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IF YOU PAY PEANUTS, YOU GET MONKEYS*
Karin is obsessed with earning money right now...she wants to earn enough for a Playstation 3, which we've refused to buy, since we already have a Wii and PC games galore and they each have DS to boot. We had a Playstation 2, bought used from a friend of ours, for awhile 2 years ago, until it broke, but I already feel like the kids spend enough time playing games on the various screens in the house (including their phones) and don't see the need for yet another game console.

A couple of years ago, we decided it was time to start with allowance, and the kids know that part of how they earn their allowance is by doing the chores they're asked to, willingly and promptly, and for the most part, they are really good about it.

They pick up their rooms (when told), make their beds, dust and vacuum. They set and clear the table and fill and empty the dishwasher. They put their clothes in the hampers, and put their own clothes away when the laundry is done. They help with grocery shopping and putting food away. And they empty the waste baskets and put recycleables in the bins. In addition to all that, they know to help when asked with anything else. So far, it's worked out fairly well and they've collected their 100 kronor a month for allowance with no issues.

We've decided it's also time to raise the allowance a bit, after 2 years, as they are older now, and they do help out more around the house than they used to, although the grinchy part of me thinks, "Hey! I do a heck of a lot of housework and such and nobody is paying ME to do it!"

But lately, Karin's urgency to buy a Playstation 3 is getting a little manic, because she's so close. She had done her research, I'll grant her that. She's checked how much a new one costs and decided to try finding a used one on Blocket. She's awfully close to having enough for that, and on Friday she was calling me at work to ask me what chores she could do to earn money for. Some time ago, I had written a list of "extras" that both kids could refer to, to earn money, that were sort of above and beyond the regular chores. They include things like weeding, mowing, snow shoveling, washing windows, but the list isn't very long, because frankly, I was having trouble coming up with stuff that they could do.

So when she called and asked, I told her she could clean both toilets, inside and out. She could get the rotten pumpkin from the front door into the trash (for a minimum fee) and she could wash windows. Which she proceeded to do! If you've never been to our house, we have a LOT of windows: a grand total of 25. Most of the windows are approximately 90x120cm: there are 13 of those, and 5 that are half that size. Then there are 2 skinny floor-to-almost-ceiling ones, and 3 full-size floor-to-ceiling ones and 2 full size glass doors. That's a LOT of window-washing.

I'll tell you a secret: I HATE washing windows. So much so, that I think the outside windows have only been washed a few times and always by my in-laws. I know, I know. However, they're now too old to volunteer for such things, so we have to pony up and do it ourselves...and it's, well, not been happening. Anyway, Karin decided that was the PERFECT chore and she washed every single window INSIDE the house yesterday, and has plans to do the outsides as soon as it's above freezing. Whee! Child labor at its finest.

At one point, however, she was moaning about how it was really unfair that we wouldn't just BUY the Playstation 3 FOR her, and I gave her the hairy eyeball and said, "Who exactly is it that is providing your allowance, kid? And who is paying you for all the extra chores?" That shut her up and, I hope, gave her a little perspective.

But what I wonder is, apart from things like newspaper routes and babysitting (which I won't let her do until she's at least 12, and which isn't actually as easy to do here in Sweden as it is in the States) and possibly dog-walking/sitting (which we usually do for free), the only other options for the kids to earn any money are to sell things from door-to-door, like the Christmas catalogs or majblommor, which they don't earn much doing. I suppose we could sell stuff they want to get rid of at a flea market instead of donating it as we usually do, but in my experience the money you make at such communal flea markets as they have here in Sweden is seldom worth the time or effort and you usually spend just as much as you make buying crap there yourself.

So, we're back to chores, I guess. And I'm looking for ideas on what else I can offer as a money-making opportunity. I've thought about cleaning out the attic, though that would require adult help, and Anders suggested they could help with the loading up of the stuff to go to the dump that is currently sitting in the garage (again, with adult help), but I'm at a bit of a loss as to what else I can suggest. Any ideas?

*Hee! I loved this quote! (title quote by James Goldsmith)
 curious
mood: curious
music: Madonna—Beautiful Stranger


Comments

That's a hard one. We went through this last year when GHC was trying to save enough to buy himself a wii.

sorting - (books, decorations, drawers)
dusting (places not normally dusted - well *I* have lots of those)
cooking - even if just learning how to get coffee or breakfasts ready, or even get the cereal and milk onto the table (or cleared)
monitoring - making sure the rest of the family remembers to put boots on the boot matts or such like
card making (get a bunch of generic cards ready for thank you notes later on?)

Tough at that age - especially when you don't have pets (why not get a pet? :) )

Those are some good ideas, thanks!

We have fish, and they do help with cleaning the fish tank already. No other pets a possibility, though we do dog-sit and they do help with that when it happens :)

Maybe there are some neighbors that need some chores done that are willing to pay? I bet with all the snow and ice there are some elderly neighbors who might pay to have someone go to the store or take out the recycling. Little errand runners!

