48 answers

Giving an Allowance?

Hi Moms! Our 10-year old son is requesting a $5 a week allowance. He takes out the trash and recycling; sets and clears the dinner table; empties the dishwasher, gets the mail, folds the laundry and occasionally vacuums and helps me in my office. However, we already buy him everything he needs and most everything he wants. Yes, he's spoiled. But he still wants more. So he wants an allowance to buy the few things he don't buy him such as Wii games. However, we don't think he will save an allowance week after week to buy a game. He would most likely spend it on soda and candy--two items we don't want him consuming. Please advise. Should we give him an allowance and if so, how much? Thanks!

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So What Happened?™

Wow! Thank you ladies for all your responses. We've decided to give our son the $5 per week allowance he requested. But not for helping around the house; he is still expected to do that because he is lives under our roof and we feed, clothe and shuttle him everywhere. As for the allowance, I explained that $4 per month is to be given to our church, and together we would decide how much would be saved and the remaining he could spend on anything he wants--even soda and candy but that we, his parents, would still retain control over when he consumes the soda and candy. His response? He said he probably wouldn't buy soda and candy every week because he wants to save his money for a scooter too! He even figured out how long it would take him to save enough money for it. Yes, I do have an amazing child; I'm truly blessed. Now I'll teach him about managing money. Oh, and I forgot to mention in my request, I do pay him $5 per day every day he helps me in my office. I don't always have brochures to stamp or products to put labels on, but when I do that $5 would be additional to his allowance. Thanks again ladies for passing on your knowledge and experience!!!

Featured Answers

I think allowances are a good thing. It teaches good work ethic for later in life. Also you won't be able to keep soda and candy from him forever, maybe make a compromise, one week he can have a candy bar the next week a soda.

At the local swapmeets, they sell ceramic piggybanks with NO opening. My BIL makes his kids stuff them to the top and when they cant get one more cent in, they take it out and bust it open. They love that part, and always have more then $200 saved (depending on size). Just an idea.

I think getting an allowance is a great way to learn about handling money. But I make my kids use their allowance to buy the things they want, instead of me paying for it like I would if they didn't get an allowance.

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I think an allowance of $5 is fair since he is doing his chores. Your doing a great job if he does that much. I don't know many kids his age that do that much even with an allowance. I'd however make it a rule that he has to put half of it into savings for the future and help him learn to be responsible and learn about real life a little. I'd take him down to your bank and have him open a savings acount. I think it would help him become more self reliant and learn responsibilty and make him feel good about himself...get him thinking about the future like paying for college, down payment on a home etc....Life isn't a hand out...he's going to have to work hard to get what he wants and this will show him how a little. You could even talk about family expenses and maybe he wont just waste it away on junk food and meaningless items. Good job! and Good luck!

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The standard rule these days (or so I'm told) is a dollar per year. So if he is 10 years old, $10 a week. Consider yourself lucky if you get away with giving him $5 a week. He is plenty old enough to learn how to manage his own money, and that is a VERY important skill to learn. Learn being the operative word. If you tell him what to do with his money, how to spend it, what he can and cannot buy (within reason), where is the learning experience? You cannot control every aspect of his life, and it WILL backfire on you if you try. A little freedom in his life now will go a long way toward preventing him from becoming a rebellious teenager in a few years. The years between birth and ten are an eternity compared to what is ahead. He will be a teenager before you know what hit you, and if he feels too controlled and restricted, you will be in for a wild, wild ride. You will wish you'd lightened up a bit on your "no soda, no candy" policy when suddenly your issues are now drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Mom of 26, 23, 21 and 8 year old boys. And yes, my 8 year old gets $8 per week for his allowance - but only if he does his chores well, and without complaint.

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Here is just a suggestion. Since you are already providing everything that your son needs and/or wants. Why don't you use this allowance situation as a great way to teach him about saving. Advise him that he will get an allowance, however 50% of it must go to a savings account. If he puts in $2.50 a week by the end of every year he can have a savings of $130+. At the end of the year he can decide what he would like to do with the money, continue to save or he can use it to buy something that he really wants. But you have to be very specific in saying that this is only a once a year option and no you can't just take it all out and be willie nillie with it. He is at a great age to learn the value of a dollar and that if you work hard and save your money you can accomplish some great things. My uncle did that with my cousin at a very young age. Ever since she was born 1/2 of every dollar that was given to her went straight to the bank and she got a kick out of making her deposites. When she turned 18 she had a nice chunck of changes saved and bought herself a car. She is better at saving money then most adults.

