Allowance - Villa Ridge, MO

Updated on September 13, 2009
S.W. asks from Villa Ridge, MO
26 answers

So, my husband and I are taking this wonderful class at our church called Parenting on Purpose and we have learned a lot of great stuff and gotten great ideas. One of the ideas in on allowance to help teach kids how to save, importance of tithing and just how to handle money. Our proplem is that we don't want the allowance tied to chores, they do chores because they live in our house and we feed them. This is also in the class and we fully agree and is why we haven't done an allowance before. I don't want to pay them for doing things like make their beds and take out the trash. We all have to do our part to keep our house in order.

My question is, how on earth do we give an allowance and have it mean something without having it tied to chores? I've have it suggested that we tell them that because they go to school and work hard at school that they will get an allowance (we're only talking about $2 a week). Will they buy the "you go to school/camp and that is like your job. Then I feel like - great now were paying them to go to school. We're almost ready to give up, but we think it's important for them to learn about money and the value of money and the things they want to buy. Something so simple should not be this hard!!

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answers from Kansas City on

What about rewarding them every week with how their behavior is and whether they have accomplished their tasks (whatever they may be and that you set out for them)by the end of the week? How about rewarding them when grade cards come out and for all the hardwork they have done (kinda like a bonus at a job)? I understand the chore thing and that you don't want to tie that in with the allowance as that is a part of daily living in a house.....however, children don't always understand that concept and little something extra for doing those tasks without being asked repeatedly could go a long way. Hope that helps. Let me know how it goes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I'd say make a list of the everyday things they should do (that they don't get paid for) then have a list of jobs that are above and beyond the chores that they would get paid for with a set amount for each. That way they know they still have to do things to help out around the house, but they also have the choice to earn money.



answers from Kansas City on

How about, instead of tying it to school, since they have to do that just as they have to do chores, telling them that you're giving them an allowance because you want them to learn about money and financial responsibility? I find that the truth is always easiest and best.

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answers from Kansas City on

what about paying them for doing good in school then instead of chores. my 12 yr old has chores to do to earn her allowence, for every chore that she doesn't do she gets docked a quarter and she doesn't like reminders to do her chores. you could apply the same concept to your kids if they are bringing home good grades. also she has to save 10% of her allowence which goes into her college funds. we feel that this teached her

1. the value of money (she can do whatever she likes with her spending portion and she really watches what she buys or saves for something big or to have extra on trips)

2. the importance of saving (10% to her college fund, we contribute to it also ea month)

3. you have to earn or money and don't get paid if you don't do your job (just like the real world)

hope this helps and gives you some ideas


1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

We don't give our son any allowance, but he is allowed to do extra chores for a set amount of money if he chooses to, and he has his regular chores that he does for no money, of course. We feel that it shows him he needs to work harder to get what he wants. He gets money for birthday and holidays from relatives, and he's good about putting it into his piggy bank for things he really wants, too. Be careful that paying your kids an allowance for going to school then ties it into school-- shouldn't good grades be a reward in themselves? If they do poorly in school for whatever reason, do you revoke it? We decided on our extra chores for cash method b/c my husband's mother gave him a substantial allowance for just being himself when he was growing up, and during our lean first-married years he fully expected to have spending cash in his wallet at all times. It took a long time and some serious financial realities for him to realize that you don't get money just for doing what you always do. We didn't want to set our son up for that frustrating lesson somewhere down the line. Good luck in your decision-- that's a tough one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Hey S.,
I am very interested in the Program and classes you and your husband are taking at your church, Parenting on Purpose. Could you find out how I could get ahold of this info. You see I live overseas with my husband in a country they do allow open meetings of people getting together for worship. I think this something that could not only help us with our grandchildren when we have them in the summer, but help their parents as well. Also, it may be something someone could teach our people group to do with their own children or for my friends here.
I also, want to encourage you in your blessed journey with your family. Your girls are only 6 and 8. Maybe an allowance isn't necessary. However, if your girls are really wanting it. What about implementing extra work for them to do. Like take the laundry out of the dryer and fold it. Or walk the dog in the back yard. Because maybe it would not be a good idea to let them go in the neighborhood. But these things would be legitimate ideas for them to do that people do for a job. I hope this helps. I know that you may have already gotten ideas. I was in the states during the summer and well spending time with my grandchildren was more important to me than looking at my email. Which I have finally gotten down into the 500's from 1200. Well, anyway, my best to you. And if you could get back to me about the Parenting on Purpose I would really appreciate it. My email is Thank you so much and God bless you.



