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The Money Messenger -- Getting Ready for Spring
March 05, 2009


Welcome to Issue #14 of The Money Messenger!

The Money Messenger brings you the latest on your kids and money.

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The Money Messenger

In This Issue

Springing into Spring Now's the time to plan for the coming season changes, and there are ideas in this issue to help with just that. The articles focus on spring jobs and spring chores. In the coming warm weather (hopefully!), the options for these two things grow.

A reader's question on the how to get back on track with an allowance program that has gotten a little derailed

What's new and what's next?

Note from Jennifer

Spring is just around the corner. I can't wait for my kids to be able to get outside instead of trying to burn their energy off by running laps through the kitchen and living room.

Spring is also a great time to take advantage of new job options for kids and teens. It seems that longer days and warmer weather create opportunities for everyone - no matter what age. Now is the time to plan for that and talk to neighbors (and other customers) about what you can do.

The other thing that longer days and warmer weather bring is....spring chores! There are chores for inside and out that everyone in the family can help with. Now is the time to review the chore charts and contracts to see what needs to be updated for the new season.

Our last issue was a special edition that focused on kid and teen entrepreneurs. If you missed it or misplaced it, grab your copy at the back issues page (see links at the bottom of this issue).

I still need YOUR help with is to get your stories. Everyone wants to hear more from each other! Personally, reader stories are my favorite part of any newsletter or magazine so I can't wait to make this addition. But I need your help! Please drop me a note at to tell me your story (and you can remain anonymous if you like).


Feature Article
Spring Jobs for Kids and Teens

Spring showers bring May flowers...and lots of opportunities to earn money. No matter what age the kids are - from preteen all the way through full-fledged teenagers - spring jobs are a great way to earn some extra money and possible get a head start on summer jobs. Here are some ideas to get started.

  • Spring cleaning assistant. There are so many options on things that an assistant can do. Kids and teens can tailor their services to what their neighbors and customers need. If the neighborhood has large yards, offer to do basic "spring prep" yardwork such as clearing out dead leaves and flowers, laying down fresh mulch, planting spring flowers and washing off winter-dirty lawn furniture. Or, there is plenty of indoor work too. Spring sunshine can show dirty windows and lots of dust that the winter dreariness hid.
  • Sports coaching and refereeing. The spring sports season is in sign-up mode in our area. Consider private coaching or lessons for younger kids. Or hold a clinic for 10 neighborhood kids on a Saturday. Leagues also often need refs for the coming games. Teens with practical experience are often at the top of the list to be considered.
  • Lawn and garden centers. Spring planting season is just around the corner. Lawn and garden centers of all sizes are set to hire to be able to serve customers. Even younger teens can find work at local centers by helping customers load plants into their cars and doing basic watering.
  • Babysitting. Why is this a great spring job when it can be done at any time of the year? Parents are going to get busy again (ok, at least this parent is!) with multiple sports and end of year school programs not to mention all that spring cleaning that they need to do. Now can be a great time to take some of the stress out of those things by babysitting the siblings not attending the events or watching all the kids so parents can get some housework done.

These are just a few ideas of spring job options. What kid and teen jobs can you come up with to take advantage of the change in seasons?

Feature Article
Spring Chores...Get the Family Involved

I was thankful when the groundhog saw his least 6 more weeks not worrying about all the spring chores that will need to be done. Even if the sun comes out, I can tell myself that it is just an extra warm day, and the cold will be back. Why spend that great day doing chores?

But I'm running out of winter excuses and spring is knocking at the door. And I can see spring chores right behind.

So how do enjoy spring while doing those spring chores - and get the kids to help out? Try these ideas for starters.

  • Make a list. List all of the chores that need to be done. This should include things that only need to be done once (washing the curtains) as well as new weekly or daily chores. Be sure to include how often each chore needs to be done - either by putting it out to the side or making separate lists.
  • Talk about the best way to get them done as a family. For instance, if your list of one-time chores has 5 items on it, one option may be to have a family chore day. Everyone pitches in and gets these chores done in one day. You can celebrate and reward the hard work with take-out pizze or some other special family treat. If you have a whole list of new weekly chores, take a look at who can do them and whether there are any other chores they can give up or to someone else.
  • Write it down - in pencil. When you think you have a plan, put it on paper and have everyone look at it. Just to be sure. It may sound good in a family meeting but then once it gets on paper, you might see that one family member has way too many (or too little).
  • Write it down - in pen. When everyone agrees to the new plan, adjust chore charts, chore contracts and/or allowances for the changes.
  • Review it after a month. Even if you have experience with chores, you may find that the changes aren't working out. Maybe the kids got into heavy homework toward the end of the school year or are going to compete in a state competition with practice taking loads more time. Don't be afraid to make changes to make it work for your family. Adapting chore programs to your family is part of the process - and if it makes sticking to it easier on everyone, go for it!

The best part of spring chores is that they signal a change in the season. Use that to your advantage and spruce up your chore programs just as you get everything else ready for spring, too.

Use this link to get even more info on chore programs, chore charts and chore contracts.

Ask the Editor!

Here's where I answer your questions. Jenna has 2 kids who each get an allowance, but they haven't been consistently getting one. What is the best way to make sure that allowances are paid on time? Here's the advice:

This sounds all too familiar to me. Just this past week my own kids asked if they got double allowance this week because we didn't pay them the week before. Ummm....funny how they didn't miss it before then.

One of the key principles of an allowance program and helping kids learn to manage money is to pay it consistently. It can be one of the easiest to forget though. Here are some of the tips and tricks to getting and keeping an allowance program on track:

  • Pay it on the same day each week. Your family schedule likely has a natural rhythm to it. Let's say Sundays are a family day for you, and you also use that time to prep for the next week (what homework needs to be done, etc.). Add paying allowance to the list of things that need to be done to get ready for the next week.
  • Make the kids responsible for it. While parents may be responsible for actually handing over the cash, kids have a responsibility to make sure it happens. This does not mean reminding them every day - starting on the day after the last allowance is paid. It means that they should speak up on Sunday night (or whatever the agreed upon timing is). And if they don't? Consider lowering the allowance amount by some small amount, twenty-five cents as an example, for each day that they don't ask. (I know that this may sound like charging them interest o their own money and may strike you as punitive. We don't do this, but it is an option to consider depending on how YOU think it is best to motivate your kids.)
  • Put a reminder on the family calendar. Whether this is a big erasable calendar, a paper or an electronic one, if you and your family rely on a calendar to remember other important events, this can help.

Are there tricks or tips that you have for remembering to pay allowances on schedule? Share them with me (and everyone else) by sending them to

For more information on allowance basics, click here. Or to get your question considered (about chore and allowance programs or any other topics), contact me here.

What's New?

Over the past month several new articles and pages have been added just for kid and teen entrepreneurs. These range from a quiz on entrepreneurial skills to the ins and out of a teen business plan. Be sure to check them out by cruising around the site. You can also be sure to get updates as they happen by subscribing to the RSS feed on the right side of the home page.

Coming soon...the next issue of The Money Messenger

April's issue will focus on money basics...for kids, for teens and for families. Each area has its own unique needs and challenges. If you have questions you'd like to see addressed for that issue, just use the Contact Form or email me at Be sure that your name will be kept confidential.

Talk to you soon!

Comments or suggestions?

If you have any comments or suggestions for future newsletters, please let me know. I want to be sure that this newsletter meets your needs. Feel free to provide your comments using this contact form.

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