Giving kids an allowance is a topic that all parents have to address the moment the kiddos catch on to the value of money. And whether you’re on team “You live here, that’s your allowance” or team “One dollar for making your bed, two dollars for getting an A,” there really is no right or wrong way to do it. Our Chatbooks mama-with-the-most, Rikki, is here to talk about how she handles allowance with her seven kids.

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“As my kids have gotten older, they’ve developed social lives. And these social lives come with a price tag. There’s the roller rink (it’s making a comeback!), sporting events, movies, FroYo dates, and mall roaming. I want my kids to be social and enjoy time with friends, but money doesn’t grow on trees, dangit!”

Rikki wanted to be supportive of her kids’ social activities, but paying seven children for basic chores would cost anyone a small fortune. So she had to get creative in her approach. One day she had a lightbulb moment….

“Imagine this,” said Rikki. “Three weeks’ worth of sporting equipment, bikes, shoes, yard junk, trash, and sidewalk chalk had accumulated in and around the front yard and garage, straight-up Clampetts style. The last thing I wanted to do was organize those smelly football pads and baseball gloves. Enter my 14 year-old: he would like some money to go to the movies. RING A DING DING!”

Rikki told her son she would pay him to clean up the front yard and garage. “Of course, he moaned. He’s a teenager. But he also wanted the moolah, so off he went to earn his reward. I got a clean yard (and the HOA off my back, hah, hah), and he got the sensation of a little wad of cash in his pocket! Win. Win.”

It’s simple. Kids want money. There are plenty of jobs moms need to have done that moms themselves have zero interest in doing. And since parents (usually) have to provide money for kids regardless, you might as well pay them to do the jobs that you do not want to to. “It’s the ultimate mom hack,” said Rikki. Such a great one, in fact, that it was included in the book Real Moms, Real Hacks, written by Rikki’s sister, Vanessa Quigley, our Chatbooker-in-Chief!

Rikki has been hacking her way through all of life’s most discouraging chores by assigning tasks to her kiddos.

“I regularly employ my kids to wash out the cat box, detail my car, clean the kitchen cabinets, and scrub the baseboards. Running a household of nine humans, two cats and one dog is no walk in the park (and with a little squinting can resemble a scene out of Hoarders). But with a bit of ingenuity and (child) elbow grease, I’ve managed to keep things in decent shape while granting my kids a small amount of financial freedom.”

Any parent who has cracked the code on this form of out-of-the-box allowance giving will tell you that it instills a sense of fiscal responsibility in your wee ones. Rikki said the biggest bonus is just how much her kids are beginning to understand the value of the dollar. “Are those name brand shoes reeeeeeally worth the cost of picking up after the dog?” she now gets to ask. Now that’s a mom win!

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Rikki Anderson is the little sister of our own Chatbooker-in-Chief, Vanessa Quigley.

Rikki is a Florida transplant, living in the shadows of Utah’s mountains. She’s been married for 17 years, has seven kids, two cats, a dog, and a neverending to-do list. Most of the time you can find her at her kids sporting events or trying to pressure her husband into just one more cat.