answers from St. Louis on

My parents did it this way: These x number of chores are to keep order in the house for everyone to work together as a family. But if you want to earn some money, then you can do these chores for mom and dad to help beautify the house or help out in other ways. Like we got extra money for watering the flowers, mowing the grass, washing their car so they didn't have to take it to a car wash. Those kinds of things didn't affect the way we lived as a family, but were appreciated in making our home look good to visitors. Hope that helps! :)




answers from St. Louis on

I see nothing wrong in telling them the actual truth. The allowance is for educational purposes. They need to learn how to make choices, how to make purchases, how to be responsible, how to contribute, how to be accountable, etc. If this IS your reason, then why not tell them so? There is nothing wrong with that as far as I can see.

You could even tell them that the allowance is just as much an expense of their education as the school materials you purchase. You can also make it more educational buy setting requirements, such as keeping a ledger of money flow. You can require that so much is saved for larger purchases, so much is contributed to church or charity, so much is saved for the purpose of investing, etc. Why not let them see what it means to build up some money and then help them learn to invest and monitor how the market rises and falls? You could treat the entire thing as a lesson plan.

Something that has also worked in some families is that the children are given the allowance in this way, and that allowance is subject to fines for specific offenses. In families where siblings have developed the habit of criticizing, a parent could set down the rule that we are going to attempt to change the habit of bickering into habits of encouragement and mutual respect. Then they could set a small fine for verbal sniping. It is helpful to print up warnings and tickets for a nickle per offense. Keep in mind that the child speaking out has often been antagonized to do so by the other child. So, you might want to give a warning to both children involved for each offense. That gives them the opportunity to correct the criticism with an encouraging statement. After one warning, the tickets are issued and each child owes a nickle. The warning slips can be printed to say something like, I think you are smart enough to handle this more effectively. If you want help with ideas about how to do so, let us know. This way, even the warnings are encouraging. In some families, siblings could lose a month's allowance very quickly and begin to lose next month's allowance as well. But, the beauty of this is that they are not being given the money for good behavior. They are given the money so that they will have the opportunity to learn, to contribute, and to buy things. So, if they lose an allowance or two in fines, they have also lost the power to save and contribute and learn, not just the power to make purchases.

There are many ways to teach responsible behaviors without the idea that they are being bribed to perform in school or play a role in maintaining the house they live in. There is nothing wrong with telling them that you are giving them this money so they can learn about how to work with it and develop the skills and understandings for managing money successfully.

Hope this helps you reframe the issue in a way that works for you. There are many ways to do this. You just have to look at it from a different angle.



answers from St. Louis on

We reward our kids for doing kinds things. We give them a ticket (like the kind from the fair) and they put it in a ticket can we had them make. When they do a good deed they get a ticket. When they do something that is not nice to someone, we take a ticket. At the end of the week they "cash in" their tickets for allowance. We have found that that they will go out of their way and look for good things to do to help their brother, sister or friend. It also makes them think when they are about to say or do something mean to a brother or sister because they do not like to have a ticket taken out! Hope this helps...good luck!



answers from Wichita on

I have the prefect solution to your problem. When I was a kid, we also had chores that we did as part of the family and did not get an allowance. When we wanted extra money for anything, we had to consult the "chore chart". It was a chart that always hung on the fridge and had chores or tasks that weren't done everyday and were worth money for us to do. It was things like clean out the closet,do ironing or clean out the fridge. When we were little it was empty all trash cans, brush the dog, poop-scoop the yard,or help with laundry. The chores can be easily adjusted to age, and it gives the kids a sense of earning something and knowing that they have to work for ehat they get. Stick to your guns about not giving allowance. I agree that the whole family is responsible for keeping the house running, but I know every house has some chores that get put off or don't need to be done everyday. I use this same system now with my two kids and 2 stepkids and it works like a charm!
Good Luck!



