Allowance for 9-Year-old Boys

Updated on February 12, 2013
S.H. asks from Kennedale, TX
21 answers

We have 9-year-old twins and they are asking for allowance because they want to save up for something. But I don't really want to pay them for household chores that I think are just part of living here -- it seems to me that we all pitch in to keep the house going and it's not "50 cents for this and a dollar for that" because we all need to be responsible for our home.

I don't object to them having money or saving up (right now they have some birthday money and coins from lost teeth, and I understand their wish for more, plus they know that some of their friends "get" allowance) so I'm wondering about the best way to approach this. What has worked for you? Is a weekly allowance best, or what about a longer-term goal with a bigger payoff?

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answers from Washington DC on

I think it was $1/week in elementary, $5/week in MS, and $10/week in HS. I didn't control allowance for my sks and we haven't started it yet for DD. But it wasn't huge. That was for things they wanted or to buy new pencils when they lost them, etc. I wasn't going to buy the name brand cereal for $5 a box that week, but if they wanted to with their own money, they were allowed to. They did chores just because they were supposed to do chores, and the allowance was more something to teach them about money and to use as a tool if they misbehaved. Example, when my SS kept missing the bus in HS, we charged him $10 per ride to school. Funny how that made him smarten up...

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answers from Beaumont on

We do "commission". They don't get money for doing daily stuff but for "special" stuff. i.e. washing the car, washing the dog, anything that goes beyond what you expect from them. I also give a commission on extra effort.

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answers from Washington DC on

Some advice for acclaimed financial advisor Ric Edelman ...

One thing that rang true for us was teaching about 4 things with their allowance ...

1. Spend some
2. Save some
3. Donate some
4. Taxes

ETA - our kiddo is only 2, so no allowance yet. We will "tax" it though, as everyone has toay taxes and he'll need to learn it early. Our plan for the "tax money" is to invest it for him and have it ready for a larger purchase (e.g. Car, down payment, wedding, something like that).

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answers from Detroit on

My son, who just turned 9, gets $5 per week. He must put one in his "savings" piggy bank", he puts one in the basket at church, and has 3 to use for what ever he wants. He does tend to save up the $3 parts, too, but in a separate bank. The rest of his "savings" will go into an actual account one day, as soon as I can get there to open one!

We just upped it to $5 this year. He has always had to put one of his dollars in at church though. We felt it would mean more coming from him than for us to just hand him a dollar to put in. Honestly, he has been known to put in more than his one dollar at times because he just felt like it was the right thing to do. The Spirit moved him :)

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answers from Peoria on

I give my daughter, who is 7, $3 per week. To receive this on Friday, she must do her homework without complaint (including the extra "homework hero" and online stuff) that does not come home in the backpack.

She must pay me back what I decide if she is unkind to her brother (it's usually 50 cents or $1 if she is really mean, like hitting), picks her nose (yes, I'm serious, bad habit), or gives me trouble with her homework and anything else that comes up in the course of the day that I decide warrants payment. I do not take her money lightly and she definitely knows which behaviors will warrant payment because they are consistent and she gets warnings, because she is a kid after all.

When she is ready to spend her money, we talk about how much she has and how much something costs that she wants to buy. If she does not have enough, we talk about how long she will have to save to afford it. We do not offer a line of credit :) We discuss how much taxes will be added to the amount she sees it advertised for, and we work together to find coupons to help pay for it, including shopping around and buying it at the store that offers the best price. She's learning to not be an impulsive buyer and that if she is patient she may find it elsewhere for less money, or realize she didn't need it so desperately after all.

I think a weekly allowance works well, becuase they can see their money adding up and are encouraged to continue to save for what they want. A large lump sum at a point in time may feel like a "windfall" and they may feel more reckless with it since it may not feel earned over time.

I've never offered money for chores around the house at all, because it's all just expected.

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answers from Jacksonville on

You can have it both ways. Their "regular" chores that are simply a function of being part of the household, and then "extra" chores that they can do to earn money. That isn't an allowance, but a "commission."

