Mother sparks debate after charging her young children for rent and utilities

A mother has sparked a debate after revealing her method for making sure her children grow up as financially literate as possible.

Samantha Bird recently took to TikTok to share that her three boys, aged six, eight, and nine, all need to pay rent, utilities, and their share of the groceries every month.

“Each week, they get paid $6. One dollar per week is expected to go toward their [monthly] expenses,” the mother said in her video.

When the first of the month arrives, the boys then owe their mother $1 for rent, $1 for utilities, and $1 for groceries. “They track it on their budget trackers and other spending or categories happen after those payments. They set that dollar in a separate envelope for utilities, and then at the beginning of the next month, we charge them for their bill,” Bird added.

As for her reasoning on why she wanted to introduce the topics of bills and expenses at such a young age, Bird noted that this was a “safe environment” for them to learn about money compared to figuring it out when they’re grown up.

“We increased the boys’ allowance to accommodate them paying ‘mock’ bills,” she captioned the clip. “I want them to have a sense of responsibility and learn how to manage expenses in a safe environment now!”

After posting, her video was viewed more than five million times, with many people leaving comments about how smart they found the concept.

“This is a great idea. Girl you need to create a program for these kids,” one comment read.

Another commenter agreed, writing: “First I was like wow this is ridiculous then I was like man I wish I learned this at any point of my life.”

However, not everyone loved the idea, with some claiming that rent shouldn’t be something children in elementary school should be worrying about.

“They should be children, they shouldn’t have to worry about anything,” one person wrote in the comments.

“WAAAAAAAY TOO YOUNG. Let them just be carefree for a while,” another commenter agreed.

Other commenters had some questions regarding the system, like what happens if one of their bills doesn’t get paid or where the bill money actually goes.

“Love this. Wondering do you put the money you charge them into an account for their future?” one person questioned.

“Do they get their bicycles repossessed or get evicted if they don’t pay?” another commenter asked.

Bird went on to post follow-up videos, in which she answered some of the commonly asked questions about making her children pay rent. For starters, she confirmed they don’t get evicted if they end up not paying any of their bills.

“They’re children,” she said. “We work with them to make sure that they set aside enough money. It’s not a problem that actually comes up.”

She explained that she aims to keep the mock bills “lighthearted and fun”. She then explained that she has her children doing this because she wants them to know financial self-control and to manage expenses — skills they’re going to need when they’re older.

“I want them to grasp the idea of it now while they’re little and this process still feels fun for them,” Bird explained, adding that the money the children pay will go into individual savings accounts that they’ll be surprised with when they’re older.