answers from Kansas City on

We took Parenting With Love & Logic, and I like how they phrased it... If you want your kids to learn to read, what do you give them? A book. If you want your kids to learn about money, what do you give them? Money... They teach not to tie it to chores either. BUT... YOU CAN CHARGE THEM if they don't do their chores and you end up doing something they were supposed to do. You can deduct it from their allowance, basically that they paid you to do their chore.



answers from Topeka on

I understand the theory of not paying them to do chores because they are part of the family and shouldnt be "paid" to do what is expected of everyone. the real world, they are "rewarded" for "doing their job"...they are also corrected, through less hours, loss of job etc, for NOT doing their job. How about a really basic "just because you are part of the family" allowance...say $1.00 or $2.00 but then if they go "above and beyond" they get a "bonus"??
Even more important are the other things you are teaching them, honesty,accountability,accepting responsibility, things that will help them be happy, loved adults and will also help them in their "real" jobs as they venture out into the work world.
My daughters are all grown now, and I like to think that the lessons we taught them as young girls has had a big impact on them and the fact that whatever job they have found themselves in, they have always been valued employees who have risen through the ranks at the workplace.
I have worked as a supervisor in several places and I can tell you that the biggest thing that I see missing with our young people today is a real desire to do a good job just because it somehow reflects on them!!! They are content to skate by, doing the least that they can get away with and the only day they like is payday.
R. Ann


answers from Kansas City on

When we were little, we were given an allowance ($1/week) and it was for spending money. So when we would be at the store and ask for something that was an extra, a want instead of a need, my parents would say they wouldn't get it, but we could use our allowance for it. There wasn't a reason or anything tied to it other than that.

When we were in high school, they gave it to us as lunch money - $20/week. It was our allowance and if we made our lunches ourselves, then we got to use the money for whatever we wanted to. Needless to say, that was incentive enough to make our lunch.

Good for you for starting them out on this plan now, and for emphasizing the saving and tithing.



answers from Wichita on

Good Morning! We too struggled with this issue ( I received an allowance as a child and could use the money as I wished; my husband never did and had to ask for money even to go out on dates in high school-his parents made all of the decisions about spending money); however, my husband and I have come up with a plan that seems to work fairly well. Our four boys get paid "circles" for any jobs that they do for us to help with the upkeep of the house and the yard. The circles are magnetic and stick to their magnetic chore charts. The jobs vary daily so each boy gets to experience all of the tasks it takes to keep a house/yard up and running. My husband and I use our own discretion for how many circles to give for each job (one for setting the table, four for mowing, etc.). Sometimes, we even give out bonus circles for extra tough jobs, as bonuses for winning fun challenges, etc. Then, about once a month, I count the circles and multiply it by five cents. Allowance--Voila! (If one of the boys does not complete a chore when asked, they do not receive the circles for that task). It doesn't cost us a fortune and the boys get some of their own money to learn to spend, save, etc. with.
We do not buy them anything except the essentials (clothes, food, etc.) and they pay for the rest (toys, snacks at sports outings, money toward tickets at the fair, etc.). If they do not have the money for the "extras" they learn to save it for the next time! Our boys have become good "savers" and good "spenders" over time.
We also take them to the store periodically and let them choose their own purchases (toys, candy, whatever they want) and let them use their own money to pay. This gives them experience in choosing whether to spend their money, spending their money and learning if it was worth it (did the product last long?), and learning to save ("I don't have the money for that; I need to save ten more dollars").
The boys recently went together and bought a Nintendo DS. One boy was short his portion and the other boys wanted to pay for him. I said "No, he needs to pay his share too." In order to teach the lesson on debt and payments, I took the other boys' money and we went to the store and I paid for the one who did not have enough money. He then is "in debt" to me and has to pay on a payment plan (a little each time he gets his allowance). On his own, he decided to take his fair money and make a "big payment" of over $20! He has $13 to go and it has been a great learning experience for him! He still does not really like any type of work, however, he has learned that it is not fun to be in debt and it IS hard work to earn money to get out of debt.
I realize that this is a long winded answer to your question and it does "pay" for chores; however, the payment is small allowing the boys to have money, but not enough that they can constantly buy big items without saving for them. We choose not to pay for school or grades (we usually take a family dinner out to celebrate their hard work each grading period) because not everyone is an "A" student and school is a requirement in life. We emphasize doing their very best.
Tell your kiddos that it IS a privelege to live in your house just like it is a "privelege" to have a job. If adults do not perform well at their jobs, they do not get paid and may even be fired. Of course, at this point the kiddos may say "just fire me." Say "okay" and do the work for a period of time, but take away all of the "perks" of living at home. For instance, we have one son who HATES to work and loves it when his brothers pick up the slack for him so what we did (it took less than two weeks to "cure him"; he still does not enjoy work --but let's be honest who does? however, now he does it willingly because the alternative was no fun). We stopped giving him circles and only provided him with the basics (clean clothes, a bed with sufficient sheets/blankets, food to eat), but NO extras. He had to "pay us" for the privelege to watch TV, play Nintendo DS, eat snacks or desserts(treats-we did not limit fruit or nutritious snack items), drink anything except water or white milk (he loves chocolate), or go to the park, pool, etc. The payment was in form of circles so soon he was running low on circles and his "allowance" took a nosedive! Soon, he began asking how he could earn money so we had him plan a lemonade stand, thought up extra jobs for him to do (challenging work too!), and allowed him to begin to earn money, circles, again. His work ethic has increased!
I know that you do not like the idea of tying allowance to household tasks, but it may help to think of it this way. Allowance contains the word allow. As parents, we "allow" our children the privelege to live at home. If the child feels that we should "allow" him/her to earn money, then he/she needs to be "allowed" tasks to do. If we allow them the task, and it is not done correctly, then we do not "allow" them to be paid. We simply "allow" them to do the task for free. We control what is allowed and not allowed. Kids are smart and will usually improve to get what they feel they are "allowed."
Good luck and once again sorry for the windy response! I hope it helps. Have a great day!\