My kids clear their plates, put away their clothes, bring their dirty laundry, clean their rooms, (and pretty much any other thing I ask them to do, like setting the table and washing dishes after dinner, bringing in groceries, and cleaning the car out once a week). But, they have certain things that they earn money from. Like taking the trash & recycle bin out to the street once a week and bringing it back in after the trash people come. And cleaning the bathrooms (mirrors and toilet included, not just wiping up the sink).
They also have outside chores, like poop scooping the yard or mowing (when the grass is growing). Those they are expected to do. But if they mow more than usual, or pull weeds, or rake leaves, or spread mulch as an annual event, then they might get a commission for that. Those things are negotiated before they do the work.

Just figure out how you want to do it. Do YOU have to instigate the job, or can they offer to work for a fee if they want to earn a lot of $$ quickly? Be careful and think this through. They might decide to wash your car EVERY.DAY.FOR.A. WEEK to earn money....

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answers from Dallas on

I learned the hard way not to connect money for chores. They don't need money-they want to refuse chores.

We did give an allowance. It helped the kids get the gist of money management. They were to save for the little things they wanted, spend a little, tithe. I did not do it according to how much money we had. Keep it a reasonable amt so you can manage it every week.

Eventually, they will be surprised how much it grows. That's one goal you are shooting for, the delayed gratification and the idea that money doesn't grow on trees. You spend it all on junk then later when you find something you really want then you are sad you spent it. That's a good lesson.

For us, titheing is a big reason to give an allowance. 10 percent to God. Thats a big part of why we were faithful with their allowance, because God is faithful with provision. All of it is His, you are just His money manager. He has set an expectation, He has told you to test him, to see if He will pour you out a blessing. They are more than faithful with that tithe. And are blessed beyond 18 and 22.

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answers from Dallas on

I think that if the boys are old enough to ask for an allowance, they are old enough to begin learning responsibility. I think kids need to participate in household chores because they are part of the family unit, and not to earn money - save that for other people, like neighbors, when they are teenagers and can do odd jobs. I think there are certain things your kids can do that can be treated like a special job for special pay - like washing your car - something that you would pay somebody else to do. Taking out the trash, washing dishes, cleaning your room, are regular chores. But I have no idea how much money is appropriate for a 9 year old - a dollar a week? Two or Three? If the average toy they want is $20 or $40, I think the allowance amount should be enough that they have to learn how to save it up for awhile - maybe a few months; not just go out and blow it in a couple of weeks.



answers from Chicago on

We gave our kids allowance it was not tied into chores per say but was doled out on Saturday after chores were done. Privileges were tied into chores. Our kids all got $1 for each grade level so 1st grade got $1 and 5th grade got $5. And on up to high school. Make them save part of it. And use the rest as they want. And be prepared to bite your tongue when the save to buy some thing and then trade it the next day. It's a learning process and some kids get it sooner than others.

Privileges on the other hand are earned. Watching tv, playing computer, video games, friends over, going to friends to play etc. Those are privileges.



