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An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Piggy Bank

Use children’s allowance to teach valuable money skills

—Jason Alderman

When it comes to children’s allowances, many parents struggle with which approach to take. Some link allowances to completion of chores; others feel they shouldn’t be tied to completing tasks, but rather, should be an opportunity for kids to begin to learn money-management skills that will serve them later in life.

My wife and I agree with the philosophy espoused by Kristan Leatherman, co-author of Millionaire Babies or Bankrupt Brats, a guide for parents to teach personal and financial responsibility ( Leatherman says children should be responsible for certain age-appropriate chores designed to teach responsible behavior by becoming contributing household members—with allowance falling outside that equation.

Leatherman believes that separating allowance from chores “allows” your kids to experiment with money, to make mistakes and learn from them in a safe environment, and to make their own earning, saving, borrowing, and spending decisions. She notes, “Why wait until our children are forced to learn about personal responsibility and money the hard way? Why miss those opportunities when the lessons are easier to learn on a daily basis and the price tags for mistakes are so much more affordable?”

As an example, we give our nine-year-old son a weekly allowance, and he can do additional chores, like washing the car, to earn extra spending money. He also knows that he must give back ten percent to charity, since that’s an important value of ours. Our five-year-old daughter will soon be ready to jump into the allowance pool, but in the meantime she has her chores as well.

Wherever you fall on the allowance spectrum, here are several factors to consider:  

What can you afford? Most younger kids don’t really understand where your money comes from or that allowances are merely one portion of your overall budget. In these tough times, speak candidly with your children—albeit without alarming them unnecessarily—about what your family can and cannot afford, your monthly expenses, and savings goals. As Leatherman explains, “Allowance should not be considered a salary and it is not an entitlement. Kids need to know that there may be a time when allowance does not fit into the family budget due to other more pressing expenditures.”

Parental role model. Your own spending and saving behaviors will likely influence how your kids manage their allowances—and later treat money as adults. If they see you spending beyond your means, not setting aside emergency savings or making impulse purchases you can’t afford, then your entreaties to save for a rainy day will fall on deaf ears.

Share your decision-making processes and encourage sensible behavior. For example, you could teach the value of saving (and delayed gratification) by offering to match money your son saves or earns for a particular toy. Or, if your daughter wants shoes outside your price range, find a household job she can do to make up the difference.

Needs vs. wants. Leatherman’s book offers advice on teaching your children to distinguish between needs (essential items needed to exist, like food and shelter) and wants (conveniences and luxuries like toys and designer duds). She favors an approach where kids understand that parents will provide basic necessities and the “wants” are negotiable. That way, children can learn how to prioritize their wants and plan how they’re going to spend their money.

For more tips on structuring your children’s allowances, visit Visa Inc.’s free personal financial management site, Practical Money Skills for Life, online at  

Jason Alderman directs Visa’s financial education programs.  

Enroll now for the Village Academy Charter School

—Pamela Engstrom, Principal, Village Academy Charter School

Village Academy Charter School has been very busy this year.

We are proud that our quality school has demonstrated evidence of progress and success. The school is still relatively new to the community, and we invite you to learn more about our programs and services that can help your child succeed.

Village Academy is a small, free, public charter school authorized by the Bernalillo Public Schools. As a charter school, striving to serve students effectively is of utmost importance; it is, in fact, why we are here.

The Village Academy’s academic program is as challenging as an Advanced Placement Program. Half the staff has been trained to provide advanced placement instruction. Village Academy, a Core Knowledge School, offers a rigorous, challenging curriculum emphasizing leadership and character development. The school’s aviation program also offers students the opportunity to learn and put into practice these important attributes.

Village Academy is a free public school with two advantages that make a difference. The school has a site-based governance council, and we manage our own operations and finances. The governance council enables the school to serve students in a safe and peaceful setting that affords the teachers the opportunity to provide an effective, rigorous curriculum. The governance council also successfully manages the finances during tough economic times, allowing the school to continue to provide small class sizes and quality education. The school offers individualized student attention, martial arts, the MESA program (Math, Engineering, and Science), a variety of physical education activities such as horseback riding and ice-skating, and a well-rounded free after-school program. For the upcoming school year, the Rosetta Stone linguistic program in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish will be offered. Lastly, the school utilizes state-of-the-art technology and educational materials, and our faculty receive specialized training in order to achieve the school’s mission and equity in a global world.

Village Academy operates on a first-come, first-served basis. If more students are interested in enrolling than slots are available, they are added to a waiting list and a lottery is conducted as legally mandated by the state and federal government. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2009-2010 school year for all grades (six, seven, and eight).

For more information, you are welcomed to attend one of our open houses. You may contact Renee Arriola at 867-9094 for more information regarding registration packets or for open house dates.


—Greg Leichner

• wafflestomper (1972)—a hiking boot with a lug sole: My imaginary friend Rebecca wears a dusty baseball cap with a curved bill, a denim work shirt, hiking shorts, cotton socks, and a pair of wafflestompers that would make Smokey the Bear envious.  

• wahoo (1990)—a large vigorous mackerel: The yahoo caught a wahoo at Lake Tahoe and yelled, “Hoowah!”

• waitperson (1976)—a waiter or waitress: I caught the eye of my waitperson and he/she nodded and moved in my direction.  

• wake-up call (1976)—something that serves to alert a person to a problem, danger, or need: The American wake-up call rang on the morning of November 22, 1963, and again on May 4, 1970.

• walkabout—a short period of wandering bush life engaged in by an Australian aborigine as an occasional interruption of regular work: On May 4, 1970, Frank set forth on a walkabout and his friends have not seen him for thirty-nine years.  

• Wall Street (1831)—the influential financial interests of the U.S. economy: On Wall Street, our best and brightest minds create the many ways to cheat our USA out of trillions of dollars.  

• wall-to-wall (1946)—covering the entire floor: After World War II, wall-to-wall carpet became the rage and millions of oak floors were forced into hiding.

• wannabe (1981)—a person who wants or aspires to be someone or something else or who tries to look or act like someone else: If you want to understand charisma, look into the soul of the wannabe.

• warp speed (1979)—the highest possible speed: Our warp speed economy flew off the rails and tumbled into the steep ravine.

• Washington pie (1868)—cake layers put together with a jam or jelly filling: The USA is a Washington pie: from the bottom up and from the top down, we sport our singular layers, each layer separated by juicy propaganda.  

• waterloo (1816)—a decisive or final defeat or setback: With his very first lie, the king stepped onto the path of dishonor that inevitably led to his waterloo.  

• wave of the future (1940)—an idea, product, or movement that is viewed as representing forces or a trend that will inevitably prevail: There was a time when the wave of the future was felt to the bone at the sight of the shark-like dorsal fins that decorated Cadillac posteriors.

• wedgie (1939)—the condition of having one’s clothing wedged between the buttocks, usually from having one’s pants or underpants yanked up from behind as a prank: Dave gave his Tae Kwon Do instructor a wedgie and ten minutes later, Dave was taken away in an ambulance.

• whispering campaign (1920)—a systematic dissemination by word of mouth of derogatory rumors or charges, especially against a candidate for public office: Thanks to the velocity of the Internet, any whispering campaign is quickly unmasked and neutralized by the truth inherent in satire and comedy.

• wingding (1944)—a wild, lively, or lavish party: Kiki stepped across the front door threshold and into the roiling hubbub of Puff Daddy’s wingding.  

• wire-puller (1825)—one who uses secret or underhanded means to influence the acts of a person or organization: Karl Rove further testified, “By the age of twelve, I was the wire-puller for my Cub Scout den.”






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