answers from Kansas City on

I agree that this is VERY tricky. My 8 year old wants an allowance. But I have to constantly tell her to do everything. I may tell her 5+ times to comb her hair after a shower and she'll be letting it dry all clumpy. The same can be said for making the bed, brushing her teeth, picking up her room and really the list is endless. I have told her that I don't want to pay her for doing the basics. But, I will be glad to set a weekly allowance just for being part of the family and too young to get a job. But she won't see one dime from me until she proves to me that she's going to be more responsible at least much of the time. Right now we are at a stand off. She doesn't seem to feel the need to straighten up since she isn't getting an allowance. So I often have to explain that I buy her things like back packs, school supplies, her home schooling curriculum, her new pair of glasses, and that list is endless too. An allowance is above and beyond what I owe her as her mother. So she needs to learn about going above and beyond in her household, family, and personal duties.

It's a mess. I tried all kinds of chore charts with the older girls. We even paid 25 cents for every diaper they changed in the daycare when they were old enough to do them right. It just never felt right. I am glad to report that they are all very good on their jobs and they do go above and beyond. They are also good students and great girls.

Sorry, I am only agreeing with you that I don't know how to approach this.




answers from Springfield on

Teaching Kids About Money with Suze Orman - Show Recap
By Elizabeth Borer,
Original Air Date:Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Teaching Kids About Money - Frugal Teens Article:

Oprah was inspired to do this show, and first introduced the topic 5 days prior on the Friday Live episode, upon reading an article in the New York Times on frugal teens. The article explored how parents who always said yes to purchases for their children are now having to start saying no because of the financial crisis. This inspired Oprah to have financial expert Suze Orman help families talk to children about money and get them involved in the process.

Oprah first welcomed Wendy and Paul Postle and their kids Kaitlyn and Zach, who were featured in the NYT article

The family viewed themselves as living the American dream and openly admitted to overindulging their children, especially during holidays and birthdays. When the family's budget started to change, they needed to make adjustments in their spending in order to stay within the new budget. The Postle's started sharing their monthly bills with their children; son Zach first thought the monthly mortgage payment was a yearly number. The family started scaling back purchases and have said that it has brought them closer together - the children now understand what it takes to provide a comfortable life.

