Monday, November 17, 2014

Money Monday: Using Money as a Motivator

2 weeks ago, my husband and I were looking at the calendar and realized that Thanksgiving was only 4 weeks away. After clearing a bag of Oreo's in less than a weekend, (let's be honest, it was in less than day) I knew that I wanted to feel better before the holiday season, so I proposed an idea to my husband, a challenge. 

The $25.00 challenge:

The Rules: No sweets, no chips, no cokes, candy, juice, cookies, cakes, pastries, or refined sugar of any kind, from November 1-November 28th (Thanksgiving).

The Reward: Each week, if you do not eat any of the above referenced foods, as fun money, each person will get an additional $25.00 in fun money to spend however we like.

The Punishment: If you fail, if you eat any of the above referenced foods, you don't get your $25.00, it goes to the other person. If we both fail, then no money for either of us, at all. 

So far, we have been successful and each collected on our reward. We have tried challenges in the past, and we never stuck to them, but by making it a challenge involving money to motivate us, we have been more successful.

That led me to wonder, should you use money as a motivator?

Growing up, my parents didn't have much money, but, they did make a point reward us for our grades. In their eyes, school was a job and report cards were the fruits of our labor. When it was report card time, we received money for A's and B's, (about $20.00 total if we earned all A's and B's). They saw it as a way to keep us motivated.

On the other hand, my husband was never given money as a reward. He began working at a very young age, and he learned that if he wanted or needed something, he needed to get a job and earn the money in order to pay for it. 

We also have friends that use money to motivate their children to read and write essay's on books that they deem important. 

For us, we are on a budget, and we keep a pretty tight reign on our spending. We only get a small amount of "fun money" or "blow money" each month, so when there is an additional amount on the line, we are motivated. 

My question is, when does it stop becoming motivation, and turn into bribing? In our eyes, using money to motivate is done by setting the terms and rules in advance, but bribing is done in the moment. 

Tell Me: Do you use money as a motivator? What are your feelings on using money to motivate yourself, your kids, or others?


Unknown said...

I don't have a problem using money as a motivator. Even if it could be considered a bribe.

We reward our oldest daughter with money when she helps out with cleaning the house. She's still young so $.50 makes her happy.

She always has different ideas for what she wants to spend her money on. But it still teaches her that if she puts out the effort she is rewarded.

Denise said...

never have done it...probably a little late now too!

Brooke said...

My parents never used it as a motivator for grades, but we did get paid for (non negotiable) chores. Is paid slave labor a thing??

Anonymous said...

Interesting idea. I don't think I would use it on my (hypothetical) children, but I think I could motivate myself with my own money, if that makes sense!

Natalie @ Budget and the Bees said...

I don't have kids, so I've not given thought to rewarding vs bribing. I received a $2/week allowance growing up for doing chores. I saved it and only bought something when I really wanted it.

Kristen said...

I don't think I would use it for children but it definitely works for me.. sometimes. I could do something small like that, my husband and I made a bet for me to run this much etc etc before my half marathon and it was like 6 months and i just gave up entirely so i didn't get my reward lol

~Carla~ said...

Makes sense to me. Why do we work? What's the motivation? A paycheck. ;)

Sarah said...

This is so tricky because money can be a GREAT motivator. However, like your husband I wasn't raised with money as a motivator.

I'm about half & half on using money to motivate my children. I'm hoping that I can keep them motivated with intrinsic rewards instead of extrinsic. For example, they will have chores in the house that are their responsibilities, as a member of this household they are expected to contribute. HOWEVER, I'm not against paying them for extra chores outside of their normal responsibilities.

Mrs. Frugalwoods said...

Good idea! We don't use money exactly as a motivator, but, I guess our desire to save it is something of a daily motivator. I'm all about conscious spending, which your plan totally gets at--I like that!