Maybe, but I'm a little leery of farming her out :) It's one thing if she's really motivated to do that kind of thing, but I'm hopeful we can keep her occupied at home first :)

Chores I used to do around the house as a teenager.. cleaning bathroom&toilet, vaccuumclean, mop floors (we had a tiled floor throughout the hallway, living, kitchen and landing), do the dishes, window washing, smaller/lighter groceries, cooking.. hmm can't think of much more right now. I didn't get paid for those tho heh -- it was just me and my dad at home so we kinda just split up some of the chores. Maybe.. you could think of doing some of the groceries (if there's stores close by enough to walk to or to go to by bike), or like Kim suggested, help neighbors with the snow and all. Washing cars, though that's more for summer heh. Walking neighbors dogs? Think of things around the house you'd love to get done/changed/finished but you don't have the time/energy etc for that maybe she could help out with? A friend of mine used to get €€for her grades at school.. But personally I don't think I'd like to go there.

Mopping is a good idea...that's usually an extra, and not one of the chores that count toward living in the house and pulling a bit of weight. ;)

And no, no money for grades. *shudder*

Looks like you've got it pretty well covered there Liz, but what about helping to get supper ready? Would it take some of the pressure off you, or would that just be more trouble (adult help)?
Washing windows was a brilliant idea. Can she come do mine? They get done once a year (on the inside), except the kitchen one maybe twice.

They do some parts of that already, and more and more lately, so I don't want to attach a price tag to it. She was bummed that all the people who offered to have her come wash windows live so far away!

From Megsie

Oh, I am terrible at this. I don't have any suggestions, except maybe when you are tired and (if you are like me) irritable, you can offer up a few coin to leave you alone? Or the same if you are really busy? I know that today I would have paid a pretty penny for that! But I am weird. You probably are WAY more normal. Sorry, but I think you have it covered!

Re: From Megsie

haha! Maybe I can pay them to give me more time on MY COMPUTER! :D

My kids' allowance is based on:
--Taking out the garbage
--setting the dinner table
--unloading the dishwasher
--unloading the clothes washer and helping me hang dry
--maintaining rooms in orderly fashion
--hovering the living room

and other, as needed. I have a friend who pays her kids to iron (per piece) but that's too risky for me. I'd hate to end up with scorched clothes!

that's "hoovering". Unless they can levitate.

I wouldn't put it past them! Yours OR mine! :D

My windows need cleaning and I have a couple of closets that need sorting and our dog needs walking. Want to rent her out? Too bad you live so far away!

I would pay for Karin to wash my outdoor windows too! As far as other money-making chores, you better believe that I am going to provide incentive for my girls once they're at a reasonable age (say, 6 1/2) to do the work that I most dislike: washing the dishes, cleaning out the microwave, mopping, cleaning the shower grout, sweeping the balconies... Maybe I can even get them to do the paper-filing for me? :)

Karin says she'll come to Italy in a hot second to wash windows! :D YOu're the second person who mentioned mopping, can't think why I didn't come up with that one: I hate mopping!

Speaking of which, any plans to come back this way in the near future? (Or elsewhere in Europe too. There's talk of Belgium this summer.)

Ohhh, I love Belgium :) It was home for 3 years, though I love Holland even more. Anders is talking Iceland, and we also hope to hit southern Germany after my brother's baby is born, but no definite plans yet.

I see they put their stuff in the hampers and put the (folded?) clothes away later but do you feel she's old enough to learn to do the laundry? When I was too young to get a job but looking for stuff to earn money, my mom used to pay me to iron as she always had a big basket of ironing. These days I don't know that anyone has much that needs ironing but she paid me ten cents an item. In the season, my dad used to pay us to get the dandelions out of the yard. A penny for every head, ten cents if you got the whole root.

How old is she now?

She's 11. We don't iron, hardly ever. Anders does his own (rare) ironing, and the only thing I ever do is tablecloths after a party...not often enough to be useful to her. But definitely weeding, once there's anything to weed :)

Beat the carpets, scrub the floorboards, wipe down all doors and lightswitch covers, straighten/organize linen cupboard, polish wood furniture. Those were some things we did to earn extra allowance when we were kids.

Oh! Thank you, those are some excellent ideas! I hadn't thought of carpets or polishing!

I am loving all these great ideas! Working for money is a great idea, and you will have more options when it gets a wee bit warmer. You know, maybe when she's down to the last 20 bucks or so, you could make up the difference as a surprise. As for chores...how about washing the baseboards? I love that she's washing windows! You know, that's something I've NEVER done...other than windexing(i just made that up!) the insides. This is going to be so good for her...learning how to do all sorts of chores. I also vote on her learning to do the laundry, if she hasn't already.

:) Sam

I never do it, either, aside from windexing the insides, and I know there are windows in the this house that I have never touched! Laundry is a good one, and so is the baseboards...which I confess I'd never thought of, like that. :D

I have no advice on chores for your children, but Karin should be told about the risks of buying a second hand console. While I in principle am all for second hand items - and being a vintage video computer/game collector myself - recently I've heard about more and more PS3 units suffering the Yellow Light of Death, abbreviated YLOD. For many years, its main competitor the Xbox 360 has suffered the Red Ring of Death (RROD) and people have come to learn about its issues with overheating but it was rarely mentioned that PS3 units can overheat too. As far as I'm concerned, those issues have somewhat recently begun to show up on a few years old PS3 units. With a brand new unit you get warranty, which might not be the case with a second hand unit even if it is significantly cheaper.

Thanks, I'll pass along the info to my husband as well.

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