Teaching Kids About Money - Teens React:

A clip was shown from Gaithersburg High School in Maryland where teens shared their experiences during this crisis. The most common responses had to do with a fear of paying for college, parents being laid off, and having to go without many things they were used to having.

Suze responded to the clip by saying that there is no better time than now to start talking about money with kids. When everyone feels wealthy, parents said yes, according to Suze. Now that the bottom has fallen out, parents are starting to say no. Suze declared that a yes/no should not be based on the economy, but on values.

Teaching Kids About Money - How to Start:

Deirdre from Seattle had a question for Suze via Skype - her 3 young teen children make her feel like an ATM by the way they are always asking for more money once their allowance runs out, giving into them, she worries about scaring them if she tells them the truth or wonders if it's too late to start the conversation? Suze followed up with these tips: everything you do with money teaches your children; it's never too late to start a conversation about money; and you children do as you do, not as you say.

Teaching Kids About Money - Allowance:

Lori from California asked via Skype how she should respond to her 10 year old daughter wanting an allowance; also, what is an appropriate amount and should she earn it in some way? Suze stated that money has to be earned, even at 10. Suze's suggestion was for Lori to make a wage for her daughter based on the federal minimum wage - basically, $.10 and minute. Lori should sit down with her daughter each month and ask her what she needs the money for and figure out how much she needs to work to earn it. For efficient work, the wage can be increased - as well as decreased for work that is not up to speed or quality.

This will start to teach kids at 8/9/10 that good work equals good pay and job promotion, while poor work equals getting fired. Kids will start to learn the process of earning money based on quality performance. To start this, parents need to decide what kind of help or contribution they need from their kids around the house - it could be as simple as making their bed or helping with dinner. For Lori's daughter who asked for $20 a month, based on the $.10 per minute wage it would take her 4 hours a month to earn her allowance.

Teaching Kids About Money - Teen Credit Cards:

Erica from Washington asked via Skype if her daughter at 17 is responsible enough to have a credit card? Suze responded that each parent must answer that question for themselves. For a teen to have their own credit card, they need to understand that whatever they charge they must pay off in full at the end of each month; carrying no balance or minimum payment. Suze recommends: parents monitor a child's credit activity; make your child pay you in full 2 weeks before the bill is due as to not ruin their credit score; if they are responsible let them take over payments.

Teaching Kids About Money - Suze's Quiz and Tips:

Suze gave 3 questions that kids should be able to answer before having their own credit card:

1. Holding a $1,000 balance on a credit card and paying the minimum payment, how long will it take you to pay it off? Answer: 16 years
2. How much will you have paid in interest alone? Answer: $1694
3. Which of these are possible if you miss a payment/are late for a payment/or go over your limit? Answer: all - trouble renting an apartment, getting a job, or getting a cell phone or student loan.

Suze's 5 Tips:

* Start talking about money now
* Teach kids to value money
* Don't reward with money
* Be an example
* Teach kids how to prioritize

Teaching Kids About Money - A Letter From Dad:

Dan Kadlek, a contributing writer for Money Magazine, wrote a letter to his daughter Lexie before she went off to college about his concerns with her financial future. Dan shared that he feels kids should be prepared for reality in school - along with learning how to count and read. Lexie also appeared on the show via satellite from Miami University in Ohio where she is a freshman. Lexie shared that she appreciates the limits her parents have put on her spending and feels it will prepare her for the future when she has to support herself. Dan stated that great lessons to teach kids are how to live within their means and not treat credit cards as free money.

Teaching Kids About Money - Special Trips:

The final question to Suze came from Jean via Skype in Indiana. Jean wondered if she should take a loan out for her 5th grade son to go on a trip to Costa Rica with his class for their Spanish program. She shared that he has known about the trip since kindergarten, but that the family is over $20,000 in credit card debt and the trip would cost $2,500. Suze's final tip was to not tell your children that you can afford something when you can't. Food, shelter, medical care - basic needs are important for Jean to provide her son. If Jean does allow her son to go on the trip, she will be teaching him to live a financial lie because that will be the example she is setting.




