No go for the poop!

My kids have been complaining about their lack of funds lately, so I came up with an ingenious offer that I would have scooped up in a heart beat if I were a kid ;)

For every (clump) of dog poop you pick up from our yard, I will give you 50¢!

BOOM! One less task for me, and more cash for them – which should literally only take like 15 seconds. And where can you find an hourly rate like that as a kid?! You’d think this would have motivated them, but no. After two weeks and approximately 0 scoops my genius idea was proven to be not that genius at all 🙃

So I did what any good problem solver would do – I upped it to $1.00 a clump (DOUBLE the reward!!!). But sadly that didn’t fair much better either, clocking in with a total of just *1* scoop out of about 130 opportunities given… And that was only after me hinting there was a golden prize right next to their feet where they were playing!

So back to the beginning we were, with me in the fields again scooping away, and them very much still in want of money… Though if you ask me, if you can’t even bend over for a few seconds to earn some quick cash, do you actually really want it that bad? ;)

(As an aside, I’m writing all this on my phone right now in the middle of the gastrointestinal office awaiting my own colonoscopy results, haha… Poo is on the mind today!! UPDATE: I’m in the clear!  They found a polyp in there during the procedure, but apparently it was “the good kind” so I’m set to go for another 5 years – #Adulting)

After marinating on it for a while and trying to come up with a more enticing offer, we realized we’ve never officially implemented any type of “allowance” deal yet with our family. And perhaps now was just the time to enact one? Maybe the incorporation of  *timelines* and getting weekly paychecks would motivate them more?

Or maybe they just really don’t like poop, I dunno, but either way at 10, 9 and 5 it was high-time they start appreciating where money came from more. Especially if they’re gonna take over this blog one day ;)

I remember how important allowances were for ME growing up, even if I was only getting paid $1.00/week and all my friends made fun of me (!!!), but it was enough to give me a little freedom and push in the right direction. So I dug up an old wipey board from the basement and got to work…

Here’s what I came up with:

chore chart

Each kid has one daily task to complete, and if they accomplish it – AND – keep up with their other general responsibilities like making their bed and cleaning up after themselves, they’ll be entitled to an allowance at the end of the week.

If, however, they only do a partial job in any area, they’ll then get a 1/2 check and too many 1/2 checks will result in less of an allowance at the week’s end. You’ll see Baby Dime up there already got one after a couple of days rockin’ it.

As for their pay? $3.00/week. BUT! This isn’t just any ordinary allowance, oh no. As recommended by my oldest son, Baby Penny, we’ll be following the concept from the book Three Cups by Tony Townsley*. A fantastic read that surprisingly all three of my kids love! And one that recommends splitting allowances into 3 equal parts:

  • 1 cup for spending
  • 1 cup for savings
  • and 1 cup for giving

Thereby teaching kids the importance of all THREE, and getting those habits started early. Even stars like Angeline Jolie does this!! Though perhaps filling up their houses with cash instead of plastic cups 😂 And since my kids will be *manually* receiving and divvying up their cash each week vs digitally on a screen, hopefully it’ll all sink in even more too. I’ve already headed to the bank to get stacks of ones now that I’ll be turning into an ATM!

cash gif

[live shot of me flipping through a stack]

I gotta give my oldest boy mad credit again for this. We were originally going to start their allowances at $2.00/week which they could do whatever they want with, but it was him who brought up the book and said he’d like to get a little more involved and give back. I almost cried and immediately changed it.

And as you can see, we’re off to a great start! Everyone is more or less doing their part each day, and I can already tell they’re taking it seriously and excited for what they can now do with their extra money. We’ll see how long it lasts, but for now I’m a proud dad, and I’d like to think a *smart* one too ;)

Hopefully the $$$ teachings of your kids are going well for you over there! If any of them are interested in scooping up poop, my $1.00/offer is still on the table!

Yours in daddying,

j. money signature

*I first read Three Cups when we did a giveaway for it here on the blog over 13 years ago – way before any of my kids were born or I even had to think about allowances! Highly recommend checking out if you’re going down similar adventures right now.

three cups

*Links to book are Amazon affiliate links

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  1. Robin July 25, 2023 at 9:21 AM

    When I was a kid my dad paid a penny per crab apple. We filled up multiple 5 galloon buckets and he realized he was going to go broke and he certainly didn’t want to count all of the crab apples so he then paid us per the bucket. I don’t remember how much but it kept us busy.

    1. J. Money July 25, 2023 at 9:22 AM

      Haha… much better than poop 😂

  2. Jennifer Spillane July 25, 2023 at 10:23 AM

    Great plan!
    Another “add on” to the allowance lesson is interest. While I get that having cash in the hand imparts the significance of money in a very material way, having the kiddo help with and review a spreadsheet every month allowed him to a. start using Excel and b. help understand interest. He would get an allowance each week, which was a deposit into an actual account I created at our credit union, however we would also input the into his spreadsheet. Any month where he did NOT spend any money, he received 5% interest on his money. Any month were he withdrew money to buy something, he earned 1% interest.
    How this played out in the real word, an example: we are at a theme park, at age 9, he wants a junkie plastic sword. I advised he would have to use his own money, because as always I don’t buy overpriced junk. He chooses to buy the sword for $17.99. Said sword broke before we left the park. At the end of the month his spreadsheet showed him that instead of earning around $11 in interest, he earned $2. He looked at me and said “that plastic-crap sword cost me 28 dollars!”
    The kid is now 30 and he pays himself first, and pays off his points-earning credit card every month. I don’t think I could have ever explained the loss of interest opportunity better than the sword situation…as he calls it.

