How my 3 year old is earning her own money!

How kids can earn money

*Photo credit

After all the mistakes that both the hubby and I have made with money over the last 15 years or so, we’re determined that our little girl (who I’m going to refer to as ‘G’ from now on) will learn enough about money to know what to do with it when she needs to. So, we’re starting really early with our lessons about money for her.

Lately, I’ve been using a reward system to encourage good behaviour, so whenever G is being good (like eating all her veggies at dinner time or going to bed without fuss at bedtime), she gets a sticker. Thank goodness for stickers because they really do make her world go around!

Anyway, G has shown an interest in money for a while now, so I’ve been letting her handle coins frequently and she always pays the shop assistant which she really loves doing. We have this little game going on where Mummy gets to keep the silver coins and she gets to keep the brown ones. Daddy sometimes gets to keep the gold coins but not all that often. :)

G has been asking questions about why Mummy and Daddy work and why do we have to pay for ‘things’ that we buy at the shops. I’ve been trying to explain to G that Mummy and Daddy go to work to earn money and with that money we have to buy items like food or other things that we need. When we go out to the shops, we talk about how much money we have with us and what we’re going buy with it.

A few days ago, after noticing that G had made her bed all by herself, I praised her and explained that she’d really helped me by saving me a job. She laughed and said that making the bed was her ‘work’. So I told her that every time she helped me or her Daddy, I would pay her for her ‘good work’. I went on to say that this isn’t the same kind of reward as for good behaviour (although this does help nicely), but rather when she carries out a task around the house, she’ll get paid for ‘earning’ money. Payment would be silver coins (i.e. 5p per job well done).

Well, I don’t think I’ve seen her face light up as much as this since last Christmas! She seemed to love the idea of doing some ‘work’ to get these little silver coins which she has told me she’d like to spend at the toy shop once she’s saved enough money up! Since our negotiation, she’s been tidying her playroom, helping me unpack the food shopping and unloading the dishwasher (not the cutlery).

A little bit of appropriate responsibility seems to make her feel really grown up! I think this might be a good way to teach her some very basic knowledge about how money comes about and what you can do with it.

What do you think? Is earning money from a young age a good idea?

*Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos.

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  1. 1


    I think this is a great idea! When I was growing up, not that I’m necessarily a good example I am in debt afterall, my parents refused to pay my brother and I an “allowance”. Instead we were paid for jobs we did, nothing more nothing less. There was list of things to do with the dollar amount listed next to the item and we had to “sign up” for which jobs we wanted to do. We were a littlle older, I think 5-6 when this system was implemented, though my parents had us doing some “chores” much earlier, when we were around your G’s age.

    • 2


      I like the idea of signing up for jobs, I’ll definitely implement that when G is older. Giving her a choice about the ‘work’ she undertakes will make me feel a little more relaxed about it I think. Your parents sound like they did a great job with showing you and your brother the importance of earning money, you still remember those lessons even now.

  2. 3


    Your daughter sounds adorable! I was the same way when I was younger (I also loved stickers). My parents got me a chore chart and they would tally up how much I did at the end of the week. I would get paid accordingly. I think you’re well on your way to teaching her financial responsibility.
    E.M. recently posted…Would You Buy A New or Old House?My Profile

    • 8


      Hi Money Beagle, I’m so sorry that you’re unsubscribing because of the RSS feed. I didn’t realise it was set to summary but I will change this as soon as I figure out how to do it and let you know once it’s been changed. I really appreciate you bringing this to my attention and hope that you subscribe again soon.

  3. 9


    I’m sure you already know what my response will be – YES! I love that your daughter is already learning the value of earning money at such a young age. She’s already connecting delivering good work means earning money to buy things she wants, rather than Mom and Dad just handing her money or buying her things. Such important lessons that so many kids never get. Love this, Hayley!
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…Women’s Power Wednesday: Part 3My Profile

  4. 11


    Aww, G sounds like a lovely little girl and it’s great she’s shown interest in helping out to “earn” some silver coins that she can then spend at the toy store 😉 I’m not an expert on raising children by any means, but I think it’s a great idea! Did you get her a piggy bank? I really like the ones they sell at Clinton’s (called a pot of dreams) and I actually want to get myself one, lol!
    Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…2014 Goals – Q1 ReviewMy Profile

  5. 12


    I think earning money and doing jobs from a young age is incredibly important. I never earned money for doing regular chores (making my bed, feeding the dog etc.) because my parents felt that I should do those things anyway, but I did receive money when I was doing something that wasn’t my responsibility (taking out the trash, helping wash my parents’ cars etc.)
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted…But I Was Budgeting So Well…My Profile

  6. 13


    I spent my first 2 years in school under the care of my grandmother from whom I earned coins for completing basic home duties. It made me look forward to weekends when I felt high and mighty shopping for things I needed with the coins I earned for the week. This was in the early 70’s so please note how it felt like it was shopping spree for me every weekend. It felt so good to earn and spend your own money at a young age. Later on, she taught me wise spending and they were the same lessons I taught my children.
    Jen @Sprout Wealth recently posted…3 Simple Ways to Start Making Extra Money NowMy Profile

  7. 14


    Have you thought about having her put some of the money she “earns” toward savings and another portion toward charity? It’s important that she knows she has to work for the money, but also that she learns she can’t spend all of it on things she “wants”. Just a suggestion. :) You are headed in the right direction!
    Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…Thing Thursday 3/27/2014My Profile

  8. 15


    I think you’re laying the ground work for a good work ethic later on. I like how you’re rewarding work well done, not just mailing it in. I think that’s a big distinction from the allowance, which is more like a steady paycheck rather than a relationship between the quality of work and the reward. Well done, Hayley!
    Done by Forty recently posted…Opportunity Costs are Sunk CostsMy Profile

  9. 16


    hey Hayley and thanks for sharing this story about your little one!!

    G is going to grow up to be fiscally responsible and will no doubt have a greater understanding of money than most adults…me included :)

    As you know, it is really important for kids at a young age to realize that money and stuff just doesn’t pop up from the ground. I remember thinking that all I needed to do was walk into a bank, fill out a withdrawal slip for whatever amount and then present it to the bank teller for immediate cash. I quickly found out that THAT was not the way the world worked and I was heartbroken :( And to this day…I’m still heartbroken!!

    Take care Hayley and my best to all.

    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted…Simple Pleasure – Happy :)My Profile

  10. 17


    I am a HUGE proponent of this and I think the younger the better! We have been practicing strong financial habits with my son since he was five and now he is eight and they are a part of his financial life fabric. He automatically thinks financial choices through, weighs the pros and cons and makes smart choices with his money on his own. His financial literacy is one of the things I am most proud of as a parent.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Women’s Power WednesdayMy Profile

  11. 20


    I am not a parent yet, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I do think that your idea is a good one. Kids working for their money from a young age instills a work ethic and removes any sort of entitlement to things even if they don’t work for it. It will teach your daughter some great lessons. Good job!


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