Do Your Kids Get an Allowance?

Updated on April 08, 2013
Y.G. asks from Fort Lauderdale, FL
9 answers

Hi Moms,

Do you give your kids an allowance? If so, how much? Can they do anything they want with the money?
My son doesn't have any concept of money (he's 6.5). To him, it probably grows on trees. He's very priviledged (not spoiled, but gets/does a lot). He's a really good boy! He does his "normal" chores (which I will not pay him to do) like make his bed, feed the cat in the am, vacuum our stairs, always clean his room at the end of the day,feed his fish twice per week. What can I have him do to earn an allowance that just wouldn't be considered a daily non paying chore?

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answers from Columbia on

The bottom line up front is this: You need to decide what you are trying to teach your child by giving him an allowance and tailor it toward that lesson.

We don't pay allowance for chores. Chores in our home are considered "family work" that we all do in order to ensure that our home remains a comfortable place. If you live in our home, you participate.

We give allowance. Kids need to learn the value of a dollar, they need to learn how to handle money and how to save. Giving stickers doesn't teach that. We give allowance at the rate of 50 cents per year of age, per week. So a 6 year old would get $3 per week. 10% of that is given to God through tithe, and 20% goes into long-term savings that isn't touched. The rest is theirs to save or spend as they see fit.

Now that isn't to say that they cannot come up with innovative ways to earn a few extra bucks. We live near a big golf course, so the boys spend a lot of time scouring for lost golf balls. Both the course manager and a friend of mine at work have offered 25 cents per ball. I think they have about 30 in a bucket right now.

If there are other, non-family work chores that you are willing to pay him to do, you can do that. But keep in mind that any chore you give him, you'll have to teach him the standards. It has to be done properly or he doesn't get paid. Don't settle for less-than or you are setting the precedent for poor quality work in the future. Make him do it right. This will, at first, seem like a chore for YOU....but it's worth it in the long run.

Best of luck!
C. Lee

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Great question. I hate the idea of an "allowance". Handing a child money for "no reason" seems really silly to me and I completely agree that it is also silly to pay your child for doing what is expected. I never got an allowance and my parents never paid us for our grades. Helping around the house, keeping our rooms clean, putting away our laundry and studying were expectations. Because we did all of those things and were generally really good and "easy" kids, if we wanted to go somewhere or do something we were generally given the money to do so. When we were older (16+), we were expected to earn our spending money. I worked weekends at a retail store and babysat. My sisters did the same. My parents covered our basic costs and we earned extra money from OUTSIDE of my parents' bank accounts!

My older child will be 5 next month. He does not get an allowance, but if there is something that he REALLY wants, he will do extra chores to earn "stickers" toward the item. Most recently he REALLY wanted to go see a movie with my husband while the baby and I were out-of-town. Normally, we would not spend money to see a movie in a theater, but he was willing to work for it. We figured out "how much" it would cost to go to a movie and then made each "item" worth .50. He didn't earn stickers for doing his daily chores, but laying on the floor and playing with the baby got him a sticker! Helping me make dinner, set the table and clear it got him a sticker, etc. He earned the movie and LOVED it. We've done that a couple of times with him and it works out well.

If you want him to earn his money, then don't call it an allowance. An allowance is "given" and you want him to earn this. Figure out what he already does and pick 1 or 2 things you would like to see him start doing (reasonable for his age) and offer him the opportunity to earn extra money by doing the extra chores or tasks. He's a little young to start this because they don't really learn about money and value for a few more years, but give it a shot!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

No allowance. My kids do chores because they are learning to be responsible.

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answers from Redding on

No allowance for my kids.
Anything done around the house is just part of being a family.
~I don't get paid everytime I cook and do dishes. It doesn't work that way.

My kids were allowed to earn their own money by helping a neighbor in their garden, washing a logging truck, babysitting other kids, mowing other people's lawns. They considered those thing "jobs" which is a far cry from being paid to fold your own laundry or keep your room clean.

My kids weren't given an allowance, but they also weren't expected to pay for their own shoes or clothes or school materials. Those are just things parents provide just like kids are supposed to help with the dishes and things around the house.

They worked plenty for others and got paid, and that was their money, although I certainly taught them to spend or save it wisely.

You live in Florida...surely he could get some clients to pet-sit while folks are out. They might need their yards raked or watered. At 7, my son was helping friends on renovation projects for homes they were flipping. Their own kids wanted nothing to do with it, but my son was up and ready and worked really hard. He got paid. As he got older, he was in demand as a babysitter. Now he gets money on the side working on people's cars and jump starting them if their batteries are dead.

There are lots of ways to make money and if your son is industrious, like mine, he will find ways to make money by working for it.

He will grow up with a good work ethic that way.

I've been a single, full-time working mom for 15 years. He understands the concept of working for money. He understands the concept of being so responsible that he gets referrals.

I've never paid him for any regular household chore. That just come with being part of a family.

