Putting All Our Eggs in One Basket
Recently the wife and I bought some chickens. We love fresh farm eggs, and since we have the land, why not. Our birds should be laying their first eggs in the spring.
I’ve had mixed emotions about do we give an allowance or do we require our boys (2 and 6) to work for their money (I’ve heard both sides to the argument and I agree with both sides).
Back to the chickens. We have 7 chickens that will supply more than enough eggs for our household. The wife and I are now considering this chicken operation to be a way to teach my boys how to manage money. Selling the eggs at $3/dozen (cheaper than most places) will allow our older boy to put $1 in each savings, give, and spend categories.
This will allow our boys to “work” for their money. Anyone else out there have a similar scenario? I’d love love to hear from you and even tweak our business plan.
Hi jhammond !
I'm not a parent yet, so I'm not super qualified to contribute here, but I just wanted to say that I can't wait to hear more about your adventures with the chickens! I have a similar dream :)
And I really like your allowance plan, particularly the three buckets those dollars will fall into. As a kid, I did weekly chores in order to earn my allowance. My mom made a little paper chart for my brother and I and posted it on the refrigerator at the beginning of every week. There were daily chores (make bed, pick up clothes, etc) and weekly chores (dust the living room, clean the bathroom, etc.) We would put little X's next to our tasks when we were finished. If everything was crossed off at the end of the week, we received an amount based on our ages (it increased over time).
I loved the straightforward approach. Do the thing, get the allowance. It left the outcome in my hands, so I was the only one to blame if I didn't get paid at the end of the week ;)
I have a 12 year old and I don't let him "earn" allowance by doing chores because I don't want him to feel like I have to pay him for doing what he is supposed to do. However, I am not opposed to him doing other things to earn some money for himself because then he just gets his allowance and nothing else, ever.
I like the idea of teaching kids to "work" for their money. My in-laws pay him to do small errands for them on occasion and I am fine with that. So I would tend to agree with you that it's fine to let them sell the eggs :).
In her book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," Barbara Kingsolver describes her younger daughter's determination to build a real business out of raising chickens and selling eggs.
If I remember correctly, parents supplied startup capital, barn space and practical advice. The kid did the work, managed sales and record keeping, and repaid the seed money from Mom and Dad.
There are variations on this theme. I liked that the child became aware of the hidden costs of running a poultry business and gained a clearer understanding of profit margins.
I'm also in the camp that doesn't pay for the chores that come with being part of the family - room cleaning, dishwashing, laundry, taking out the recycling etc. are just part of the deal once kids are old enough to do those things.
I do pay for other things - for example, organizing, tagging and entering items for our local consignment sale will earn a cut of the proceeds.
I think the egg business could be a great vehicle to teach your kids about money and business in an age appropriate way. Maybe initially they could get paid some set fee for a task they are capable of managing (like a set amount for collecting the eggs each day, or washing and preparing a dozen...) something along the lines of what you pay an employee for doing a task. Then, as they get older and can manage more, they can be responsible for more parts of the business (collecting/counting money, determining when feed needs to be ordered, cleaning the coop etc) and their cut of the proceeds can be increased. Could be very cool! As I recall from the Barbara Kingsolver book, her daughter was 9 or so when they started, and at that age could handle a lot of the responsibility.
When I was in middle school, a friend and I decided to sell T-shirts at a local fair one year - my parents gave us the start up capital, and we tie-died shirts and sold them. We then had to pay my parents back for the costs incurred (we didn't make much money after all of our costs were accounted for, as I recall, but it was a super fun project!)
Agreed about allowance not being tied to regular chores because I want my children to see themselves as contributing members of our household. I do allow them to earn money by doing extra around the house, particularly when there's a big project like painting or raking leaves (60 bags each fall with these trees), and I could see care for the chickens or selling eggs as being in that bucket. That said, 2 is very young for allowance or being paid for chores since developmentally they don't really understand what's going on. Doesn't mean your 2-year-old can't participate, but at that age I would think of it more as teaching than about giving responsibility.
I think this is a great idea. When I was a kid, I would do extra work around the house in exchange for toys. Great for me (it's hard to spend a toy), but it meant I really didn't get into the world of money management until my teen years.
An interesting idea from Mr. Money Mustache to help your boys learn another aspect of money management: you personally paying interest on the money your boys choose to save. MMM talks about why he likes this strategy:
I’m excited about the teaching value of this, because it shows him that
- his money is finite (not just a limitless pool that you tap by nagging parents to buy you stuff)
- keeping the money invested is profitable (his $600 account is now bringing in a very tangible $5 per month in interest)
- new windfalls can be added, interest compounds exponentially, and an account like this of sufficient size means lifelong financial freedom
You can read more about his strategy here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/05/20/what-im-teaching-my-son-about-money/
Thank you all for your input. With everyone of you, I agree with something you said. Here are a few clarifications;
I agree that kids should not be getting paid for “normal” household chores. No way am I paying my 6 year old to make his bed. However, going above and beyond the call of duty is worthy of merit. I don’t see selling eggs as a normal chore (gathering, yes). As much eggs that we eat, we will still have a ton of eggs left over. I don’t personally want to get into the egg selling business. But, if we have the eggs and I can teach my son money management with the sells, I believe that’s a win all around.
I do have two sons. But this adventure is for the eldest. Two years old is way to young to understand. The youngest does whatever the 6 yr old does, so I’m sure we’ll have some free labor. Lol