No Fuss Chore Chart and Allowance System

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No Fuss Chore and Allowance System

I have gone back and forth on chore charts and allowance for a LOOONNNNGGG time.  So long, in fact, that this is the first year that we have been using a chore chart for allowance.  Since our oldest (The Professor) is almost nine years old, I’d say that there has been lot of waffling on the subject.

Oh, I have pinned all of the cute ideas for chore charts and had visions of cute magnets, chore-specific buckets with to-do lists, the wall-o’-money where each chore has a clip with a different amount of money.  But none of this fit into our life.  I wanted to be no-fuss where chore charts are concerned, if we even used them at all.  Here is my journey to a no-fuss chore chart and allowance system that actually WORKED for our family:

DECIDING ON CHORES

Should kids be getting paid for doing chores?  Shouldn’t they be doing these things anyway? This is the number one issue I had with chore charts.  I think there’s a fine balance between helping out around the house because that’s what family members do and being paid for taking care of responsibilities.  

Here’s what Mr. Blue Eyes and I came up with (and it makes total sense for us).  

One of a child’s biggest responsibilities is education.  Becoming a responsible student by balancing school, home, and extracurricular commitments is a journey that can last well into early adulthood.  Mr. Blue Eyes and I want that journey to start at a young age.  For us, a chore chart and allowance system is just what was needed in our home.

child responsibility quote

The kiddos are paid for taking care of their responsibilities during the school week, because they are doing their “jobs” – being responsible students.  They are learning to manage their time by balancing home responsibilities and schoolwork.  This is their job, Monday through Friday.  They are expected to continue the home-related items from their chore charts on the weekends, but they are not paid for those days.  This helps us keep the balance between doing chores for allowance and serving in the home because that’s just what we do.

no fuss chore chart

So what are the chores that we chose?

Their morning chores include making their beds, getting the bedroom floor ready to vacuum, and getting all dirty laundry downstairs.  (This is a huge help to me because I can quickly run a vacuum through their rooms while I have it out.  I can also get a load of laundry started without hunting through their rooms for clothes.)  They also have to check their backpacks to make sure they have everything they need for the day (homework folder, library books, lunch).  I make their lunches for now, but I leave them on the counter so that they are responsible for getting them in their backpacks for school.

The afternoon chores include emptying their backpacks and showing me their homework/parent communication folders, emptying their lunchboxes and containers, doing their homework and “stashing their stuff.”  <—- This last one is my personal favorite.  They are to go around the house and get anything that belongs to them put back in the right spot.  This includes stashing things in their bedrooms to the right spots (in the morning, getting the floor ready to vacuum might mean throwing a few things onto the bookshelf, but they know that they will have to stash it in the right spot later that evening).

There is also one blank in the morning and one in the afternoon.  This is a spot for chores that help the household.  I left it blank because I switch them up weekly, so I just write it in with a dry-erase marker.

CREATING THE CHART

Now that the hardest part was over (deciding on the chores!), I created a no-fuss chart for each kiddo.  As much as I loved the idea of little velcro icons or cute magnets on a repurposed cookie sheet, I really wanted this chore chart to be little-to-no maintenance once it was up and running.  I designed the simple chart in Word, printed it off on card stock and ran it through my laminator.  (I am in love with my laminator…laminate ALL THE THINGS!)  If you don’t have a laminator, a sheet protector would work just fine.

chore chart with magnets on the back

 I then put magnet tape on the back of each one and slapped ’em on the fridge (I love these adhesive magnet sheets because you can cut the exact size you want).    The kids use dry erase markers to mark off the chores as they go.

two chore charts hanging on refrigerator

As a special gift from me to you, I am giving you free access to the chore chart that I created.  It might be simple, but it is effective!  I have left it blank, so it is ready for you to customize to your liking. Just click here to download.

I have also recently created a printable chore chart bundle with various colors so that your kiddo can have a chore chart in his/her favorite color! Sometimes getting kids to buy into something like this can be as simple as letting them pick a color! Use the button below to head over to my free printable resource library and you’ll find the bundle there. (It will open in a new tab, so you won’t lose your spot…)

Check out my free printables! Save minutes and savor moments with the MST Resource Library. Click here for access.

DECIDE ON ALLOWANCE

 If you were counting, there are 50 total boxes on the chore charts that we use.  Each box is worth 10 cents.  On Saturday, they get paid based on their performance that week.  If they missed a chore, I give them an opportunity to make it up on Saturday by doing an extra chore (mainly because a missed chore complicates the allowance calculations, and this IS a no-fuss system after all).

Mr. Blue Eyes and I want our kiddos to learn about saving and giving, so the way we provide the allowance makes quick work of this.  

They earn $5 per week.  We pay them with four one-dollar bills and four quarters.  Ten percent of their allowance (50 cents) is put in their savings and ten percent is donated as tithing. Easy peasy.  

