Frequently asked questions
How often should we “settle up”?
The goal is to lay a foundation without the process becoming dogmatic, legalistic and quite frankly monotonous. We have chosen to settle up on a monthly basis, which has worked very well for our family. A month should be enough time to create earning opportunities and consistency in implementation, which is paramount to sowing the seeds on the connection between work, stewardship and the source of it.
What does the “settle up” process look like?
We gather together and total the money as it may come from a variety of sources, different days of work, etc. The child should then name the category, read the scripture, do the math exercise and divide up (one category at a time). Afterwards, it’s recommended to engage your child in a conversation about any ideas, experiences or thoughts they might have. It should be brief, unless the child extends it organically.
What do the categories represent?
God - Tithing
Others - Can be used for a variety of things – hurricane relief, Salvation Army, buying granola bars to keep in the car to give to people on street corners, support missions/missionaries; basically anything that supports something/somebody in need
Savings - We opened passbook savings accounts so they fill out deposit slips and go to the bank after each settle up. Helps build the habit and removes temptation. We said this money is off limits until they’re 21.
Spending - Is for current and future immediate spending. This money is completely at their discretion.
Extra - Simply a rainy day fund, which they can draw on if they’re low in one area when an unexpected opportunity arises. – The makings of an emergency fund
What percentage should each category receive?
That is a personal, family dependent and age appropriate decision. Our “first” stab at it was God 15%, Others 10%, Savings 40%, Spending 30%, Extra 5%. It seemed intuitive to start higher on the “more noble” categories knowing that a focus on spending would eventually rear its head. But, if a child grows to adulthood and “reduces” their savings from 40% to 15%, how great would that be?
Can the percentages change?
Not only can percentages change, they should. The first year, parents should steer the process. After that, children should begin to take ownership. We recommend setting percentages in one-year intervals. It will train the children to be thoughtful about the process and not subject to the winds of change.
How much money should I give my children?
Sorry no canned solutions for this one. However, the child should earn enough to be able to have an opportunity to purchase something they desire within a reasonable timeframe.
Do you have suggestions for earnings opportunities?
There is a balance between rewarding for work/efforts that are expected as a contributing member of the family and incentivizing anticipated behavior. You’ll figure it out based on trial and error. Here are a few things we have rewarded – X dollars per book read, pet care, report cards, stamping/stuffing Christmas cards, household chores, and yard work (age and dollar appropriate). We never tried rewarding for teeth brushing, but in retrospect, it might have been a good idea.
How do you differentiate between money received?
The last thing we want is for TILLSOS to become legalistic. Its primary goal is to train the heart. To that end, our philosophy has been that any money earned is divided up in the till based upon the predetermined percentage allocations. However, when a child receives birthday, Christmas or any other gift money, we simply encourage the child to consider giving a gift from their gift. Our experience has been our boys may follow the percentages or they divided it up randomly. The important thing to note here is they are voluntarily making that determination and anything they “pay forward” is a bonus that otherwise might not have been considered.
Should I have more than one till for my family?
We recommend yes for two reasons. First, it would be desirable for each child to have this resource to manage/maintain individually. Secondly, and equally important, the quality of the construction is designed to be a priceless keepsake that children can one day use with their own children.
If you have a different question; please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to create a community resources board for parents to share with others and draw upon for inspiration. We appreciate your interest.