answers from Kansas City on

There are 6 kids in my family and I'm not sure what my parents did for the rest. I'm the youngest 5 years younger than the next, but here's what they did... and I think it worked out pretty well, I'll do something similar when my kids are bigger. I got an allowance. I was expected to do certain chores, mostly dishes, mowing, keeping my room clean-ish (they didn't hound me generally) and then helping out with whatever needed done for about 2 hours Saturday morning. If there was something I wanted to buy, generally in my spare time they would find things for me to do and give me a dollar amount. Part of my allowance went toward a college account (thought I'm a little fishy about that, they might have just told me that to get me to understand about the cost of things and saving), and I got the rest. They didn't buy us much extra (having 6 kids, you hardly can), so they bought us clothes, but not name brands, if we wanted name brands, we paid for the extra. I bought candy, I saved up for toys I really wanted (one I saved and saved for, went out and bought, brought it home and cried because it wasn't worth all that hard work and went and returned it), and eventually started saving. When I turned 14 I got a job (though my parents weren't thrilled and made a lot of rules about when etc., they drove me) and the allowance stopped. I think that they pretty much explained it that the allowance was to buy the extras so I could choose which extras were important to me.

I don't know if that helped at all, it was really long... I think if you find a way to start that makes sense to you, you can always tweak things or explain more to them as things change.



answers from St. Louis on

Hi S.:
First off, I think it's wonderful that you are entertaining the idea of allowance. Second, you are correct in your statement about chores. There is a difference between a responsibility and a task. Making beds, dishes, and trash are all responsibilities. However, mowing the grass is a task, as well as watering the plants, pulling weeds, washing the car, yard duty (or diggin' for gold, as we like to call pooper scooping!) are all things that may be acceptable as a task to earn allowance. Please note that schoolwork should not earn them money. Their reward for working hard in school is their grades. It drives me insane when people pay their kids to do well in school. What better way to teach bribery???! A reward can be given at the end of the year if, for example, the child makes honor roll all quarters - maybe a gift card to somewhere, or something along those lines (but that you are going to do this shouldn't ever be told to the child in advance as it poses as bribery).
Also, be sure to make a chore vs task chart so your kids learn the difference, and to keep track of what they've done!
On another note, to just hand your child money and say, "here, you are getting this money for no good reason, except I want you to learn how to spend it" is ridiculous. You have to give your kids incentives so they know how to set, strive for, and achieve goals in life.
Good luck!



answers from Wichita on

Good Morning S., I think you are going to need to be very creative, IF you are concerned about not using normal chores as incentives for allowance. I do understand your dilemma. It's my job to run the home as it is yours ( by worlds plus you work outside the home), my hubby does an awesome job of helping out.

My son has his little boy, Corbin, go out and pick up sticks from the yard before he mows. He gets a penny for each stick he picks up and puts in a pile. His mama has him take things out to the recycle bin each week, he gets 25 cents. Also little Zane 22 mo,loves to move shoes, so he takes them to all and puts them by the door, he gets a nickle a wk lol

Right now Corbin is helping me crush soda pop can's to raise money for My Alzheimer's team walk in Oct. I give him 50 cents as its a lot of work. Removing the tabs for Ronald McDonald house then crunching the cans. He can actually crunch them in the smasher.. lol
They both have three piggy banks, one to save, one tithe or charity, one to spend.

I am sure you will be able to come up with something and the other Mama's probably have some great ideas and advice for you.

God Bless you for wanting to teach values through work ethics.

K. Nana of 5



answers from Kansas City on

I pay my children for chores that are not normally theirs. If my son mows the lawn, that is outside of his normal chores, or my daughters might help me with dinner or offer to water my plants. They seem to like it and they can be very helpful when they are saving for something. :)



answers from Joplin on

S., I understand teaching children the importance of money, I personally have never done the allowance thing myself. I have seen a really cute piggy bank that is divided money to spend, money to save, money to donate.
I respect your not wanting to pay for chores or as a reward for doing things that are already expected of them. I liked the other advice you have received, another idea might be offering additional optional chores to earn money? It is a tricky road to navigate. I hope you find something that works for you = )



answers from Wichita on

I don't really have any new advice, but I sure am proud how so many of you are teaching your children about money and spending. Keep up the good work you all, you won't be sorry. Plus it teaches them great working skills for later in life.
I work in a laundry and you would be amazed at how many young girls come to work here and don't know how to fold clothes or even hang clothes on the hangers correctly. It important to teach your children to be proud of the job they do, and doing it correctly.



