Winter brings something we all dread…Cabin fever.  The kids are full of pent up energy and have nowhere to run it all off.  It’s cold, damp, and raining most days, so the kids just stay in.  They bicker and quarrel, they sit around and do nothing and as a mom, I shake my head and wonder what I did do to create these monsters.  As I sat in my bed one early morning, talking to my half asleep husband, I searched my heart to no end.  How could my children be so nasty to each other? So contentious? And my home so full of chaos?  The laziness creeps it’s ugly presence around each bend of the home.  Nothing seemed to be getting done.  Winter brings the cold, and cold for me translates into pain.  The less I do, maybe is an example to them to do less.  Everyone is eating, slouching across the furniture, when an occasional wrestling match breaks out, and it seems like pulling teeth to require any work out of them.
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As we moved forward that morning, our weary bodies made the grand exodus from our bed and the warmth of our slumber, we found our owners manual for parenting-The Bible!  God is faithful to give wisdom in times of need and His word is full of verses that pertain to work ethic…
And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Colossians 3:23 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips [tendeth] only to penury. Proverbs 14:23 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain [persons is] void of understanding. Proverbs 12:11 He becometh poor that dealeth [with] a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. Proverbs 10:4
I have learned in life that everything is doable if there is a system in place.  All of a sudden, like a flash of light bursting out of a black cloud, and idea came to me.  MOM BUCKS!  It became the new currency in our home –paper play money (we started with Monopoly money until it all wore out).  This is how it works: Think of all the things you need done around the home and put a value on each job.
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Next, you must come up with the value of privileges.
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This system has brought such productivity, order, and peace into our home.  They learn good work ethic, how to save money, and how to spend it wisely.  One day Miles decided to take it easy.  He is prone to laziness so we have to keep reminding him to stay busy or we will find something for him to do.  I just let him loaf.  When it came time for movie night, Miles did not have enough for admission to the show.  I told him that the movie starts in 30 minutes so he better get busy earning some mom bucks.  That put a fire under my boy.  He wanted to watch the movie so he fixed his eyes on that prize and found some jobs to complete in time for the movie.   The kids feel good about getting work done, negative behavior and quarreling is cutting back each day, and my house is always clean.  They run around looking for things to do to make a quick buck rather than just sitting around picking at each other and driving me crazy.  When I do their homeschooling, I charge them $1 Mom Buck for each time they goof around.  I am getting great results and everyone seems happier.
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With the Mom Buck system, you can tell what kid is the most ambitious, who saves up, and which one will be the wasteful spender.  The girls started making up snacks like popcorn, cookies, homemade crackers, and chocolate milk to offer in the snack shack.  They enjoy having things to save up for.  The boys are into air soft bb guns, so Mark buys the bullets in bulk.  They can buy the plastic bbs from their dad.I made a pdf with my Mom Bucks for you to download for FREE!  I recommend using heavy white card stock to print on.  It takes about 20 sheets to have enough for the game.  You just print them off and cut the money out.  I hope this helps and brings more order in your home.

Just for a reminder…

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87 thoughts on “The Mom Bucks Miracle

  1. This is a beautiful system. I love that it keeps order and cleanliness in the house while teaching so many life lessons they will need. Thanks Erin.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to write on my blog comments, that was so neat to hear from you. I hope you are doing well. I miss you and your family! God bless you.

  2. What a neat concept! We do a merit system around here, but I love the idea of learning how to handle money; saving, spending, etc…

  3. Sounds like a great idea… I’m wondering how to gear it for younger kids too. Mine are almost 3 & 4.5. They are very capable & mature, so I think they would enjoy this…

    • My children are 2, 4 and 6. We just “trade in” mom bucks all day as they earn them and spend them. That way they learn the basics of Math, but don’t have to hold on to all those Mom bucks. Also, I have a little container for each kid that is magnetized and on the fridge where they keep the Mom bucks they have.

