Monday, May 16, 2011

Kids and Money

It seems like every time we go somewhere, at least one of my kids will ask for something. The most commonly asked question in our family must be, "Can we have a treat?"

I'll confess my responsibility... Used to be that I couldn't walk through a store without getting myself a treat, either. So I was more than happy to fulfill their requests.

Until I realized the amount of money that gets wasted over the course of a month by simply getting little treats a few times per week.

In an effort to change this whole pattern, we decided to try doing allowances with our kids. The idea was that if they have a little bit of their own money to get a treat with, the continual asking will end. Hopefully, this would have the added benefit of teaching our kids some money management skills that we seem to be lacking.

Here's what we've been doing:

- Each child begins by getting the amount of money that's equivalent to their grade level. (So allowance begins in grade 1 with $1 per week.)

- The allowance cap is $3. (Meaning no one will ever receive more than $3 per week.) If you're wondering on the reasoning for this, it's partly that we don't want anyone to have too much money; the purpose really is for a treat or two. As well, once everyone's getting allowance, we'll be paying out $15 per week!

- Prior to putting any spending money in their piggy banks, the kids must first put 10% of their allowance in their tithe jar and another 10%in their savings jar. (The savings jar is not to save up for a big item, but rather to learn the habit of building a savings fund for emergencies. If they want big items, they'll need to save in their piggy banks.)

We've been handing out allowance for about two months now, and I am just not sure it's serving its purpose. The kids are asking for treats less frequently, but they are constantly asking to be taken to the store! And I must admit that it's a bit of a headache to remember to get $8 in change every weekend.

So here's what I want to know...

Do you do allowance? (Or have you ever?)

How much?

Does allowance have to be earned?

Can allowance be lost?

And do you feel that having an allowance is an important part of learning how to manage money?


  1. Allowance can definitely be lost, but in my opinion it shouldn't be earned: the reason simply being that chores should be done because it is right to do them. With my parents, there was a sort of accountability that allowance was something given out of appreciation for things we did around the house, but not used as a bribe.

    When Sarah and I were little, as allowances went up, what our parents bought for us became more and more limited. When I was 13 my parents would buy me new clothes at the beginning of the school year (and maybe some when summer came around), but if I wanted anything after that, it was expected I buy it myself. And yes, I do think it helped a lot in how I managed money! :)

  2. We struggled over this issue for a long time but then led the Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at our church. His philosophy is the best I have heard of. Children have jobs to do that they do not get paid for, responsibilities for being part of the family. They also have jobs they get paid for. There is job training done along side a parent so they know how to complete the job. When they complete a job they are to come to a parent and request their work be inspected. When they are paid each week, they set aside 10% for tithe, 10% for savings and the rest is for spending. My girls were excited to have their own money to put in the offering and learned to think about what they really wanted to save for instead of just always bringing money along and buying whatever caught their eye at the store. Some of our girls saved to buy American Girl dolls. Another bought a camera. It also helped when they wanted something to be able to say, "You have money." Interestingly, often times they didn't want it enough to spend their money on! We did not pay our girls for cleaning their rooms, folding their clothes or doing schoolwork as we feel that was their responsibilities. Much like adults don't get paid for everything they do. We did pay for dusting and sweeping the other parts of the house and washing dishes and folding other laundry such as a sibling's that was too little. They also saw my husband and I sitting down each month to develop a spending plan following the FPU principles. I highly recommend the FPU class! It was such a blessing to our marriage. By planning together each month, we had better communication about our needs and goals.


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