First let me be very clear, I did not invent "Mom Bucks." Some of the moms at my homeschool co-op were talking about them and I thought they were a fantastic idea. I searched Google trying to find the original source of the "mom bucks" phenomenon so that I could give credit where credit is due but I had no luck. I THINK that it all started in a book called Diary of a Wimpy Kid. In the book the mom used money from a board game to reward her children for doing chores. I am using play money that I got in a pack from the Dollar Tree several years ago. I drew a read line on Skittles' bucks, a blue line on Twizzler's bucks, and a green line on Hershey's bucks.
In the book one of the children discovered more of the play money in a board game and cheated the system. I signed their names on the back of each buck so that they cannot counterfeit new bills. I keep the bucks they earn in my pocket chart so that they can see what they have earned and the money won't get lost.
They earn a buck each time they complete a chore; loading the dishwasher, emptying the dishwasher, sweeping the dining room, vacuuming the living room, feeding the guinea pig, bringing in groceries, taking out the trash, putting away their laundry. They also earn bucks for completing a subject in school. That is a buck each for language arts, math, science, and history. They get a buck when they brush their teeth. They also get a buck if their room is clean before bedtime. That means they have the potential to earn up to 10 bucks per day and really more if they want to do an extra chore for me like; washing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom, washing their clothes, or whatever else I can think of.
Hershey can earn bucks by cleaning his room, "doing school", and putting dirty clothes in his hamper, cleaning up his messes, helping put his clean clothes away, and brushing his teeth.
The great thing about mom bucks compared to the other methods I have used in the past is that I can take mom bucks away. Some things I charge a buck for are; playing when they are supposed to be doing school work, fighting, or pretty much any act of disobedience. Oh and I tax them a buck every time they leave a light on in a room that is not being used. I am really hoping to save some money on my electric bill.
Each Friday I open my mom store and they can exchange their bucks for some prizes or cash, 10 mom bucks equals $1 real US currency. The kids went with me to the Dollar Tree to find stuff to stock in my store. They picked out stuff they really want. It has been a great motivation because they know what they want to save up for.
Because they can cash their 10 mom bucks in for $1 US, I had to price my items carefully. If I overcharge, it won't take them long to figure out they can just cash in their mom bucks and buy it themselves.
They each picked out a sword, even Hershey picked out an inflatable pirate sword. Because those are single items and I paid $1 for each, They have to pay me 11 bucks. There is a bag of items that are 1 buck each; pencils, stickers, little cars, tops, etc. The Tootsie Rolls are 1 buck each too. There are some favorite snacks in the box, things that I don't often buy for them. Finally I added some big prizes that are just coupons to cash in to me. I wrote things on an index card like, "Sleep over with a friend, $100" "Movie Night, $50" "Bake cookies with mom, $50" I am hoping these are more popular than the other stuff so that I don't go broke.
So far the system is working out great for us because I can reward them immediately. They see that dollar the moment they complete a chore. It is concrete not abstract. Even Hershey understands that he is getting rewarded. Right now he is happy with just earning play money. He doesn't even need to cash it in to be happy.