Team Mathis

Kid’s Payday

I was asked by several peeps to share how we handle allowance in our house, so here you go!

Piggy bank

Nat’s favorite pig!

The Mathis kids get allowance. Payday is Sunday. If Sunday comes and goes and the money was not doled out it is usually brought to my attention before breakfast is served Monday morning. My kids like having their own money and they usually know exactly how much they have! Kids with their own money can be a wonderful thing!

I remember wanting my own money when I hit middle school. Before that I can recall getting paid for my grades and getting some dough in my birthday cards, but I guess mom and dad paid for everything else. I am sure my want for more money had something to do with Jordache jeans, gold chains and Aquanet! My mom came up with chores. As I look back, they all involved cleaning. Dusting. Sweeping. Washing. And to put it nicely, my mom is a bit of a control freak when it comes to cleaning her house. There is the Linda way and the wrong way. I quickly learned that if I wanted to get paid, I would do it her way. I cleaned. She paid. It worked out beautifully.

Team Mathis allowance is based on age. Noah is nine, he gets $9 every week. Natalie is seven, she gets $7. Right now she feels shafted, but I keep reminding her that when Noah stops receiving allowance she will keep getting it……that usually brings a slight grin to her face! My hubby is a money guy. He suggested we give allowance and researched different ways to make it happen. We both were on board with not assigning allowance to chores. I am not a fan of chore charts simply because it is more work for me! Thinking of the chores, making the chart, assigning a dollar amount to the chore, keeping track of who does their chores and then who picks up the slack if they don’t get done? Instead, we give allowance for being a member of Team Mathis. That’s it. You get paid for being a team member.

Team Mathis Responsibilities include:

-dishes cleared & cleaned (bring your dishes to the sink & when asked, wash them & load dishwasher)

-trash: emptied, curb, garage (gather the trash from the house, load the big trash cans, haul it to the curb and bring the empty cans back to the garage)

-make your bed (every morning to the best of your ability and help change sheets when asked)

-fold laundry & put away (I will wash, all will fold and all will put their own clothes away)

-get mail

-take care of jagger (potty breaks, walks, feeding, scooping poop)

-clean room (pick up your stuff and put it away)

-clean playroom (put stuff where it belongs)

-wash counters/table/floor (wipe down the counters and table after meals, sweep crumbs from floor)

At the end of this list it says, “…..just to name a few. We help one another at all times because, It’s a privilege to be a Mathis“. You can read more about this in my post from a few days ago.

This is a gentle reminder that we are indeed a team and as our days unfold your duties (my kids laugh every time I say duty, do yours?) may change. Being a member of Team Mathis means that you are ready to pitch in and help with lots of things, even if they are not on a list!

On Sundays, we hand over their pay. BUT, they don’t get to keep it all. That would not teach them anything. We don’t take taxes. We don’t charge them rent. And we don’t make them pay for their insurance. We do make them give a portion to charity and put a portion towards an investment. I use these envelopes to keep it all straight:

Allowance Envelopes

You can buy them here.

Here’s how Sunday nights go down. I bring out the cash (all ones), they pull out their wallets and envelopes and we begin. I count out their allowance and make them count it back to me so we are in agreement. They keep about half of their allowance for themselves. From the remaining half of their allowance, 75% goes to Investing and 25% goes to Charity. This is easy when their age is even. We are in an odd age year this year and I do not want to deal with coins, so it is not as perfect.

Noah’s $9.00 = $5 for himself, $3 to invest, $1 to charity.

Natalie’s $7.00 = $4 for herself, $2 to invest, $1 to charity.

They ‘pay’ their envelopes. They have both emptied their charity envelopes a couple of times to give to Pennies for Patients at school. It’s pretty cool to see them give back. Jeremy is in the process of working on a good investment for them. They like the idea of their money making more money all by itself! They are allowed and encouraged to keep readily available spending money in their wallets, but they also have bank accounts where the bulk of it goes. This way it is out of the house and safe, but also accessible if they need to withdraw any. Once their wallets or envelopes are bursting at the seams (ones take up a lot of space), I buy the dollar bills back from them. They love getting a $20, then saving for a $50 or a $100! And it saves me running to the bank every time my stash of ones is depleted.

Allowance cannot be taken away for behavior or being a crappy team member. Once it is given, it belongs to them. It can be used to replace items they have lost, broken or destroyed. A couple examples include:

New puppy = put your shoes away! First pair of Nike slides he chewed, I replaced. Second pair, Noah paid for. Amazing how the slides get put away now.