answers from Dallas on

The way we do it I based on a system that a 4th grade teacher I worked with used for classroom management (we're basically doing the same thing at home, right? Behavior management, and teaching money management too). This teacher had them each keep a baggie that was their bank, which had a checkbook register where they recorded how much money they had (then she did not have to have a zillion tokens to keep track of, though if you need something more tangible and want to track the money daily, you could always have tokens in a container, or parse out the money as you go throughout the week). They deposited and withdrew money for different things throughout the week, and each Friday could use this money in her "store". She new some kids would have challenges earning as much money as others because of behavioral challenges and such, but wanted every child to experience some degree of success, so she made some money easy to earn - $1 just for being present, $1 for arriving on time, $1 for wearing the uniform. She also let them spend money on extra privileges - $1 for going to the bathroom or getting a drink of water at an unscheduled time, etc., and lose money as a consequence for things like forgotten supplies, disrespecting others, etc. I do the same thing at home - there is a base right they "earn" just by being alive and being my son. I start with a maximum amount they can receive weekly - for our boys (8 and 11) it is currently $8, but I have been meaning to institute the rule my parents used - we got a flat amount until age 10, when we started getting the same amount as our age (age 11 = $11 etc.). From this base amount, 10% ($1) goes straight to savings (to buy a big item they want to save for), 10% to invest (college fund or car), 10% to church tithe/charity, leaving them $5. That's $1 for each day of the school week - you can go with the easy "if you have a good day - follow directions, help the family as needed, no more than a warning at school- because everybody, even a parent, slips up sometimes), or if you have a child that needs more structure or has more challenges, break it down - 25 cents for a good morning before school, 25 cents for a day at school without more than 1 warning, 25 for an afternoon with homework/chores completed without complaints, and 25 for a smooth evening and bedtime. I have a hard time keeping up with a system to track that much, so we go with the general $1 for a reasonably good day method - doesn't have to be perfect, because no one is, but there has to be the effort. Oh, something else I do that the boys enjoy, and makes getting money out of the piggy bank and counting it easier - I use dollar coins (the gold ones if I can get them), then when the boys are ready to spend they can trade the coins in to me for cash, and I can renew my supply of dollar coins.



answers from Dallas on

A pastor at our church explained that when he was a child he was not paid to help around the house. His parents thought that was his duty so he had to do that anyway. He was paid to ready. He go so much for each book he read. I thought this was genius. I think it should be different amounts for the different degrees of difficulty but I will be using this with my youngest 2 daughters.



answers from Dallas on

I didn't read the whole thing, but this article looked interesting.

My son is 5 and gets $1 for every blue day at school. He has to save 30% and the rest is his. He doesn't really "get it" yet, but he's kinda understanding saving a bit. That's the point, to get kids thinking about money and understanding it as a tool before they get older. There are chores that MUST be done, and there are special extra money chores, etc. I think of school as his job, and he has to do it, but when does a really good job at his "job", he gets recognition. And I talk to him about school and work and learning what he's good at, etc. I don't bury him in adult stuff, but at the same time I want him to dream about what he can be and understand that school is a way to get there.

I wish I had made that connection as a kid, but I didn't. I wish my parents had taught me more LIFE skills, but they didn't. The more age-appropriate "real life" education you can sneak into your kids' heads, the better.



answers from Los Angeles on

When I was a kid, we got an allowance each week that wasn't tied to doing chores. We just got it. We got $1 per week for each grade we were in. So, when I was 9 and in fourth grade, I got $4 per week. Fifth grade it went up to $5 per week. We got it every Monday. My son is in kindergarten now and I'm planning to start him on a $1 a week allowance next year in first grade.

I also think I will help him work on the spend/save/give model, where a certain percentage is designated to go into savings and another percentage is to be given to charity or used somehow for a good cause. The remainder is for spending as he chooses. It helps teach them the value of money, the importance of helping others when you have the means, and learning to save some of what they earn (or receive) each week. I'd probably do something along the lines of 50-60% saved, 30-35% spending and 10-15% for donating.



answers from Pittsburgh on

What about "extra" work for earning money?
We don't "tax" our allowance, but we try to adhere to the save/spend/give concept.



answers from New London on

I have been taeching parenting for some time! You are right on the money...Kids should do some chores because they are pt of the family. A few chores builds their self-esteem and teaches responsibilty. They should start chores by age 5.

Put a list of EXTRA TASKS. I never called them chores. Most of the time, once a week or every other week is a good time for pay. You can give them an amt and ask them to save a small amt of it. A month is a long time for a 9 yr old to wait.

