Multi-Millionaire, Jim Bob Duggar, Used To Pay His Kids 3 Cents Per Chore

Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar have made several million dollars over the years. While they rose to fame as a supersized family that used a smart budget to keep their family fed, it’s been clear for years that the Duggars have a lot of money. From the family’s reality TV show alone, Jim Bob has netted more than $10 million. His expansive real estate business has also ensured the family can afford a large house and a fleet of airplanes. Jim Bob and Michelle didn’t amass a fortune by giving their money away, though. It turns out, the parents to 19 children paid their kids just pennies for completing household chores.

The Duggar family operated on a “jurisdiction” system for years

The Duggar family’s first specials on TLC were dedicated to helping viewers understand how such a large family worked on a day-to-day basis. At the time of the first special, the Duggar family had 13 children. With more than a dozen kids running around the home, most would have assumed the family operated in a state of mass chaos. That wasn’t the case. In fact, the Duggar kids appeared to have far more regimented lives than most children their age. Michelle Duggar credited a jurisdiction system with helping her stay sane while raising so many children and being consistently pregnant, too.

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So, what is the jurisdiction system? Instead of assigning children particular chores, the Duggar family assigned their children areas of the home that they were responsible for keeping clean and tidy. Each child was assigned a domain and all of the chores that went along with keeping the area up. For example, one of the Duggar kids was responsible for cleaning the bathrooms, while another was responsible for completing the family’s daily loads of laundry. a fan blog post explained that each day the kids pinned a schedule and chore pack to their clothing to stay on track. Throughout the day, they were allowed to check off tasks they had completed.

Jim Bob offered his children 3 pennies for completed tasks

In the family’s book, The Duggars:20 and Counting!, Michelle recalled how Jim Bob ensured his kids were motivated to complete their daily tasks. For every chore that was checked off, Jim Bob offered the kids 3 cents. Based on what Michelle wrote in the non-fiction offering, larger jobs did not garner higher pay rates, and the pay stayed the same across the board for each of the kids, regardless of their age. Michelle suggested the system might have even worked “too well” because the older kids figured out they could make $21 per month if they completed every task on their list each month.

Michelle Duggar stands by while Jim Bob Duggar speaks at The Values Voter Summit
Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar | Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

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Family followers may notice that the math seems a bit off. To make a single dollar, the Duggar kids would have needed to complete about 33 different tasks. To make just $21 in a full month, the kids would have had to check 700 items off their list each month, which breaks down to 21 tasks per day. Is it possible that the Duggar kids were weighed down by that many chores? No, the Duggar kids didn’t have 21 chores to complete a day. Their charts consisted of every task they needed to finish in a day, including basic hygiene tasks and school work. Still, family critics point out the Duggar kids were tasked with far more than they should have been at a young age. In fact, the four eldest girls were seemingly expected to raise the younger kids.

Michelle Duggar’s commentary on paying her kids didn’t age well

Michelle’s commentary on how she and Jim Bob compensated their children for their time hasn’t exactly age well. In recent months, Derick Dillard, who married Jill Duggar in 2014, has chosen to spill some serious family tea. One of his most scandalous admissions is that none of the Duggar kids are paid for their time on the family’s TV show. After Josh Duggar’s scandal broke in 2015, the family’s show was canceled. A few months later, the Duggars were back on a rebranded series that was supposed to follow Jill and Jessa Duggar as they embarked on married life. Even though the show is about the kids, Derick insists none of them are paid for their time, and that Jim Bob still holds the only contract with TLC.

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Derick also claims that Jim Bob has actively prevented his adult children from getting jobs outside the family and that he is willing to cut off children who don’t continue to bend to his will. Jill is mostly estranged from her expansive family. The rift happened after the couple decided to walk away from Counting On. An insider also once claimed that Jinger Duggar, who married Jeremy Vuolo in 2016, was briefly disowned by her family when she moved to Los Angeles. Jinger has, reportedly, only been welcomed back when a church elder pointed out how badly a rift would reflect on Jim Bob.