to the very strict pedigree standards.  Our boys will learn about life, birth, finances, about vetinery medicine, the development of puppies.  They will learn responsibility, to care for something dependant on us.  They will learn to love and to say goodbye as we find good homes for the puppies. 

But these are all choices, and we all have them.

Recently Grant and I have made another choice.  To change the way we are selling the shop.  To sell the lease of the business whilst holding onto the building and renting it out.  This is not ideal for us, it will leave us with a small debt, the rent will cover it.  But none the less.  But it does put the business into a completely different price bracket.  We have also accepted the grim reality that business’s in this area are currently only able to be priced 1.5years profit, rather than the traditional 2years profit.  In the long run it will be fine, short term it will be financially tougher.

But we can choose to hold on having our focus on making as much money as possible.  Or we can choose to live the life that resonates within our heart of hearts.

Luckily I don’t care for fancy clothes or shoes huh?

It also means that when we buy a farm it will just be land, there will likely not be a house on it – probably not even a run down little one.  Which in one hand means we get to build, and there are some interesting, cost effective options out there for someone as handy as Grant.  But who on earth will ever rent to a rowdy family like us when the time comes?  3 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats and a flock of chickens…..!  I think it pays not to think about it. 

On the home front we are happily working in the new veggie patch.  I had a good friend come yesterday and I was thrilled to send her home with lemons, grapefruit, spinach and some home made lemon curd.  We have brought manure into the first section of the veggie patch and turned the soil and planted it out with a few winter veggies.  Carrots, broccoli, cauli, cabbage, spinach, kale and marigolds have gone in.  The mulch will go down once the tiny seedlings are a bit bigger.  It’s a bit of an experiment this patch.  I think the soil needs more work, Grant thinks it will be fine, though it will improve over time.  It’s not an ideal time of year to plant, but we have not spent much and it’s a bit of trial and error which brings us great fun.       

I wonder if you are thinking carefully about the choices you are making in your life?  I wonder if there are choices you havn't dared let yourself consider to be an actual possibility? 

Much love,
Emma
xx

25

Winter mornings.

Im not sure what it is about these cool, fresh days but for me, they are motivating!
For so long I have been trying to find my morning mojo, and suddenly along with the cool weather it appears to have rocked up. 

I don't know if it's the grounding routine of gathering wood and lighting the fire, or if it's the fresh, clean cool air?  Either way, Im not complaining.  And neither will our guests tonight - I'm kind of working on a sermon for next week, while really procrastinating on my blog and pottering away on a lemon meraunge pie to break it up.  Made from our home grown lemons.  I'd like to add home grown eggs, but it seems our chooks have turned into a bunch of free loading slackers.....Thanks for that girls.....No amount of varied food, fresh straw, and all you can eat buffet seems to be able to coax them out of their egg withholding slump.  Nope, it seems this cool weather we are happening has ruffled their feathers and they are well and truly sulking about it! 

This little oven requires quite alot of watching, and attention being so small but it still warms the little cottage beautifully.


'Mums are out in full bloom, the plants are leaning over they are so laden with flowers.  Its nice to be able to bring them inside and they last for a full week.

A morning spent pottering in here, washing on, fire crackling, sun shining, Loren Kate playing.


Home made pastry - I know, I feel like I deserve a medal for effort.  Friday night is usually our pizza and wine night with friends.  I am usually on a cooking strike by Friday night....ha!

The old rolling pin is many generations old.  My fathers family used to be dairy farmers in Berry, NSW, and know this pin is from the family farm.  I'm 6th generation Australian, and I'm not sure how long this rolling pin goes back.  It is rustically hand made, though worn smooth from years of use.  It's singed in places from being left too close to a wood fire in it's day I suspect. 

Little Henry size biscuits with the off cuts of the pastry. 

Gladiolas are out!

My greens looking happy and healthy....and the stinging nettles....ouch! 

Henry is tired this morning, still hanging out in his PJ's, watching ABC kids, which seems criminal on a day like today.  But he is tired, Aggie the Scottish TERROR chewed all his dummies....I know, I know, he is too old for dummies but I like sleep, what can I say?  Anyway, last night he didn't sleep with any dummy and he did great - though I feel he didnt sleep all that well.  So a lazy day today. 



Though I did sign up to join in on a blogging workshop HERE on Down to Earth, which I'm really excited about.  I tend to be fumbling about as I go.  So it will be wonderful to get some fresh inspiration and ideas and advice from Rhonda when the time comes. 

On that note, he has just informed me it is time to make play-dough.  So I had better get too it! 

Much love,
Emma.
xx  
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