answers from Joplin on

Our girls have certain things they are expected to do around the house, mow the lawn, take out trash, empty dishwasher, that they do because they live there and are expected to help out. BUT neither one likes to keep their room picked up so we give them allowance based on whether their room has been kept reasonably orderly all week. We also tell them they have to use this money to buy things they want all the time like gum, or going out with a friend if they get invited to dinner or a movie, etc.



answers from Kansas City on


I understand your dilema. We struggled with this also. We created "jobs" which were separate from the responsibilities that our daughter has as a member of the family. For example, clearing the table at dinner is something you do because we all have to work together to have meals together. But, shining Dad's shoes or vacuuming Mom's car are jobs. We used this to try and offload some of the things we do which we would never expect a child to do for us, but were willing to pay them to do. We came up with a list of these "jobs" and tied a dollar figure to them. At the end of the week we total up which ones were done and that tells us how much her paycheck is. We never called it an allowance, which was something we learned from Dave Ramsey.

Good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

Hi S.:

My husband and I are like you where in we don't like to give an allowance for doing chores. We believe that money should be about earning, saving, losing and spending. We have a small business that we started where they have the opportunity to earn. If you don't want or have a business that they can do that, they can go around the neighborhood doing chores for neighbors like mowing their lawns, picking up dog poop, pet sitting.

My eldest works our business once a week and makes $15 and does the neighbors' lawn for $10/wk. My other kids do other jobs w/ the business and get $15/wk too.

One thing I did with the kids was sit down w/ my laptop and showed them a spreadsheet. My eldest LOVES to spend. My 3rd LOVES to save, my 2nd loves to do both and the younger ones are still indifferent. Having sat them down, I started by showing my eldest that w/ his $25/wk, he can put $15 away into his savings, and keep the $10 for spending. This way he can satisfy both earning and saving. Using online calculators, I showed him what his monies will look like in 1 yr through 10 years. Then the other kids joined in and all were amazed. I also showed them that if they had over $2k already in the bank, they can move their monies to mutual funds where they can diversify their monies and have a higher interest earning account. Also showed them that they can have a small business so that they can put more monies away. Explained to them that because they are still very young, they do not have the kind of expenses we as adults have. By putting monies away now, I was able to show them that if they wanted to retire early in life and enjoy life, they can make it happen.

The best lesson of all after that exercise was my 2nd son asking, "so Mom, did you do that?" I told him, "If I was taught this lesson at your age, I'd be retired. But this was never taught to me, hence, I am passing the lesson to you all before it's too late."

Bring on the dreams now while they are free thinkers!

P.S. For chores, we have another system going. Also with the same concept of earning, saving, spending, losing... We use poker chips. For the different things they do around the house, they are given a certain value. There are 4 colors in poker chips hence, it's 1, 5, 10, 20. For each chore they accomplish, they earn 1. etc. If they make wrong choices, they lose poker chips, say fighting, they lose 5. They also can buy privileges. They created the list themselves. One of them being "GET OUT OF JAIL". (all privileges are in coupon form) Here is a cute story for you all:

My eldest left the house without permission and our lawn was not mowed. I wanted to punish him with doing the entire lawn for leaving but I did not want to associate punishment to chores. So, I grounded him for 1 wk. Well his 3rd brother had bought a ton of different coupons and told him, "If you do my share of the lawn, I will give you a GET OUT OF JAIL coupon." How about that for free enterprise?



answers from St. Louis on

After a similar class at our church, we did the same thing. We didn't feel it necessary to justify "why" our kids got the allowance (kids were 6yo and 4yo). We simply said they would - and they were thrilled. They are still required to do household chores and sometimes that includes a few extra things around the house but its not connected to the allowance at all. We felt the purpose of the allowance was to teach money management (saving, paying tithing, spending wisely, etc.) We felt the "how to earn money" issue would come later - since our son turned 14 he's been trying to find ways to earn more money than allowance and looking for some type of job with steady income but at least we know he can make wise choices with the money he earns because of the allowance.

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