Just my opinion.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

When they actually help around the house other than just setting and clearing the table they do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My boys used to get one till they started band and piano (oldest) and gymnastics (youngest). Since we are having to put out so much more for their activities and it was let them be in they wanted to be in or have an allowence. When they do get money they get to spend it on what they want to a point. We still have veto power.

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answers from Dallas on

Yes. How much? At the moment they each get 25 cents a day if they earn it (we keep track with a star on their calendars if they earn it and a very very occasional X on their calendars if they don't that day, and they get paid on Saturday evening). On kindergarten graduation day, I am going to increase our oldest son's allowance to 50 cents/day because he'll be helping more after school is out (he has chores, but our focus is that his homework, learning his verse or assignment for awanas, etc are his real "jobs" right now), but also come first grade, he is going to be in cub scouts and more active in some events that will be costing more "fun money" or supplies that are just for him. (We'll provide the big things, but it's good for him to buy some things for himself too).
First, one person who answered you said "they" don't learn about money and value for a few more years. I beg to differ. I think it matters who you're expecting them to learn about money/value from, and what you are wanting them to learn. My 6 year old attends public school, but I absolutely do not sit around and wait for school (or whoever) to teach him what I want him to learn. To me, his school teachers and I work together as a team, but public school is supplementary in my opinion. My husband and I are teaching him and training him for life. The school is helping us with lessons on some basic stuff, basic curriculum, giving us some feedback...we have a very good relationship with his main kindergarten teacher....but if he needs to learn something, when it's all said and done, his education and preparation for life are OUR responsibilities.
My oldest, now 6, started receiving an allowance at age 3 (younger than most, I know). He learned in that first year the way WE do things in OUR house: first 10% is tithed, second 10% is saved, and after that he can do what he wants with the rest of his money. He could explain by age 4 to anyone that asks what we do with our money, why we do it, and what he's currently saving up for in his spending money. His first purchases: a toy horse, a Spider Man fishing pole (he bought that and I bought the bait and tackle, in preparation for his first fishing trip with Daddy), and later a Toy Story sleepover set (bag, sleeping bag, flashlight, compass). He also learned that first year that spending money on silly things to eat when he could just eat what the family is eating, for free, wasn't fun and he had his first bout of buyer's remorse. :) He has a better understanding of some financial basics than most preteens I know.
We set the "rule" that the family chores get done daily and weekly because that is just how life is, it is what is needed for the home to run smoothly. Family is a team and we all have our own "jobs" to do. Now, if they do their chores well, without attitude or issue, then they get paid for a job well done. If they don't want to do their chores without me getting on them, or fighting about it, well.....they still have to do their chores, because it's their job. But they won't be paid. They understand this, and it works for us. Last week we made new, revised weekly chore charts together and paid our youngest son his first "pay" in his new bank. We went and got My Giving Bank (the one we use for our boys because it's 1 bank divided into 3 for church, savings, and spending) for the little guy, decorated it with stickers, made a big deal of him becoming a big boy now. He is very happy to do his chores, and one of his "jobs" as a 3 year old who was just starting to give us some issues at the dinner table is to eat his meals without a fight. He eats them happily now, no issues. That may resurface once the newness of his allowance wears off, but hopefully it'll last until his 3 year old "phase" passes.
For extra money, they do extra things as it comes up. We rake leaves and they can pick up the piles and put them in the wheelbarrow for us, or help me wash the car, when we wash the house (trim and windows) a couple times a year, they help by spraying it down with the hose or whatever. The big help that I appreciate is my older son helping me weed the gardens. Anything extra like that earns a bonus (whatever seems fair for that job, or if he's saving for something special and I see his heart is in it to do well, I'll just bump that up so he can get whatever he's working towards). They've also discussed and agreed upon putting things for sale on craigslist (my job but they have to give permission) like their carbeds, train tables, toyboxes, etc when we were remodeling the playroom.
We feel we're teaching goal setting, faithfulness and good work ethic, financial basics, my oldest uses the calculator every week to divide his money by % into the different categories, he can tell you the different money denominations, the value of coins and paper money, and if I say "That toy is $14", he can work out, with my help, how many days' work that is and decide if it is worth it to him or not. (He's a bit of a cheapskate though---he's working on a more high dollar item). I'm very happy with the kids having an allowance, but it's truly ALL in how you handle it and where you're trying to go with it. The boys know all their needs are met by us, and their money is just for their fun stuff right now, but our oldest also understands that he's learning how to figure things out and prioritize for when he's living on his own and buying his own stuff. It's not a burden to him, he talks all the time about his 100 foot house and his motorcycle that he's going to buy when he's "old" like us.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son is 6 and he gets a dollar every Saturday. He has a bank he keeps it in and we have worked on the idea of saving for things. We count it and help him understand how much more he needs for his goal. He saved for two months plus tooth fairy money ($2 a tooth) and recently bought a lego toy he's wanted.

It isn't tied to helping around the house. That's a different expectation.

I grew up with a small allowance which I liked to save for small things so I'm doing the same with him. When he gets older and we increase it, we'll incorporate charitable donations and savings account.

1 mom found this helpful
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