  4. What a splendid idea and thank you for the printable!! We just have littles at our home, but they are already doing chores and there are expectations in place for their responsibilities around the house – but this would be more fun for them! My 4 year old reminded me this morning that if she didn’t work, she wouldn’t eat, lol!

  5. This looks like fun & like what my hubby & I have been looking for. We have 6 @ home. Some like doing chores & some do not; Some do a great job & some we just have to get after way too much. Then mom is left not getting her chores done til way too late…:(
    So, we think this plan just might clear up a few problems.
    Thank you, Erin. The new site looks amazing!
    Have a Blessed Weekend

  6. I love this sooooo much. I had a quick question though, with 6 kids to keep track of, I know you have 5, do you carry your “Mom Bucks” with you at all time or pay at the end of the day or……how do you work logistically? Just want to make sure I can succeed at this one too 🙂

    • Hello Angie. I know that Erin will let you know. I only pay when the job is done. I really like the size of the Bucks. I have them in a small envelope and store it in my purse.

    • Hello Angie! I am glad you have given this a try. I was mostly carrying them in my pocket to pay as they go. And be paid for things as well. It is great! Blessings to you!

  7. This is BRILLIANT! I love the Mom Bucks idea. We don’t really have extra money to give the kids an “allowance”, plus I don’t believe in paying the kids to be responsible for themselves and their things around the home. But this is such a great alternative. We also have a movie night every Friday… I am SO going to do this and have the kids pay their admission. I am in the same boat you were in as far as the kids not really helping out much around the house and such. I know this will be a great motivator. Thank you for the printable bucks!!! I’m so excited to give this a try.

    • I am so glad you enjoyed this post and that it is something that will help your family. It is such a blessing to share with one another. BTW, you have a fantastic blog! Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. I sure do appreciate your kindness. ~Erin

  8. I love this idea. I just wish I could see the second image. I’m sure it’s the list of how much things ‘cost’ but no matter what I do it won’t load. Phenomenal idea. Good job!

  9. I am close to tears; thank you!!!This is *exactly* what I needed! With six kids still at home and TONS to do everyday that never seems to get done, and of course I nag, nag, nag… Our household has been especially discontent and unhappy this hard winter, and I have been trying to figure out a system to make it work. This is perfect!

  10. I’ve always steered clear of paying for chores that kids should do as a part of the family, but I never thought I could work out charging for food. (I’ve always wanted to though!) And all those once in a while extras that never get done- wonderful! Thanks for the just the right tweak on a system that I never could quite work out- the motivation needed with the life lesson built right in!

    • I know. We were always afraid to make the kids feel like we owe them, so this fit so well with our home education/real life training. Such a blessing to know it is helping you as well:)

  11. Hi Erin, Here in remote interior Alaska cabin fever can be intolerable with the LONG winter season. As I was reading this my husband started writing out the lists. I’m really looking forward to trying this especially with my just turned 5 year old twin boys who think they are professional no holds bared wrestlers. Thank you for the great idea. 🙂

    • God bless you Sarah, I missed hearing from you. I will have to hop on your blog to see what you are all up to. I am so blessed to know this idea is helpful to you and to so many others. Amazing!

  12. I can’t wait to try this. I’ve been using a system that I devised of transferring treasures which motivates all but the eldest child. I think this will work for ALL of them and solve some other problems that I’ve had as well. Thanks!

  13. I had the thought this morning that this would be great for teaching different economic lessons, etc. For example you could take a few days and illustrate a socialist state by redistributing the wealth at the end of each day and seeing how it would effect motivation. 🙂

  14. How do you handle if more than one child wants to do a chore. Example two kids want to sweep the floors etc. or two want to take out the trash.

