Kids learn a lot in school, from history to statistics, and the average American academic curriculum certainly has an impact on who they are later in life. However, there are lots of vital life skills that could be taught in school (or are on a very small scale) that would greatly benefit kids in adulthood — like budgeting — that kids don’t often get taught in school.
Jess and Dub McCorkle, aka @family.of.nomads, document their life, living and traveling with their kids from the comfort of their RV. Recently, made waves on the popular social media platform after they explained that their kids, as young as nine years old, have quarterly budgets that they can use on things they want or need including hygiene products.
The internet had a mixed reaction.
“We homeschool our kids on the road, and it’s very important as part of our homeschooling to teach our kids about finances,” Jess McCorkle explained alongside footage of her daughter shopping. “When our kids grow up, we want them to be confident in making good financing choices. One thing we want them to know is that it’s important to meet your needs before your wants.”
In the video, her 11-year-old daughter receives $115 each quarter to spend on personal products, which range from shampoo and deodorant to press-on-nails and hair ties.
In another video, she goes on to explains in detail how their budgeting system works and how the budget system actually gives the kids incentive to use the hygiene products they have. The couple’s 9-year-old son receives $100 every 3 months and is responsible for item inventory and budget. If he skimps out using his products in order to try and pocket more of the money given to him, his hygiene budget will decrease.
“This does not mean that they will not have access to hygiene products,” the mother of three explained. “It just means that they will not get the money that’s left over at the end, and I will pick out the hygiene products for them.”
The videos have led to some controversy and a divided comment section on TikTok. While some see the tactic as a great way to teach kids budgeting and real-life situations, others think that the budget is way too low or that the kids are too young to have this kind of responsibility.
One commenter said, “I understand this more at a [high school] level but they’re lil kids dude let them live.”
To which McCorkle responded, “Did you ever consider that the kids may actually enjoy this?”
Some users supported the family’s decision to give their kids this type of responsibility and wished that they had learned this skill at a young age. “I cannot [fathom] how somebody could disagree with this, I wish my parents could have done this,” a user wrote.
Another user echoed, “[She’s] trying to teach them how to budget for what they need while also trying to save. Sorry but in this economy kids need this skill.”
McCorkle also makes it clear in a follow-up video that the money the kids receive to budget for hygiene product is not earned money. It is not part of their allowance or chore money. This is money that their parents give them outside of that in order to purchase the hygiene products they need based on their inventory and budget.
“This is money we would have been spending on hygiene products anyway, but the kids just get to choose how the money is spent.” she explained. “This gives them a better understanding of how much things cost and teaches them about money and how to budget.”
While the internet may have mixed feelings about how the McCorkle family teaches budgeting to their kids, it seems that science is on their side.
A 2022 study from BYU discovered that children who learn how to properly manage their money from their parents actually go on to have more fulfilling relationships with their significant others as young adults.
The study surveyed nearly 2,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 30 in romantic relationships. Those who indicated learning financial literacy from parents during their youth tended to enjoy a more flourishing romantic relationship as they entered adulthood.
If parents successfully teach their children about money, those children are more likely to have a healthier relationship with money and have healthy financial behaviors like saving and budgeting. These healthy money habits lead to less stress about money, which puts less pressure on a relationship. According to a study done at the University of Denver, 36.1% of divorces occur due to some sort of issue with finances.
“The kind of people that are careful with their money and put effort into it are also the kind of people who are careful and put effort into their relationships,” said Dr. Ashley LeBaron-Black, BYU professor of family life and lead author of the study. “Doing daily acts of nurturing to keep a relationship healthy is similar to doing regular things like budgeting to keep financial health strong.”
And also maybe having your kids buy their own hygiene products will mean they start using a reasonable amount of shampoo?