5 December 2008

Bruggie Brothers Garden Maintenance

In line with our financial training for the children, the older boys Eric (15) and James(12.5) wanted some more funds for the things they wanted. This meant finding a way of earning money from people other than Dad and Mum.
One of the local village residents only comes down every couple of weeks and found the maintenance portion very draining to their enjoyment of village life. So they pay the boys a fixed amount per month to keep the grounds maintained - mowing, leaf clearing, gutter cleaning and so on. This is apportioned to us as a contribution to capital costs (lawn mower, trimmer and so on) and then each of the boys splitting across their savings and spending accounts. This then led to getting more mowing work for a couple more residents on an ad hoc basis.
This photo is the one we use for their business cards for their business: Bruggie Brothers Garden Maintenance.
This has led to another milestone. When the children earn a consistent $10 or more per month they can open up a bank account. This is pretty exciting for them as they see interest received as a bonus money.
"So the bank pays me not to spend my money?" James asked in amazement the other day.
"Yes," I replied, "Ariel earned a week's wages last quarter for leaving the money in her account."
Although the children earn their own money and at least 1/3rd goes into savings, we retain veto rights over their purchases. This has allowed them to learn what is - and more importantly, what is not - appropriate spending.
The other condition to having their own bank account is maintaining their own set of accounts in Quicken. That way we can do reports and see all the money they earned and where it all went.
Reviewing their accounts involve me asking questions like, "Look how much you spent on these items over the last year. How much do you still play with them? Do you still have them?"
This is a great training tool.
I was very interested when James came up to me the other day and asked, "Can you change my savings/spend mix? I want to save half rather than a third."
Woohoo! Tick off that little check box marked "Learn basic financial responsibility".