I would have extra tasks as follows:
Help me wash my car
Have child empty the frig--put everything on kitchen table. I would wipe down and reload w/ child's help.
I would pull all clothes out of 1 dresser and place them on the floor. I would hold up each item and say "yes" or "no". I had a dresser de-cluttered in 20 minutes or so.
Raking in Autumn
Take all of the grocery bags up from the car and place in kitchen
...These are just some of the tasks I came up w/ yrs ago. As you can see, I had some tasks that could be done together!



answers from Minneapolis on

My kids (5 & 8) get a weekly allowance for an extra chore that they each do. They are both still required to do their daily chores such as set the table, clean up their plates, clean up their room, put their dirty clothes in the right place, give the dog/cat food/water. But my son (8.5 year old) takes the garbage/recycling out to the cans as needed and to the street when needed. He gets $3 a week for that. My daughter (will be 6 next month) swiffers under furniture once a week and helps with laundry (folding and washing) and she gets $3 a week for that.



answers from Chicago on

I didn't give an "allowance" for stuff she is "required to do in order to live here". that's my general rule, and it's been in place since she was born.

When she was in 1st grade I came up with "stuff" she could do that was extra that she would get paid for.... for example she would clean MY toilet for $1.00 or clean the microwave etc.

Now that she is older (12 yo) she gets $10 for 2 hours worth of work per week. That work is whatever I want her to do that is over and above her regular responsibilities. Sometimes I save up stuff for her to do (like shred a box of papers or receipts. Sometimes I have her go through all the DVD's to make sure they are all in the right jacket and alphabetized. Sometimes I have her rake leaves. Today, she followed me around and was my "runner".... (take these asprin down to the medicine cabinet, put these post it notes in the desk).

There have been times that she has asked to do EXTRA time because she was saving up for stuff and sometimes I let her and sometimes I have nothing for her to do so there isn't an opportunity for her to earn money.

I think they can't understand time and payoff at that age. Because they don't have "relative" thinking. So to a 9 year old... a wii and a car and a pair of designer shoes are kind of the same thing. So I would come up with consistent, smaller payoffs that THEY control if they want to save up for something bigger or use is as they get it.


answers from San Francisco on

We didn't do allowance for regular chores either but once the kids showed an interest in earning money (around your kids' age) we came up with some extra, bigger chores they could do, like sweeping out the garage, pulling weeds, cleaning out the car, stuff like that.
Take a look around, I bet you need something done they could handle :-)



answers from Honolulu on

Teach them about money concepts and finances.
My kids are 6 and 10 and we have done that since they were younger. There are some great kiddie books, on money, found at any bookstore in the kids' section.

I know some friends, that give their kids allowance. Which is not based on anything. It is just, allowance. Their kids being, of Tween ages. Like your son.
Then I know some parents that give money hinged on performance or chores.
Then I know some parents that give money, based on behavior.

For us, it is per budget. Sometimes we give our kids, sometimes not.
Or if they do something of their own volition which is very extraordinary. For example, my daughter once washed the windows and another time washed and waxed our van. SHE wanted to and didn't even think of getting anything for it, nor did she ask. She merely wanted to do it. For "fun." So we gave her something for it. And she saved it.
My son as well, once all on his own, he did the dishes for me. And cleaned the WHOLE kitchen. Just because. All on his own volition. Which my kids do have chores, but it is not where these, are in that list, daily nor to this magnitude. They have specific, chores. Not overwhelmingly massive chores. And it is per their age/level of ability.


answers from Dallas on

We have the same philosophy as you, and don't pay our boys (almost 9 and 15) an allowance. They both help out a ton around the house with daily chores - keeping their rooms neat and clean, vacuuming, doing dishes, helping with laundry, feeding pets, etc., but they understand that to keep a home running smoothly, we must all pitch in.

We do want them to learn how to manage money, however, so they are given opportunities to earn extra money if they choose. We live on a farm, so they can can rake pig/dog poop, work in the garden tilling or pulling weeds, and our oldest can use the tractor to mow. Inside they can clean baseboards or ceiling fans, or various other odd jobs. Our oldest also worked weekends at the State Fair of Texas the past couple of years in a booth that my parents run, and he made several hundred dollars.

This works well for us, but I know for others it works well to give kids a regular allowance.

ETA: My oldest saved up for the past year, and just bought himself an $1100 laptop. He is very into computer animation, and needed it to have certain capabilities, so that's why he spent so much. He paid for it entirely himself.

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