Kid Allowances: What do YOU think?

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Kid Allowances: What to Consider

Let’s talk about kid allowances today.  Are they a “do?”  A “don’t?”  A maybe?  If so, how does your family go about it?

This subject recently came up in our home, as our little girl is now in 1st grade. As she continues to grow, we continue to give her more responsibility which she is handling with grace and a newfound maturity (most of the time).  With increasing her responsibility, we started talking about whether to give her an allowance at the ripe age of six.

Hmmm.

To be honest, I was uncomfortable with the idea (at first).  She hasn’t asked for a weekly allowance.  So why introduce it?  And the thought of giving her money to manage each week gave me the tiniest bit of a headache (okay, kind of a big headache).  Like, I could see us battling in the Target Dollar Spot every shopping trip.

Then, there’s the question of whether we should tie it to chores…have her earn it.  Or if we should just give it to her.

Pay her for chores?  For responsibilities she is supposed to be doing anyways to contribute to our home and being part of our family…?  It didn’t sit right with me (to begin with).

I had pretty much talked myself out of it.  At least for now.

And, of course, my husband brought up some pretty valid points as to why an allowance may be a great learning process for her (as I’m sure you knew he would!).

Benefits of an Allowance for Kids 

– We can teach our kids about how money really works in the “real world,” in a controlled and nurturing environment.

– Our kids will continue to hear about money – it’s everywhere.  Shouldn’t we teach them what our financial values are, and install them in our children at a young age?

– She understands numbers.  She understands basic math concepts.  She understands that we need money to buy things.  She understands that mommy and daddy help people at work…and that by helping people, we earn money so that we can buy things.  So let’s have her earn money by helping people.  (Hmmm, well played, honey. Well played).

– We should teach both of our kids the importance of saving and giving to charity at a young age.

If you decide to give an allowance, take into consideration…

– How much do you give your child?  Determine how you will calculate this on a consistent basis.

– Decide if you will tie their allowance to chores and/or behavior. If so, think about your parameters so that both you and your child understand the rules.

– Talk to your child about money!  Start a dialogue.  Ask them what they know about money.  How it’s earned.  What it’s used for.  Why it’s important.  How you feel about it.  How they feel about it. And so on and so on.  Best way to get a baseline for what they know!

What we’ve decided to do…

– We are going to give our daughter an allowance.  That she will have to earn (this part is still a work in progress).  Based on a lot of different research and reading (and somewhat loosely adapting a concept from Dave Ramsey’s financial methods), we have decided to give her three clear jars (so she can see the money…but you could use buckets, jars, baskets, envelopes…pick your preference).  One for savings, one for charity, and one for spending.

– Since she’s six, we will give her $1 per her chronological year…so she’ll get $6 per week.

– Each week, she will be asked to divide up her allowance equally.

– At the end of each month, so can choose how to give her money to charity.

Fingers crossed, this little experiment will be successful!  And, if it’s not…guess what?  We’ll come up with a Plan B!

Great Kid Allowance Resources:

Teach Kids About Money with Allowances
CNN Money

Should You Give Your Child an Allowance?
U.S.News Money

Understanding Kids’ Allowances
NickJr.

The Smart Way to Pay Kids an Allowance
U.S.News Money

Top 3 Kids and Money Q&A
Dave Ramsey

Here is a website that gives free printable behavior charts for allowances, should you decide to tie your child’s allowance to behavior or chores.

Pinterest even weighs in – check out the many, many pins posted about kid allowances!

There are hundreds of articles on this subject.  Hundreds!  I think at the end of the day, it comes down to you and your co-parent being on the same page.  Talk about the pros and cons, what you are both comfortable with, and set boundaries.

I want to hear from you!  What do you do in your home?  Do your kids receive an allowance?  If so, how did you determine how much?  Is it tied to chores?

Please share tips and experiences below!

4 Comments

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4
  1. 1
    jen says:

    I am so glad you wrote this because I have been toying around with the allowance idea for awhile now. The thing that stopped me is the uneasiness I felt for “paying” for regular chores / contributions around the house. But your post got me thinking of lots of ways we could structure it! I especially like the 3 jar plan. I think it’s important for kids to get an understanding of money and how to manage money, and this is a great way to do it. Thanks!!!

  2. 2
    Christy says:

    Thanks Jen!! Honestly, the three jars idea is why I agreed to it. I think it’s a great way to teach them about how to be responsible with their money – and to give back! We’ll see how it goes…

  3. 3
    Amanda says:

    We started Vincent on an allowance this past January. We split the money into envelopes, Spend, Save, Give. His are not ties to chores. I read an old book from the 70″s about parenting called Parenting without the Headaches I think. It recommended not to attach money to chores as that is something children will need to do all through out their life and when they’re adults no one is going to pay them to do the dishes. I have to do a better job staying consistent with remembering to give him his $1. I like the jar idea. I think it would be a better visual for him then the envelopes. I love how for 3 weeks in a row he chose to give his dollar to his friend Hunter who has a Congenetial Heart Defect. When Vincent asks for stuff we check his current money. We talk about how he needs to keep saving for certain things and if he chooses to spend his money on something smaller he won’t have enough money for the bigger things he wants. Excellent article Christy =)

    • 4
      jen says:

      Amanda – we are on the same page, agree on not tying it to chores. I think the lesson of delayed gratification and saving up for something are great lessons! Plus, they also make getting the item that much sweeter when you have to save for it. Thanks for your two cents :).

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