When I was a kid, I had an allowance.... of course it was only $1 a week and was often spent on video games at the pizza parlor we frequented on Sunday afternoons. Since the boys are now 7, we decided that it was time for them to understand the concept of working for and saving their money to buy the things they want... in their case, trucks (we already have what seems like hundreds, but the toy company just keep making more of the darn things).
At first, only Ben was on board. He wanted to clean up and understood that somehow doing his chores meant that he could buy something he wanted. He didn't understand, however, that he was only getting $2 a week and that it would take 3 whole weeks to be able to get a truck. Andrew wanted nothing to do with it. He actually said to me, "I don't need allowance... I'll just wait for Christmas to come and then ask for the trucks I want." Alas, he missed out on the first 3 weeks of his allowance for his comments and attitude.
Ben was very very impatient for the first 3 weeks, but still saved up his money. Here is when the real world math came in. In all honesty, my boys know very little about money... one of my main motivators for giving them an allowance. I started by having Ben count his money. He already knows the value of the coins, so with a little help and prodding, he was able to come up with a total. He had 6 dollars and 50 cents (after getting a bonus for doing Andrew's chores when Andrew failed to do them). We went to the store and compared how much he had to the price of the things he wanted. He had to tell me whether or not he had enough money. Once the truck was chosen, I had him work on the real life skill of talking to the checkout person, paying the money, waiting for the change, and using his manners. Social situations are incredibly difficult for Ben and his speech is slower than average. Luckily, the checker knew who Ben was and was very patient and caring toward him. I had to talk him through the conversation some, but he remembered to say thank-you at the end and was all around charming. He soon left with his change in his pocket, his purchase in a bag in his hand, and a huge smile on his face. Of course, I allowed quite a bit of flaunting of his new truck in front of Andrew.
Andrew's attitude has changed since seeing the prize that Ben got for doing his chores. All of a sudden, Andrew is the one asking to clean the playroom and is facilitating some of the cleaning. This is the week that HE will finally have saved up his $6. He can't stop talking about being able to pick out a toy of his choice and keeps a countdown of how many days until he gets his allowance.
So far, so good. It is 7:45 at night and my boys' room is clean, the playroom is spotless, and I really didn't have to do much at all. I think I'm liking it....plus it's a lot cheaper than a maid... just sayin'.