    1. J. Money July 26, 2023 at 7:42 AM

      HAH! Love it!!! I can see us going down something similar down the road… Especially around the spreadsheets – that’s a great thing to learn early on with tracking this stuff! And maybe seeing their net worth decline with every major “purchase” will help them save it more too? :)

  3. Gwen @ Fiery Millennials July 25, 2023 at 5:11 PM

    Too often as a kid my allowance was tied to chore performance. I thought it was worth it to skip chores even if it meant I didn’t get my $2 that week. It taught me my chores were only about money, not about being part of the family and keeping our living spaces clean. As an adult, I wish I had had chores to do and an allowance that wasn’t tied to the chores, with opportunities to earn extra money or punishments that were related to housekeeping and not financial. I had to learn how to take care of my own space because I deserved to live in a clean, less cluttered space.

    1. J. Money July 26, 2023 at 7:45 AM

      Yup yup, I can see that… In this case it’s 100% tied to chores as they literally ask me all the time “What can I do for money??? I NEED SOME WHAHHHH!!!!” lol but I also love that it gives them an opportunity to (physically) manage money too… Not sure how you can have chores and allowances together without it being tied together?

      1. Matt @ Menagerie Games July 26, 2023 at 11:59 AM

        We had this dilemma when starting the kids on allowance and I just reused what my parents told me. If you don’t do your chores, you don’t get your allowance, and then you’ll later do those chores and still not get your allowance. You don’t get to pick and choose if chores are worth it. Chores are part of being part of the family, but there are consequences to not doing them.

        Starting the kids on an allowance was the best idea ever. It instantly ended the constant I want this toy or candy or whatever. You want it, spend your allowance on it. It’s also interesting to watch my oldest be a super saver and my youngest spend it almost as quickly as he gets it.

        We also use the save, spend, donate, and they are very involved in where their donate goes. Currently a giving tree at Christmas time, but other opportunities have come up too.

        1. J. Money July 26, 2023 at 12:23 PM

          It’s amazing how the tunes change once they have to spend *their* money on something 😂

  4. freddy smidlap July 26, 2023 at 8:34 AM

    i wonder where all those single dollar bills have been? have they circulated through strippers’ g-strings?

    i’ll come pick up dog poop for $1 a pop. i do it now for free!

    1. J. Money July 26, 2023 at 9:43 AM

      I love the ATMs at strip clubs – they only dispense $1s!!

      … at least, that’s what my friends tell me 👀

  5. Shelly North July 28, 2023 at 10:50 AM

    My allowance had a similar ring. I got a dollar a week. And every time I did not make my bed I lost a quarter. A lot of bubblegum and liquorice cigars could be purchased for a dollar. Not so much with 2 bits. To this day I making my bed is of importance to me!! Thanks dad for the housekeeping lesson.

    1. J. Money July 28, 2023 at 4:20 PM

      Haha a great habit indeed 💪

  6. Brian @ Kid Wealth July 30, 2023 at 4:52 PM

    I had no luck with getting my kids to pick up dog poop either. We always have some with the dog boarding business we do. It’s reasonable that they should get a cut for that job.

    One of the best books I’ve read on kids and money was The Bank of Dad. I wrote a review of it at KidWealth – It’s a quick read too.

    So my oldest (10) wanted more money this summer and I used a plan from that. Make them “apply for a raise in writing” – LOL. I had to judge it on a big curve, because he put two minutes into typing it up – a big difference from what he could do at school in that school mode.

    I made a proposal for him to raise his allowance. I gave him three kids-based personal finance “courses” to complete. Each one was worth a bump-up in allowance. No permanent extra work to do.

    So far it’s stalled out after the first part for each kid. In fairness, they have a busy camp schedule and when they get home, we want to catch a local band performing a summer concert. They aren’t sitting around with tons of time on their hands.

    You can read more about my experiment here:

    1. J. Money July 31, 2023 at 7:32 AM

      hah! creative!!

      I like that idea of having them submit essays 😂 I bet it’s super entertaining to hear their perspective but also shows once again whether they *really* want the money or not! (ie if they take the time to actually write it up).

      Going now to check out those links, thx man…

  7. Financial Fives August 3, 2023 at 1:31 PM

    Hilarious! Teaching the value of a dollar takes many forms, but you’re going to have much more practical children if they see how many people touch their lives that they didn’t even consider before! (I know Paperboy isn’t a thing anymore, but hopefully, those jobs have been supplemented by DoorDash and the like).

    1. J. Money August 4, 2023 at 8:20 AM

      Paperboy was an excellent Nintendo game back in the day too 😁

  8. Marcel August 9, 2023 at 8:12 AM

    That’s brilliant, the three cup strategy will be relevant to a lot of ocmu’s now and in adulthood, and well done you!


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