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Ok, so here's what my parents (who had PLENTY of money) did and it was great.

We got X amount of money every 2 weeks (like a paycheck) if ALL of our chores had been completed each DAY (and marked off) for the entire 2 weeks. 1/2 we could spend the way we wanted (as long as mom and dad approved) and the other 1/2 HAD to be saved. I always spent my 1/2 and my brother always saved 100%. When we turned 16, I bought a car and my parents would match whatever we wanted to spend on a car. I had $3000 saved, so I got a 66 Mustang. My brother had over $10,000 saved and he bought a brand new Ford truck.

Also, my mom bought our school clothes and would pay $20 for a pair of Jeans, and if we wanted a $60 pair of Guess jeans, then, we had to cough up the other $40 for them. It quickly made me realize that 1 pair of Guess Jeans were enough...and what the difference between a "want" and a "need" was.

You could split it up for there is some money for tithing as well.

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Dear J.,

I was HORRIBLE about giving an allowance to my kids! And, like you, buy them whatever they need [and many things they don't (=] . . . There are so many theories on allowances - the one I liked was in the book Making Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours, by Kevin Lehman. He stated that children should have jobs to do . . . but they don't get paid to do them. They receive an allowance simply for being a member of the household - just like you would even if you did not work outside the home - BUT if they DON'T do their jobs, then they must PAY someone else to do it - just like you would (such as paying someone to mow your lawn if you don't do it yourself)

Good luck with how you decide to work this - and I hope you are better with it and more consistent than I ever was!!! (=

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We give our 10 year old son an allowance, and recently raised it to $5.00. He is to tithe (10% off the top to church), and also save a portion of it. You decide how much you require him to automatically save--10 or 20% is the norm. He ends up saving most of it anyway--he's actually very thrifty with HIS own money!! :) For instance, right now he's saving for Rock Band, so his money is going straight to his drawer and he's not taking it out for much, believe me! The nice thing about an allowance is giving children a feeling of power---and it's also a learning experience--how to budget and save, learning the difference between needing something and wanting something, learning about frivolous spending, etc. These are some of our rules---he has to have the money with him when he wants to buy something. (Learned skill=planning ahead) So if we're at Target and he wants to buy baseball cards, if he doesn't have his money, he usually doesn't get them. (Okay, I do cave once in awhile!) I read that in a children's money manager book "Capitate Your Kids" and liked the idea.... He can buy junk with it, but needs permission to actually eat the junk, so that I can control the amount. However, he has NEVER, not ONCE, bought junk food (or any kind of food) with his money. That's not where he wants to spend it! So, yes to the allowance and the amount, and it's okay to put some rules on it---require savings, can't eat junk w/o permission, etc. Just don't take away his "power" that he feels when he gets his money and can spend it how he likes it. Check out the "Capitate Your Kids" book from the library, it'll be very helpful!

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Here's an idea I have used. To encourage saving, offer him an allowance of $2.50 cash to spend but if he saves it you will match it creating the $5. he wants....then set a limit, such as "when you have saved $50, you can spend $25 of it".

We live in a culture that promotes debt and scoffs at fiduciary responsibility so teaching you kids about balancing long term and immediate needs is crucial.

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Hi J.,
Here's one Mom's opinion on allowance. I have an almost-9 and a 12 year old (boys). I think allowance helps children learn important lessons about money, spending saving, etc. and they should be allowed to do this on their terms. Some kids are naturally better with handling money, but it is important they have these oppotunities to learn. For example, they spend all their money on Burger King, then ask you to buy them something at the store later - you can say, "That's something you'd buy with your own money." Then they realize they don't have any money, they've spent it, and they will start to think about how they spend it. My two boys get a very minimal allowance compared with their friends. My older boy gets $3 a week. It's not tied to any chores. He just get that every Sat. no matter what. We also pay him $5 to mow either the front or back and he alternates between the two every week and gets $5 for that. If he's too busy and we do it, then he doesn't earn the $5. We want him to really understand the concept of earning your money, so that is why we do that. I would suggest you add a chore for your son to earn the $5, such as washing your car each weekend. It is true our kids have everything they need and then some, but they also need to learn about money. We also watch what our older son eats as too much sugar can really get him hyper (and then the crash makes him over-emotional), so he knows he cannot buy sugar with his money. We do let him buy some junk food (which we don't like either), but draw the line at sugar. As they get older, you really have to start letting this go. So we are currently in that process of trying not to be too controlling over what he eats and let him live with the consequences. Sometimes.
All the best to your family!

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