  15. This is an answer to prayer! Thank you so much for putting this together. It’s such a fantastic idea to keep the kids motivated to get stuff done. We’ve added several things to the chore list and the store list. Most of my kids are super excited…except my teenage son, but that’s the blessing in this…he will have to get his chores done to get food and other privileges. Thank you sooo much!
    sara

  16. Thank you so much for sharing this! I have searched pinterest and the internet for months searching for a “chore chart” for my older two kids, but everything lacked motivation and we lost interest and didn’t keep track of it…THIS on the other hand, is EXACTLY the life values I want my children to learn! We went over the concept in devotions last night, and both my older kids were up folding towels and wash cloths and making their beds early this morning, so they could earn enough “mom bucks” for breakfast! What a wonderful concept! And not too complicated! We also added in, that when they grow up bad attitudes at work will get them fired, not paid! So they have to work with the right attitude, or they still have to work, but lose their pay! There’s so many ways to make this unique for each and every family! Thank you again! This has been a blessing to me, and we are just getting started!

  17. We love Mom bucks! If you want your children to line up for chores, and enthusiastically help, all the while learning math, economics and responsibility..then Mom bucks are for you! This has started a fire in our house that will not likely soon be put out. Thank you Erin

  18. This seems really cool! I have a questions. If your kids don’t like what your making for a meal can they opt out of eating since they have to pay for it? I only ask because my children don’t often like what I cook.

    • I would say, NO to that. I have had this type of manipulation around my home as well, and I do not fall for it. They have to eat and they have to pay just because it is the right principle. Hope this helps. 🙂

  19. Hello Sarah. Still make them pay. Maybe that will bring compliance around 8-). In our house, from day one, we eat what is on the table or go hungry and clean house while the rest of we grateful people eat. Seems to have worked here.

  20. Couple of questions. Does each child have daily required chores? And then optional jobs to earn extra? Also, do you have them tithe on their mom bucks on Sundays?

    • Hi Annie. My dear children each have a list of chores each day. Mom Bucks for those. To the side I have a list of Extra Mom Bucks worth more. They can chose if they want them. We have a giving jar for something we support and it’s added to. That comes out of their real cash when they’ve reached 100 Mom Bucks.

    • I have not done a tithe, but it is a good concept. I have seen the kids give to each other when they were short. That was cute. Yes, they do have daily required chores. I will post more on that when I get a chance and some of the great fun stories of others mom buck miracles. How fun is that? Have a great day! ~Erin (keeper of the homestead)

  21. Wow what a great idea. Im just struggling with being committed. I’ve started things in the past and can’t seem to stay on track. I need ideas on getting trough with it and staying on track. I dont want to introduce my kids yet again to something that I don’t know if can stick with. Anyone else has been through this? How did you manage to stay on track?

    • Hi Helena, I just thought I would make a suggestion for you and any other readers. I earn ‘Mom Bucks’ (we call ours Kelly Cash after our family name ^_^) right alongside my six-year-old; this has been working so well for us! My reason for doing the system this way is a little different, as I’m a single-mum with an only-child, so it’s great motivaton for us both! ^_^ Plus, I have worked out a system to make things as simple and streamlined as possible (which would be even more important with multiple kiddies, I would think!), regarding keeping track of chores done and payment, etc. Once you begin, it seems to just take off on its own, and the positive results are enough to keep us on track, and it seems to be that way with all the other families’ stories I’ve read?
      Hope this helps! Rachel ^_^

  22. I’d like to give another point of view on this system.
    First, by giving “mom bucks”, you exclude the dad part, so your kids will learn that chores are for women only.
    Then, what happens is that your kids work for a reward. They don’t work because they think it’s their role. They don’t work because it’s normal to share chores in a family. They don’t work to help their parents and make everybody’s life better. They work for “money”.
    My parents never gave me allowance for setting the table, emptying the dishwasher or vaccuming. It’s always been a normal thing to do, for me as for my siblings. You don’t deserve anything for helping in your family.

