By popular demand (with a tip o' the hat to the excellent Get Rich Slowly blog), here's an update on Mommy Dollars. I've written before about
- why I use Mommy Dollars (so I can teach my kids about finances without having spend-thrifts subvert my system);
- how I make the Mommy Dollars themselves;
- my original list of the ways my boys can earn and spend Mommy Dollars;
- updates to that list (like auctions and fines);
- lessons my kids learned from the daily monetary negotiations.
Any economist will tell you that to make a local currency work, you have to make it more powerful at buying what people want than other kinds of currencies. Now that we've been doing Mommy Dollars for nearly 9 months, these are the things that my boys still spend money on:
- TV time ($40 per hour); they buy this about once a week now.
- Fines for not cleaning up their messes (okay, that's not fun for them, but this is the most effective way I've found to change their behavior without constant nagging. I just take their football out of my garden, store it in the trunk of my car, and make them pay $5 to get it back.)
- Surreptitiously competing with one another to see who has the most money.
- Getting extra library books out of the library. (I allow them 2 books for free, and they pay me $2 for each book above that limit. For some reason, this makes them want to take out MORE books, not FEWER books).
- Converting 100 Mommy Dollars to 1 US Dollar, and blowing it all at a yard sale.
- Investing in the Bo-Mama.
- Bedtime snacks.
This last item is a complete sell-out on my part, I know. I'm not going to regale you with the long, convoluted story about how we got to this point of affairs, but I'll confess that I sell my boys 10 gummy-bears for $16 at bedtime. If you can put aside your revulsion at the store-bought, processed, sugar-laden bribery of it all (sigh), I'll point out that these treats have the effect of ensuring that my kids pester me about Mommy Dollars each night. (See the above note about what economists say). And this, in turn, keeps accounts up-to-date, and it encourages the boys to earn extra money the next day so they can continue to get their snack each night.
About 4 or 5 months after I introduced the Mommy Dollars themselves, I opened (with great fanfare) BoMama: the "Bank of Mama". This is how my boys get to invest their money. They had to fill out a horrendously long and laborious (to them) form -- they had to write down their name, address, phone number, and birthday. With a minimum deposit of $100 (Mommy Dollars, of course), they could open an account. They earn interest at a Monthly Percentage Rate set by the banker (me), and that interest gets paid out in US dollars. It's a great deal for them, but they're so young and impulsive that it's still hard for them to take advantage of it. Which, of course, is why it's such a great learning experience. I'll post more on the BoMama if people seem to want to hear more details.
|The BoMama Account Register (click to enlarge).|
|The horrendously long, complicated form that the poor applicant has to fill out ALL BY HIMSELF. (Click to enlarge).|