Debt Free at Age 5

Miss Love owed her daddy some money.

Because she did not take care of his stuff, something expensive got broken.   based on the circumstances, we decided that Miss Love needed $25 to pay daddy back.

$25 is a huge amount of money for her.

This was money that was not going to come out of her Long Term Savings, and it wasn’t just going to come out of Xmas or Birthday Money (Although she did get a $2 bill for Xmas that I let count, because what else is she going to do with it.  Daddy kind of collects them and we are not starting that with Miss Love, but more on that in the future.) This was money that she was going to have to earn.

We have a list of jobs that can be done, and whenever I think of something new I ask her if she wants a job.  It’s not the same as chores.  She can say no if she wants.  At Nana’s house over the holidays she did some work.  They pay more for washing windows than I do, but like Papa said, their windows were bigger, and probably dirtier.  She did a collection of odd jobs, windows, floors, bathrooms, etc. to collect dimes and quarters to pay off her debt.

It took her a couple of months, but today we counted up the money.  And she had earned $23.  I was really proud of her.  When we first agreed on the repayment plan, I was worried that it was too much for her.  She is only 5.  But I think she has felt good about making this right.  She has worked hard and had to give up things that she wanted to buy.  But I don’t think we could have come up with a more powerful lesson on many if we had tried.

But she was still $2 short.

So we made a plan.  We looked at the jobs that she could do, and how much money she would earn doing them.  She chose enough jobs so that she could earn the money (minus tithe) to pay Daddy back today.  She was actually quite giddy when she was dusting the stairs.

I joked that she could call in to Dave Ramsey and yell, “I’m Debt Free!…”

She just looked at me.

I think I am going to have to learn to love that look.

I think she has learned that having debt sucks (can I say that here?)

More to check out:

Leave me a comment.  Tell me you stopped by.  And do you think I am a terrible mother for making my five-year old earn $25?


8 Responses to “Debt Free at Age 5”

  1. Janna Says:

    Sounds like she learned a valuable lesson. Making restitution can be a very freeing thing.

    Have you read “One Grain of Rice” by Demi? This is a great book to teach kids about the principle of compounding and one of my favs.

  2. Kendra aka The Meanest Momma Says:

    I love this and think it’s great! We need to be better organized about ways our kids can earn money and what the value of money means.

    I wonder, in our home, if we had this scenario, if my 6 year old would have been committed to the task. What was the downside of not earning the money?

    • teaching money to kids Says:

      Well, she has a list of things that she wants to buy, so she couldn’t save up for those things until all debts were paid. So the call of the pink alarm clock may have been a good motivator.
      Good question.

  3. Amy Lynne Says:

    What a great lesson on accepting responsibility! I strongly believe in teaching kids to accept responsibility for their actions good or bad. Now she will always remember this lesson.

  4. The Diaper Diaries Says:

    Wow, that is really great. I love that you are teaching her responsibility at such a young age.

  5. Finer Things Friday: Out of the Blue Says:

    […] Mary Jo @ Covenant Homemaking 27. Staci @ teaching money to kids (debt free @ age 5) 28. Hallee the Homemaker – It’s the Little Things in Life 29. Newlyweds (Garden and New […]

  6. Amy @ Finer Things Says:

    I think teaching our children responsibility at an early age is a finer thing!

  7. Jenn @ Beautiful Calling Says:

    Oh, that is a good thing to teach the importance of caring for others possessions and the value of money! Young and impressionable, this is the best time to learn!

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