Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Marble Money: How Our Family Handles Allowance and Chores

It's been a challenge for our family to implement any sort of chore system over the years. Part of the problem is that the systems I have tried rely heavily upon me for successful implementation.

I've tried chore charts (kid sees card, completes card, flips it over when done). I've tried just saying, "Hey, I'll give you 25 cents for XYZ." And I've tried the you're-part-of-the-family-so-do-it method.

While each have worked, it really required me being mindful and constantly remembering that this system needed to be used. I didn't like that. In a word? I needed my kids to have OWNERSHIP. We're also huge Dave Ramsey fans and we wanted to help guide our kids from a young age in using money.

After a life-saving conversation with my friend (check out her about homesteading in the city!), I decided to implement a new system -- and it has been the FIRST to stick. 

I give you: Marble Money.

We have a jar with marbles sitting on the counter. I went to the canning section of my local Walmart and picked up some plastic freezer canning jars. I didn't want to use glass for breakage reasons. 

I also got jars for each of my kids AND for myself. Don't forget the jar for yourself -- it will be the most important jar!

Next I created a printable (with pictures to help my non-reader) of items I am TIRED of asking my kids to do every day and want them to take ownership of. I didn't do traditional chores (like emptying the dishwasher or brooming) because those tasks come sporadically and my children already help out with those. But not flushing toilets? Not picking up their shoes? Leaving dirty dishes out? I'm so over it.

When they complete a task, they earn a marble from the community jar right there on the spot. We yell "Marble Money!" and run to the jar. 

If I complete a task that my children fail to do? Then I get a marble from the community jar. But -- here's the best part -- if there is a task on my list that I fail to do and my children catch me, then they get the marble. 

We decided that Friday will be Marble Money payday. Since our kids can earn quite a few marbles every day, we're making each marble be worth ten cents. But you can totally rewire this project to fit your own needs and do traditional chores worth 25 cents. Or use different size marbles (or beads) to represent different sized/paid tasks.

And the best part of this system for me -- I don't have to remind my kids to do their jobs in a barking sort of way. All I have to do is walk past the table and see a particular child's bowl sitting out and yell, "I see I'm getting some marble money!" The offending child magically appears to take care of their task.

Friends, this is a beautiful thing. Here's to Marble Money!

Want to see how we help our kids have ownership of their school work and daily commitments? Check it out here!


  1. Love this!!! It is work well for us also.

  2. I am totally trying this. I'm sick of having to ask them to do similar tasks.

  3. Great idea! We have never done a chore chart because it always seemed like more work for *me* than for them!

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