What is the Opposite of Spoiled?


The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber

I’ve never been good with money. But I have also never been spoiled. As a teacher, I am interested in teaching kids about money. Maybe if I understood the world of money better, I wouldn’t have to live pay-cheque-to-pay-cheque. It is time that I learned how to be “grounded, generous, and smart about money” as the subtitle of this book implies. And maybe, I can pass that knowledge on. That is why I read this book.


“If a child can count and is asking questions about where money comes from and what things cost, then it’s time to begin an allowance.”

How Much?

“$0.50 – $1.00 a week per year of age is a good place to start, with a raise each year on their birthdays”

Tracking and Storing

“In my family, we divide the money into three clear plastic containers; one each for spending, giving, and saving. This is, in effect, a first budget. Splitting the money introduces them to the idea that some money is for spending soon, some we give to people who may need it more than we do, and some is to keep for when we need or want something later.”


“Younger kids have a fuzzy sense of time, so any savings goal should be relatively short-term at first. By keeping the goals modest, there’s a better chance of meeting them. Make them concrete, too; it can help for children to cut out a photograph of whatever it is they’re saving for and tape the visual onto the container itself.”


The author suggests the jar method rather than a bank because it makes process visible and real.

Needs and Wants

“It’s also useful to have kids generate their own list of needs and wants at the outset of the allowance process.” The author suggests setting up a Want/Need continuum to help avoid whining and arguing. This can be used to show how much you are willing to pay for a child’s need. For example, your child might need boots, but they don’t need the $200 pair. Start out by drawing a horizontal line with the $25 used boots on the left and the $200 pair they want on the right. Then draw a line vertically down the paper in the range you are willing to pay. Anything on the other side of this line would then be considered a want.


Everyone in the house has to do do chores. It is part of earning your keep and non-negotiable.That is why it is not a good idea to tie chores to allowance. We want to teach our children about money. It’s not about working to earn it at this point. Besides, your child might choose not to do any work and be fine not earning any money. Would you be fine with them not doing any chores? Probably not.

One way to teach about work ethic would be to allow your child opportunities to recognize and resolve problems. This could be as simple as seeing a big pile of leaves in the backyard and offering to clean it up for a negotiated price. This encourages your child to think entrepreneurially.

Hours of Fun Per Dollar

Instead of talking about return on investment in ways that a child might not understand, you can ask them to think about the concept of hours of fun per dollar. My hackey sack night have been the best dollar I ever spent. I have had it for years and used it time and time again, for example.

Banned List

We should let our children have control over how and when they decide to spend their money. However, we can set up a list of things we don’t allow them to spend their money on, if necessary.

Experiences vs Material Items

It is a good idea to require your children to spend a portion of their money for experiences rather than things. As a family, we can have fun doing things together that help us build memories rather than simply buying things that may not last as long.

Screen Time Limits

Try an experiment and remove all time limits for screens and devices. This helps your children regulate themselves

Great Read with Practical Tips

This was a great read full of tips that you can use in your parenting to help your child to become financially literate. I plan to use some of these in both my teaching and parenting.

My List of 2018 Reads – everything I read this year with links to each title