I have mentioned in the past that I am always amazed at the creativity that people come up with in ways to earn money. When I was still living in Japan, I mentioned about how a friend’s child had taken his words and turned it into a money making venture:
Apparently one week his son was complaining about the amount of allowance he was receiving and wanted more. Money was tight and my friend was frustrated and basically blurted out, “If you want more money, you can have whatever you’re able to save this household”
That was the end of it he thought until his son began coming to him with ways the family could save money and asking for payment when the ideas worked.
“At one point, I ended up paying him $300 for his weekly allowance because of all the areas he was able to trim expenses,” my friend said.
Brilliantly simple. Give kids a monetary incentive (especially when they’re in their teenage years and want as much money as they can get) to learn first hand how to save and budget. While it may take a bit more effort on the parent’s part to get something like this started than for my friend, it would be an invaluable lesson for the any child for their entire lives.
As I was thanking my friend for his help and about to leave, we heard a voice from the other room. “Don’t forget to turn off the lights when you’re done in there,” his son reminded. My friend rolled his eyes and I laughed. It was the only time I’ve ever heard a kid reminding their parents to turn off the lights and I guess that in itself says it all.
I received an email from my friend telling me how his son has expanded on the idea and is now making even more money. While he continues to make his allowance by figuring out new ways to save the family money, he is now also profiting by teaching his friends how to do the same thing. Apparently he has taken his own experience on the most effective ways to cut waste out of the family budget and is selling it to other kids in his area.
He first explains to his friends how to best approach their parents in order to get them to accept the new way of paying allowance. As my friend wrote:
The parents are trapped from the beginning. The kids say to their parents that they no longer want an allowance and what parent wouldn’t agree to something like that? Most of them think that they will be teaching their kids a lesson about money and its worth, but it isn’t long before they realize the kids are teaching them. I have had parents complain to me about it because they feel they are giving their children too much money every month…
The brilliant part? He didn’t write a manual and sell it once, but instead he teaches his friends a new way to cut money out of the budget each month and takes a percentage of whatever they earn by saving their parents money. So the kids only pay a percentage from what they earn and he has income coming in on a consistent basis. If any of them decide they don’t want to pay, he simply refuses to teach them new ways to save money in future months and they are on their own.
Somehow I think this kid is going to have a bright entrepreneurial future…