    • Hi Lily. Erin is only sharing what they enjoy as a family. I grew up in a poor family and I remember having to beg my parent for .50 for mojos. My friend had received a few coins for her treat. To this day I still can remember how scared I was to ask. There can be extremes in everything. By the way read her article again and check out how involved her children are. BOTH boys and girls, girls and boys. Everyone is involved with upkeep of their home. I have so much respect for this family because of their circumstances. These children have went above and beyond what so many of our children have gone through. We do not give an allowance. $5.00 per month for giving, education, and treat. We have had some great fun with Mom Bucks and my dear children have had to work far harder than without any allowance! Imagine that! They are actually doing far more than before for a few dollars more! Remember to do what you feel is right for your home. I enjoy and treasure Erin’s site but don’t always agree with some views. Those I take with a grain of salt. Answer only to our Lord and He will guide you in your decisions.
      p.s. Mark is a super, super husband, provider and role model for all of us. He is working so hard and can’t do everything. My husband is a super, super husband and provider and cannot be expected to do everything. My dear children help him as well because his days can be so busy and stressful.

  23. I totally agree with Lily, that it should not exclude Dad bucks. Sorry if I offended you with that. I guess I was not thinking about it long enough to consider that angle. My husband never noted that either, so I guess it was not an offense to him. I am sure anyone could make up their own type of currency, Kid Cash was something someone suggested as well that I thought was cute:)
    On the other note of paying, well, it is not REAL money. It just works as earning a privilege. My kids love to work even more now, and a lot of days, they do not even do Mom Bucks because they are getting very used to being helpful and it just works out so nice for them and for our family. There are always flip sides, I do understand and respect you for your views. I think each family should do what they feel is right for them. Thanks for sharing your concerns, I take them seriously. Have a blessed day!
    Erin

  24. This system was an answer to prayer! I had never used a system like this before, but I am in love already. We started this week with our 3 older children.(our youngest is only 8mo) So far it is working beautifully. I woke up to a clean and orderly house. My 13yo son was cleaning the bathroom. The animals were fed, and breakfast was in the works. All if this before 7AM!
    I had been struggling to get the house in order again before I saw your post. The last 2 years have been full of transitions, from moving to homesteading and even an adoption. God only knows hiw much I have prayed and anguished over this. Before all the changes our household ran like a well oiled machine. I am not sure what happened, but it was rough and I was stressed.
    I am not sure how you keep tabs, but I made a notebook with a section for each child. I made pages that look and work like a checkbook register. I also downloaded an app for cashflow and made an account for each one. The notebook also contains the rules, the costs and credits and a sleeve for receipts. I write out receipts for payment. I let them write diwn what they spend as well as what chores were done in the notebook throughout the day and in the evening we go through them and all accounts are settled. I do this part in the app. So far so good.
    Thank you for sharing this idea!!! I well let you know how it continues.

    • This is such an answer to my prayers. I am so glad it is helping others to have the productivity and fellowship as a family that we have been blessed with. God bless and keep doing such a good job!

  25. I have a question, What do you do if your child doesn’t have enough “bucks” to buy the meal? I know the old saying “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” but I couldn’t let my kids go hungry. 🙂

    • What I do is ask my child about an hour before the meal if they have enough money to pay for the meal. If they do not, I encourage them to do a quick couple jobs to earn enough. Works every time. Try that and let me know. 🙂

  26. So basically, if your kids don’t work, they don’t eat? What about when they are sick? What if your eldest decided she wasn’t playing anymore? Are you seriously going to deny your children a meal because they can’t or don’t want to pay? Would you let this last a week? A month? Why are you forcing your children to pay for food?
    I am all for allowances and teaching responsibility, but this does nothing but teach your kids that mom and dad don’t care. Most meals don’t even cost five dollars. Real mo ey ornot, this is appalling

    • That would be abuse to deprive a child of nourishment and food. This is just a homeschool fun project. You can start or stop it when ever you want. I have days I work it in and days I do not. We have fun with it like a contest:) My goodness, I would not advocate starving your child or putting pressure on a sick child. That is just plain cruelty.
      My children are precious to me and I treat them with respect. They are my best friends. I would never put things on them to cause them harm. It is meant to be a fun game. Quit the game if it does not work for you. Don’t play the game if it does not seem logical or helpful. I do not ever claim to know it all. I know when to stop if something is getting bad results. I would NEVER use this for anything besides a fun incentive. If the fun is gone, the game is over.
      As all things in life, we must always use moderation. If something seems to cross the line and become a situation that feels like it is having negative results, STOP immediately and try another idea. I hope this helps clarify:)

  27. We have been doing this for a little over a week and already motivation has worn off. Kids only want to work for exactly what they need. If they don’t need bucks they don’t want to earn anything ( even though there are lots of things that need done. ) what would anyone suggest for this problem? Am I not charging for enough things? Help!

