Jobs vs Chores

July 30, 2022

Before you start forking out money to your kids, it might pay (ha!) to have a conversation about what they should do as part of their household responsibilities, and what should be worth being paid money for. This will help set the boundaries, and also make sure that, down the track, kids aren’t asking for money to put the toilet seat down, or refusing to do the dishes as there’s no money involved. It’s all very well going in with the guns blazing with NZs first account designed for young people, but a couple of clear lessons at the start will save a world of trouble. The language you use matters too. Call a spade a spade. Obviously, the earlier you start this, the better. Money does funny things to people too - it affects their motivation (positively and negatively) - it changes things…so we need to get it right from the start.

Pulling their weight

There’s enough to do in any household to hire a full time cleaner/nanny/chef, but for most of us, we’ve got to pull the sleeves up and help out. Being an active member means everyone has responsibilities to make sure it's a great place to live. What this really means, is that kids should be doing chores and helping out around the house.  So what’s a chore then? 

  1. Regular tasks that happen every day or few days
  2. Small and easy to assign a person to complete on their own
  3. If it doesn’t get done, everyone in the house is affected

E.g. setting the table for dinner, doing the dishes, emptying the rubbish bins, taking out the recycling, cleaning, cleaning their room, cooking dinner, making breakfast, etc

So…how's that different?

Earning opportunities

Here’s the distinction then…an earning opportunity is when your kids are given the opportunity to sacrifice their free time, in order to earn some money by completing a novel task. You can decide what is worth, but setting up these tasks in the SquareOne app can help separate jobs from the chores. Earning opportunities are:

  1. Discrete tasks that have a defined beginning and end
  2. Kids actively choose to complete this (they know they are doing it for money)
  3. Allow a progression of mastery (as they get older, they should get better/faster)
  4. Something that saves you time and/or money
  5. Something they can do (reasonably) independently (see previous point)

E.g. washing the car, stacking a load of firewood, washing the windows, shopping (send them down to the dairy for some milk), mow the lawn, help the neighbour, 

Using the Earn section of the SquareOne app, you can assign free jobs and/or jobs with money attached. Kids can check things off as they go, and you can set them on the path to financial wellbeing. Magic.

Dan Russell
SquareOne Academy + Research lead.