Balls in the living room = broken frame. Warnings were given, play continued, frame was broken, frame was replaced using their own money. Ouch!

Other than that, their money is theirs to spend. Within reason, of course. Sometimes I say no; it is my job to protect them, right? And sometimes I silently sigh as they spend their money on another app, their 20th pair of Elite socks or more doll accessories. But that is the point of having your own money, being able to spend it on what makes you happy.

It has worked out well so far. They are learning about money and how to save and spend it. We aren’t buying them everything they want. And that makes us all happy!

How do you handle money with your kids?

Live Creatively,





It’s a privilege to be a (insert your last name here)!

I have a really smart neighbor. I will call her PW. Since meeting her about 5 years ago, she has shared many parenting tips with me. Her kids are older….one in college, two in high school. They are sweet, hardworking, polite kids who genuinely care about each other and love their mom! Why wouldn’t I pick her brain for ideas?!

Many moons ago she mentioned that in their house they make it clear that it is a privilege to be a member of their family. I loved this! She had nailed it. It was my mission to make this mantra a part of our daily lives.

I started mentioning it when the kids were happy about something….where we were going for dinner, when we surprised them with a movie, when we let them stay up to watch TV, when they had donuts for breakfast, when we took a trip, etc, etc, etc. Every time their faces lit up and mouths cracked a smile because of something we were doing, I said “It’s a privilege to be a Mathis“. It didn’t take too long before they asked why I was saying that all the time. I happily explained:

It’s a privilege to be a



-we are alive and healthy, we have a roof over our heads, food to eat and clothes to wear, we know how to laugh and have fun together, we show our affection, we are a team and no one cares more about you than your team.

I kept it simple and it worked. They got it and agreed! From this, Team Mathis was born. Team Mathis means we stick together, don’t cause each other pain (physical or emotional), play fair and support one another ALL THE TIME. We made some simple guidelines as reminders. I avoided using the term ‘rules’ as we all know that rules are meant to be broken.


-asked & answered (my favorite! Instead of answering the same question over and over again, I just say “asked & answered”. You may not like my answer, but an answer was given, so stop asking)

-no name calling, be kind (simple, yet so important)

-no hurting, be nice (again, so simple, but hard to remember in the heat of an argument)

-less tattling, work it out or walk away

-no electronics on Team Mathis Night (a night when we hang out as a team)

-homework = no whining, just do it (for goodness sake, I didn’t assign it so don’t be mad at me)

-practice music/sports with a smile (you asked to participate, so step up)

-electronics only during free time (free time is announced)

-no interrupting, “excuse me”

-take care of Jagger, he’s a Mathis too

-use your manners

-say you’re sorry & take responsibility for your actions

Of course, if my family was perfect then these rules of fair play would be followed at all times. But, we are not perfect. We make mistakes. We hurt each other’s feelings. And that sucks, but it is life. We are still learning how to say ‘sorry’ and mean it and how to be in control of our actions. Something we all strive for on a daily basis!

What this has done is given us some dialogue. When the kids are fighting, we can remind them that we are a team. That the 4 of us were put together for a reason and we are going to be together forever. We wouldn’t let someone else call us names or pinch the hairs on our arms, so why would we do it to each other? It doesn’t always work and sometimes one of us needs to be removed from a situation, given time to cool down and regroup and then come back to the team. I am sure my neighbor’s kids fight too, but there is genuine love and respect between them and that is what I am shooting for! I will not give up!

I had a wall decal made for our pantry. It hangs above the door. In the pantry is also where our Team Mathis Fair Play list is located. Everyone is in the panty every day, so it seemed like the logical place! Order your own sign here.


It truly is a privilege to be a part of a loving family. I was lucky enough to grow up in one and I want my kids to realize how lucky they are. There are loads of children in the world who would happily change places with them. And if they are not a team player, they might get traded!

JUST KIDDING, of course!

I would love to steal your ideas on how your family works as a team, so please share!

Live Creatively,



2 Replies on “Team Mathis

  1. Robert Mathis

    I think the way you have re framed “rules” as responsibility to the great good sets a tone that is less likely to nurutre resistance. “Rules are to be broken” the cliche’ offered about rules is different than the thoughtful process of what it takes to be in this together with a common cause, a common good, as in “a team.”

    Thanks for the blog…and thanks even more for what you bring to the lives of those of us who know you.

    Love, Robert (Dad-in-law) Mathis (;o)


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