    • Here is a good idea…save up for a fun outing or field trip. They could earn extra to save up for a fun trip like that. That is just another idea. Or take a break from it to see what happens. I found when I take a break from it, they are still in a working routine. It seemed to work well to establish some great work ethic and fellowship with one another. When ever things are not working for me, I try other ideas. I am always trying to make work fun. No matter what, I want my kids to WANT to work, not just work because they feel forced. Forcing someone to work will only produce resentment. This program is designed to give motivation and enthusiasm for helping others. If it is not fun, maybe it is not the best system for your family. At least you gave it a try and hopefully you had a little fun with it.

  28. McMomma, what do they do instead of the chores? Charge them for the things they enjoy: fun snacks, desserts, screen time — just like you have to pay for your own entertainment, starbucks, etc. They still don’t have to do the extra chores (beyond what is absolutely required for the day: make bed, tidy room, whatever it is in your house . .) but they will spend their free time playing outside, reading books and eating carrots and apples for snacks — still a good result for you!! If they decide they want more out of life, like cookies or movies or computer games or play dates or a new toy etc etc etc, they can work for it like they will when they grow up! I worked hard for an allowance as a kid and if I wanted something I bought it myself. Transitioning to the adult world was not difficult for me in that respect, I knew all about earning money to pay for my wants and needs. A lot of my coworkers in those days obviously did not learn the same lessons growing up and they had a hard time of it.

  29. What happens when you have a very lazy stubborn one, mine is 12 almost 13 and he will not do a thing, do you actually not feed him? If I can convince him to do something to help out the job is done the equivalent of a toddler.

  30. I love this idea! I had been doing the snack store idea from Debi Pearl’s homeschooling idea, but the keeping up with the points was tricky. Also, buying snacks gets expensive. However the children loved it, but we got into a real busy season (a few weeks before our daughter’s wedding and I just had to halt it for a while). I may “revive it” with this idea instead. I like the idea of the kids who are old enough making snacks. We could have a basic snack list so it’s not such a chore to find the recipe, decide what to make etc. I’ve also heard “you get what you inspect, not what you expect”… so saying, I know I have to take the time to inspect if I want it done right within their capability. I really like these ideas, Erin! Sometimes it just takes some thought, prayer and creativity to make things happen. Looks like the Lord blessed you with a good idea! Thank you for sharing!!!

  31. Interesting that I read this today because I started this same thing with my kids last week after begging God for an idea! We use reward bucks but you are right my house is awesomely cean and I have 6 children under 8 years!

    • My kids’ school does something like this. They have Eagle (their mascot) Bucks. They earn them by a staff person noticing excelent behavior, or by goong over and above in their assignments. They then get to spend their bucks at a school store on Fridays in their class room. My mother in law took the idea and adapted it for her special ed classroom. They call it Star Bucks, and spend them on “Friday Fun”–which could be an activity like pizza and movies or games. I like how Mom Bucks is similar but for chores! Good luck in your class!

  32. Hi, Erin!
    As usual, I am so grateful for the wisdom you are so willing to share! My husband and I had done something similar to this before – Daddy Dollars and Mommy’s Market – but we hadn’t considered charging the kids for their food (Which makes perfect sense – we have to buy/grow/raise the food; why shouldn’t they learn the value of that, too?) or for quarreling. We also added a charge of $5 for talking back to Mommy or Daddy (For some reason, our 3-year-old seems to have trouble with this one!).
    The kids are SO EXCITED!!! They’ve already jumped in and are helping… WITHOUT COMPLAINT!
    Thank you so much, Erin, for reminding me that the simple things are usually the best! May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family!

