how we do things: the money bowls

Allowance bowl<– Money Bowl

  • The Mayhew kids went to their loving mother and said, “Mom, we’d like to do extra odd jobs to earn money to save for things like college or annuities.”

Mom Mayhew clapped her hands in joy and showered the children in countless dollar bills.

They all lived happily ever after.

The end.

And then the earth exploded and candy came out!

So the kids DID ask to make extra money by doing odd jobs.

So I gave each kids a plastic bowl like the one you see above.

We got a pack of poker chips that has parent initials (for id) on them and a dollar among on the front.

  • white = $1
  • red = $2
  • blue = $5

So for a job completed the kids can collect poker chips and then turn them in to be collected.

Example: We are at Target and Peyton sees a book she HAS TO HAVE OR SHE’LL DIE.  She knows she has $5 in poker chips in her bowl at home and tells mom she really wants to spend the money. Mom pays cash for the book, then when Peyton gets home she takes the $5 in chips to mom, mom gives her the book, the world goes on.

Yes, the poker chips are the kids’ first debit cards.


  • jobs like making your bed and taking out the trash are expected, not paid
  • you don’t get paid jobs until expected jobs are done
  • telling mom you love her WILL NOT GET YOU EXTRA CHIPS


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18 Responses to how we do things: the money bowls

  1. HeatherS August 17, 2011 at 12:08 AM #

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to do the allowance thing all summer…this just might work for us! Also, trying not to give the kids too much of a sense of entitlement…where do you draw the line between what’s expected and what earns money? Mine are 6 & 9. I’ve had a hard time feeling my way around this. Any reader suggestions welcome.

    • Anissa Mayhew August 17, 2011 at 10:07 AM #

      It came to making a list of “chores” and a “list of “pay jobs” and they couldn’t do the pay jobs until the chores were done.

      Also, when there’s been something we really wanted to stress as important we gave them a $5 blue chip they couldn’t cash for however many weeks. It was taped by their light switch so they saw it all the time. Then we’d as long as jobX was done every day, they kept the chip, but if they forgot they had to go get the chip and hand it in and start over.

      The entitlement thing went away with making the kids do some charity work that involved showing them truly less fortunate people.

      It had a real impact on them.

  2. IzzyMom August 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM #

    Did you see my “A Chore System That Actually Works?” post from July? It’s similarish but the kids get their money when their thing is full.

  3. Becca August 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM #

    That is an awesome idea for which I might share my mother of the year award with you. Can I just say I’ve been stalking– I mean following you for a couple of years now, and I have a major girl crush on you. You rock.

    • Anissa Mayhew August 10, 2011 at 4:55 PM #

      Does this mean we go on a date now?

  4. Elisa August 5, 2011 at 2:46 PM #

    Awesome system! We have one of those responsibility charts from Melissa & Doug, but this might be more straightforward!

    • Anissa Mayhew August 10, 2011 at 4:57 PM #

      I tried those, but for my kids it got too complicated and they liked having the poker chips as “currency”

  5. robyn L August 4, 2011 at 10:32 PM #

    One summer when I was about 13, we had literal bowls of change that we collected. We called them “money bowls”. :) So, the title of this post took me WAAAAAY back. And made me think that perhaps there was another family as crazy as mine to have something called “money bowls” in their house. :)

    • Anissa Mayhew August 10, 2011 at 4:58 PM #

      We are totally as crazy…why do you think we have id initial?

      &$^#$^#$&%U%& thieves!

  6. utah hostage August 2, 2011 at 1:18 PM #

    This is such a great idea! Think it will it work for bribes too? ;)

  7. kyooty August 2, 2011 at 11:26 AM #

    Mom? What can I do for you today? I just got home from Vacation and could use a poker chip or two?
    In our house we used the chips too but they are only worth 25cents for the lowest and 1.00 for the highest. I assign things like making beds/laundry collection to the 25cents, and 1.00 for things like running the washing machine. Our oldest gets 5.00 for mowing hte back lawn.

  8. buffi August 2, 2011 at 1:15 AM #

    This is absolutely fantastic. I have been trying to find a way to do allowance/odd jobs for my three without actually handing them cash…which they promptly lose. This will go into effect next week.

    Also? “And then the earth exploded and candy came out!” This is why I love you so.

  9. Elizabeth @Table4Five August 1, 2011 at 2:40 PM #

    That’s genius!

  10. crazypants August 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM #

    I’m totally copping this idea when I have kidlets that are old enough for chores.

    I like the ID portion, so I can say “Daddy clearly spiked the bowl. I’m deducting $7.”

    • Anissa Mayhew August 10, 2011 at 5:00 PM #

      The kids should give me a kickback!

  11. Cassie August 1, 2011 at 11:20 AM #

    Such a good idea!! I hope I’m this smart when I have kids!

  12. how we do things: the money bowls: <– Money Bowl
    The Mayhew kids went to their loving mother and said, “Mom, we’…

    • Wendy [mapsgirl] August 4, 2011 at 2:10 PM #

      This is fantastic!!!

      I’ve got to do this with my kids. Thanks for sharing your tricks :)

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