Children and Allowance

I was watching a few minutes of Wife Swap the other day (I only catch a few minutes here and there since I rarely watch any television at all) and one family was a homeschooling family and the children were given allowance each week but they had to divide it up into various categories, one of them being taxes. The parents said that dad has to pay taxes on the money he makes, so they followed the same example.  Like I said, I only caught a few minutes of it, and the other family they showed near the end one of the children saying, “Ten dollars a week, cool!”

Maybe I wasn’t listening closely enough, but that made me think these families were giving their children allowance of $10 a week to each child! My how times have changed!

Yesterday I was reading over at MoneyMonk a post entitled Allowance or Commission.  The writer states that she received $5 each week from her father and was not required to do anything to earn it.  She feels this was detrimental and wants to do different with her child.

For many years while my children were growing up we lived below poverty level, so allowance wasn’t an option; however, I did my best to help them have the things they wanted, if at all possible.   When I started working, we just continued with that method, instead of giving allowance. I felt that worked out pretty good, but sometimes I wonder if I did a disservice to my children by not giving them an allowance.

When I was growing up, my allowance was ONE QUARTER a week.  This was during the seventies and the eighties (not the twenties and thirties, lol). If that isn’t enough of a joke, my mom couldn’t even afford to give us our one quarter, so she kept track in a little notebook of how much money she owed us. And we did most of the chores around the house.

What are your thoughts about children and allowance?  Do you give your children allowance? How much? If you don’t have children but will one day, have you thought that far into the future to know how you will handle allowances?

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12 comments to Children and Allowance

  • I never got one and I really haven’t thought about giving my kids one. I still turned out pretty responsible. I never really thought about it when I was a kid though!

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Mrs. Money, I didn’t really get one either, and I turned out responsible. Maybe having an allowance doesn’t really have anything to do one way or the other with how a person turns out with regards to money. Maybe we all have an inclination to be a saver or a spender and will follow that through no matter if we got allowance or not. It’s funny because there were all these things I wanted my children to be able to do and have, that I wasn’t allowed – like getting a learner’s permit to drive – I am so glad my son got the chance to do that because neither his dad nor I were “allowed” to and ended up waiting until we were adults before getting a driver’s license. I got distracted there but giving an allowance wasn’t high on my priority list. I just sometimes feel maybe I could have done better. I guess most parents feel that way. Thanks for commenting!

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  • When I was young, I did receive an allowance of a dollar a week. But it was only if I completed my chores. I had about three things I did around the house: empty the trash, wash the dishes (we didn’t have a dishwasher!), and clean up after the dog. If I got all three things done throughout the week, I’d be given my allowance. It wasn’t much, but it did teach me that I had to earn my money. I thought it was a good lesson!

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Little House, thanks for weighing in on this debate! You will probably be one to give allowance if you have children, right?

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  • Growing up, my parents were very inconsistent when it came to mine and my siblings’ allowance. Mainly because they just couldn’t figure out a good way to do it! I don’t think it was detrimental to my own spending/saving habits though. I am pretty inconsistent when it comes to my five year old’s allowance though, so maybe that’s a result. He gets about a dollar a week. I don’t tie money to chores at all. I’m afraid that my son will tell me he’s okay with not getting any allowance so long as he doesn’t have to clean up his toys! I want him to do chores around the house and I want him to have some money of his own to learn to manage and I don’t want them linked together because that could mean that one of those things isn’t happening.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Alison, I think that’s good that you are picking your battles with your son. If you’re afraid he will be okay without allowance, I’m sure you’re right and he would be, so your purpose would be defeated. Thank you for another perspective on this!

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  • I feel if you get money with no effort, you would grow up thinking the world owe you something

    I feel that there are things my daughter should do simply because I said so, and there are chores to do that give appreciation/reward

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  • I didn’t have an allowance either, but at one point my mother made a very complex chore grid so that we could earn 5cents for scrubbing the toilet, 10 cents for emptying the dishwasher etc.

    I remember very distinctly deciding it wasn’t worth the 5 cents! I was six and didn’t really need the money. . . 🙂

    I think that if/when I have kids, I would not even consider an allowance. High school kids who need some spending money can do little jobs like baby sitting or lawn mowing. And as for the chores, I would be likely to have my kids increase or change their responsibilities as they grown older. I agree with Moneymonk–why pay for kids to do something they should do just because you ask them? AND I think that people who grow up without learning how to do basic housekeeping and cooking are in trouble!

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  • I remember being given a quarter for my allowance and buying hockey stickers for my Panini hockey book. It eventually grew to $2 once a few chores were completed!

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Rat, my children used to have fancy rats. They loved those little critters. It sounds like you got a nice raise every so often for your allowance to go from a quarter to two bucks! Thanks for sharing in the conversation!

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  • I give my children (ages 8 & 11) a $25 allowance at the beginning of each month. It’s called an allowance, but for me, it’s more like their snack money. Both boys play sports and we’re at the ballfield about 5 times a week where there is a concession stand. They always want something. The $25 is their snack money. They can spend it on snacks or save to get something else. But…I don’t give them any money for fast food stops, movies, videos, or “toys”. The boys are expected to do chores and they do them. The chores are not related to the money. There are special jobs around the house that have pre-assigned dollar amounts and they can do these jobs if they want extra money. We’ve tried a few different things, and this works best for us. I think different things will work for different families. We all want to teach our children the value of a dollar and we all learn this is different ways.

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