  33. Great idea, Erin! I was just saying that my 4 year old needs to contribute more around the home…but he’s a challenging child and I wasn’t sure how to go about doing this. FANTASTIC idea!! 🙂 This will also show my boys that my girls DO work hard and my girls that my boys work hard as well! My 7 year old boy was thrilled when I told him that bringing in 5 logs for the fire would earn him snack money! He’s always asking me for a snack!! 🙂

  34. I like this idea since i give my daughter money for when she does her chores without being told i just wish the bills were on different pages so we could make each one a different color 🙁

  35. This would totally not work for my family. I have zero desire to micromanage my household. We just stick with plain old chores. As far as food and privileges, we just do life together. I’m glad it works for others – to each their own – but it’s not for me.

  36. You charge your children for food and clothing. I just cannot wrap my mind around that. With that line of reasoning, why not charge them rent? I cannot imagine the amount of anxiety that they must feel knowing that they have to complete the work for basic necessities.

    • Fawn, I understand that you feel like this would bring anxieties onto a child, but I have 6 children and it really doesn’t. We have a generation of adults who feel they are “entitled” to basic needs. I want my children to understand that in order to have a good life, they must work for it. Many children aren’t taught this work ethic and they end up having no idea how the real world is. Our job as parents is to prepare our children to be adults. If we don’t teach them how to be adults, when they become adults how will they know what to do?

  37. It’s a fun game. My kids love it! If it’s a stress to your family and they feel anxious then by all means, don’t do it. Just do what works for your family, like we are doing what works for ours. We would never do anything to cause anxiety to our children… but want to have them grow up in a fun loving and also a work ethic environment. Our work is team work and solo work, but there is always a reward at the end!

    • Leah, isn’t it nice if your child earned a little spending money for helping a relative or neighbor? Our children would be thrilled and we probably would be pretty proud of them. I think that ten cents/job (in our house) won’t “over encourage” our children to be to greedy, 😎 We went from a tiny allowance to a bit more with mom bucks. I still remember as a ten year old “begging” for 25. for a treat. It may be silly but I still remember that. A few dollars a month won’t make our children extremely enthused about working, hee hee!

  38. Great idea. However, my main concern with this is time management and commitment from myeslf, honestly. I work full time and have evening commitments as well. I’m not sure how feasible this will be for myself and my 13 and 9 year old.
    Any suggestions on time management?

  39. Love it! I wondered if you would consider making a B&W printable of just one denomination per sheet. That way I can print with black ink on colored card stock.

  40. What I like about this idea is that it helps us to teach the children to work and that work produces fruit, and that the fruit is for us to enjoy. They get to spend the bucks they’ve earned.
    If someone is lazy, it helps us to teach them that they do need to work to get the things they want and need. This is very biblical and true.
    My children are very excited about earning their bucks! I do give them grace at times, when I see needed, but for the most part, they work hard to earn their bucks and they get to enjoy the fruits of it!
    Thanks for sharing this with us, Erin!

  41. As a mother of 3, grandmother of 11, (raising one of the 6 year olds) I have come across several tricks over the years, I LOVE THIS IDEA. Some ideas I have used are very similar. For younger kids and when traveling, I give the kids each a small bag of 50 macaroni noodles, each noodle is worth 10 cents at the end of the week. When any undesirable behavior happens I ask for noodles, (Give me 2 noodles). When I observe helpful behavior or when instructions are followed they receive bonus noodles. Each child turns in noodles at end of week for spending money.

  42. Any chance of getting the printable mom bucks, as dad bucks?
    Great idea, and would love to try it with my girl, but there is no ‘mom’ here

    • YES, great idea. I will do that. I have your email now, Darrell, so expect a little email from me once I remake the cards for DAD BUCKS. So fun! Have a great day and thanks for the cool idea!

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