Since we don’t want to take care of deposit slips for fifty cents at a time, the money is stored in two-pocket zipper pouches that I store in my life binder (I use pouches like this, but I really wish I had seen this pouch first.  So cute!).  Once the kids have a good amount saved in each pocket, we help them fill out the appropriate forms for depositing or donating.

WATCH IT WORK!

 I have been amazed at how much time we save in the mornings and after school because the kids get right to work on their chores (did I mention that screen time is held hostage until chores are finished?).  I am always a fan of hearing my voice less, so any opportunity for the kids to be self-directed is a win in that department.

It also saves time on negotiations. There is something about having tasks written in black and white on a chart that makes it so the kids don’t even try to negotiate or manipulate their way out of it. It’s not Mom…it’s the CHART!

I don’t beg them to do their chores. They either do them, or they don’t. We have enough incentive built in between the allowance at the end of the week and only allowing screen time for people who contribute to the household by doing chores, that they want to take care of their responsibilities right away. In fact, the Professor has even started setting an alarm for himself because he likes to take his time on his morning chores rather than feel rushed. How awesome is that?!

This also saves SO MUCH TIME on future deep cleaning.  Before the chore charts, I swear the kids’ rooms would get to the point where it would take a three-hour deep clean to get things back in order.  That’s no longer the case.

Just today, I got their rooms ready to stage for the realtor to take pictures and it took me ten minutes in each room (mainly vacuuming and getting their blankets tucked/pillows fluffed “just so”).  Thanks to the chore charts, the kids keep their rooms generally tidy.

Bonus Time-Saving Tip:  Even though these charts are laminated, certain dry erase markers don’t come off the lamination very easily. Sometimes they even resist water or other cleaners.  Since The Professor and Mini-Me choose from a random assortment of dry erase markers that they find in the drawer next to the fridge, I have found the easiest way to clean them off is a quick swipe with a Magic Eraser. Works like a charm every time!

clean chore chart with magic eraser

September 2017 Update:  Our chore charts are back in action this school year!  A few weeks ago, I shared my chore chart system on a friend’s Facebook post that requested some tips about allowance and chores.  

I am actually pretty quiet on social media using my personal profile, so I don’t often have notifications for posts on which I’ve commented.  But I was getting a LOT of notifications for my friend’s conversation about allowance and chores.  So, before I went in to turn off the notifications, I decided to read the MANY comments that had accumulated on my friend’s post.  I enjoyed reading the different viewpoints on allowance and chores.

But then there’s always that one person.

She decided to tell everyone who had commented on the post that parents “overcomplicate everything.”  

She went on to further describe her opinion regarding what she had read in the comment thread (Ironically, her argument against overcomplication was quite lengthy).

I thought about her comment a lot.  

I even felt a little sheepish……..for like TWO SECONDS.  

Then I owned my tendencies to “overcomplicate”, because by adding a couple of extra steps to my kids’ morning and evening routines, I am simplifying our life in the long run (like I mentioned above).  

Believe me, having cancer really opened my eyes to how I spend my time. I love teaching my kids lessons about money and all, but my main motivation in doing chore charts is that it saves us a whole lot of time.

I appreciate this woman’s feelings about living a simpler life because, overall, that’s my dream.  But I have found that my own personal quest for simplicity requires some structure.  

HOWEVER, what works for me might not work for you (or for the random lady on Facebook).  And that’s okay.

January 2019 Update: I am cleaning up this post a little bit, so I thought that I would add another quick update. Yes, our family STILL uses these EXACT chore charts. We have changed the chores here and there, but the format and payment are still the same. I’m not sure I have stuck with any one routine this long in my parenting career. Ever.

I really feel that if you give this chore chart a few weeks, you’ll see how quick and easy it can be. I feel confident in saying that it could even be the last chore chart/allowance system you ever try.

I know it was for US.

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If you’re still feeling a little bit stuck when it comes to setting up your own chore system, you might want to check out my brand new quick-start guide! I share my three magic words for creating a no-fuss chore system. {Click here} to check it out!

So, I want to know:  Are chore charts a major time saver in your house?  Or are you not a fan? Tell us in the comments below!

Pin this post if you want to come back to it later! Or, better yet, {click here} to follow me on Pinterest to see many more time-saving and time-savoring ideas!

4 thoughts on “No Fuss Chore Chart and Allowance System”

  1. How does your system change in the summer when kids are home more and the M-F tasks are tossed on their heads? Do your kids knock out all chores in the morning to get to screen time?

    1. Thanks for our comment, Trish! Our family actually doesn’t do chores for pay during the summer. I still expect them to get through their chores before screen time, but we have a set time in the afternoon when the screens come on. If they don’t have their chores done by that time, they don’t get screens. Our schedule is much more laid back in the summer…I need it! Some years I will create a separate “Before Screen Time” list, but with our move it just didn’t happen this year.

      I’ve found that taking time off from allowance during the summer helps them appreciate their chores for pay even more during the school year. If they really want to earn some cash, I give them bigger projects to do for some money. I hope that helps!

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