Looking for Advice on Giving Allowance to School-age Children

Updated on April 24, 2008
A.B. asks from Sherman Oaks, CA
45 answers

I have two great boys, ages 6 and 9, and we are thinking about giving them a weekly allowance so they can learn about spending money wisely. I grew up with an allowance and really learned how to budget and save. My husband did not and had to learn those skills as an adult. We were just wondering how other people have tackled this issue successfully. Some of the things we are considering are: how much is appropriate for each child, what are their responsibilities as far as household chores, and how should the money be used? Thanks for your input.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all the great advice and words of wisdom. I am really appreciative of everyone who took the time to respond to my question. We are still sorting through all the variables and will definitely factor in many of the suggestions given by those who have come before us in this area. Thanks again!

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C.H.

answers from San Diego on

Hi A.,

I have 7 and 4 year old boys and started them on an allowance about a year ago. We bought each a wallet and they were given $2 every Monday.

They bring their wallets shopping and buy only what they can afford. They also save their money in case there is a particular toy they want.

Each have a bank account at BOA. If they get money (birthday, etc.), we put a majority of the amount in the bank. At first they would ask why they had to save, now it is part of the routine.

There is a great book out there called, "Raising Money Smart Kids." I highly recommend it.

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P.H.

answers from Reno on

Just have to tell you that we gave money for a chore above and beyond the norm, but not for making beds, picking up their clothes, dishes, (age appropriate) etc. Children need to be part of the family and unpaid chores should be a part of it. Giving an allowance to learn to budget for sonething special is different.
However, as an educator, I wish parents would not give their children money for good grades. Good grades can be rewarded with hugs and praise, and telling them how smart they are, and favorite desserts, but paying a child to get good grades sends the message that they are doing it to make YOU happy enough to pay them. They need to get good grades for themselves. Their self-esteem should not be based on getting money from their parents.
When my children's friends would tell them that they were going to get lots of money for "this" report card or keeping their room clean "this" week, my kids would laugh and tell them how lucky they were and that my kids would just tell them they were going home to get a hug from us! Sounds corny, but I have two highly educated children - one with a Masters she's actually using and one in his second year at the University. We happily pay for their school from preschool through their masters! They got the grades and scholarships, we pick up the rest!!

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K.R.

answers from San Diego on

Here was a site my friend uses she said it works wonders. Hope it helps http://www.payjr.com/ Krissy

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T.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi A.,

Great that you are looking to start your future CEO's on how the 'system' all works!!

I have to make this fast...but check out the website and monthly newsletter by www.debtproofliving.com formerly known as Cheapskate monthly by Mary Hunt.

They have tons of resources on money and daily living for you ...but she has this one book for kids called DEBT PROOF YOUR KIDS. It'll give you the answers to exactly what you asked about...and more. It'll give them a 'map' for life. It's a blessing beyond anything you can imagine when they can learn early on to 'master' money instead of it running them in their adult lives.

Good luck!

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B.S.

answers from San Diego on

Hi, in our family we have two daughters 10 and 13, we give them half of their age in dollar amounts weekly. This is for financial purposes only, chores are done because we all live under the same roof and work together. They are free to spend the money on anything that is not a need. We buy all that they need ie. clothing, food, books etc.. This has worked out fine for years, you will see that the pack of gum or other small item they will ask you for in the checkout line may or may not be that important when they have to buy it with their own money. You need to have yourself ready for these questions and stick to it. Hope this helped, B.

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S.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have a 7-year-old daughter and we started this a few months ago. She gets $1 per week for her age, so $7/week now and then $8/week in a couple of months when she has a birthday. She gets it all in one lump sum at the beginning of the month, so for her that's $28. She puts $10 into a savings account at the bank. That money will be open to her once a year on her birthday if she wants to buy herself a "big ticket" item. Otherwise it's off limits. Then, $3 goes into her "giving fund" — which is literally a glass jar she keeps on her dresser. At Christmas time she took what she had saved in the jar and bought a gift to donate to a child in need. It will be up to her how that money is used, but it must go to a charitable cause. That leaves her $15 for spending money for the month. She knows that's all she'll get, so she can either buy one thing or little things over time. Or save it (which she never does!). The point is that it's her choice. The flip side is that I no longer buy her any extras or toys or anything when we're out shopping or running errands. It's completely eliminated her whining or bugging me for things and I don't have to think about whether or not this time I will or won't splurge. She simply has money or doesn't, and so she'll see how much something costs and if she really wants it then when her allowance comes around again she'll ask me to take her to that store. And we don't tie it to chores. She has a "job chart" (everything from brushing teeth to doing homework to feeding the fish), and it also has spots for how much TV she watches or computer time she gets. If she doesn't get one day's jobs done, then the next day I cross off one of the TV or computer time slots. I don't know if this is the right solution for everyone, but for us it works great! Good luck to you — it looks like you're getting lots of good advice from everyone!

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R.B.

answers from San Diego on

I have a 3 year old so not quite doing allowance yet but some dear friends of mine have 2 very sweet girls that they do a great thing with their allowance-50% savings, 25% charity (of the girls'choice) and 25% fun money. I think this is a great way to teach kids about how to use their money in the future-be responsible, care for others and enjoy the little things.

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M.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

As a mom of 4 kids, ages 15, 13, 11, and alomost 7, money is a big issue. The older kids need to pay for school activities, sports, and such. As you know things are not cheap. When they were younger and asked about an allowance, my husband and I discussed it at length. We argreed that they would not get paid fore doing "their chores" around the house. For example, cleaning their room, helping with dishes, vaccuming and bathroom cleaning, did not count. We all live and use our home, so we all have to contribute to keeping it clean. But, other things, outside of "their chores" could help them earn a weekly allowance. That can be determined by you and your husband. For us, it meant cleaning up after the dog, keeping the plants free of weeds, racking leaves, washing out trash cans, washing windows, things that could be done several times a week. But it was like a job. It had to be done when assigned, and completed. What were atempting to do was to build in them a work ethic. We explained that if daddy dind't finish doing his job at work, then he wouldn't get paid. Same with them. They had to earn their allowance. We didn't want them to be ungrateful for what they are given.
When they got paid, it was a lot harder for them to part with their money, their hard earned money, and therefore thought more carefully about their spending decisions. This was a valuable lesson. Today, my 11 year old son still has money saved from several years ago. He wants to buy something "real important" some day. My girls, well, they are girls and like to have little extras. But then again none of them ever throw money away like it doesn't mean anything to them. Hope this helps!

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H.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

this is how we do it: mind you we've got foster kids who we are required to give a certain amount to, but this is our thing (mind you i grew up without an allowance, but i learned budgeting a different way, but this way is ok too).
each child is required to do certain chores, each gets a dollar per year of life (6 year old gets $6). they get everything they need and then some, but once in a while, if you want a soda, or toy, on a random day (not b-day, reward, etc.) you must buy it!
i've read things that i really like and plan to impletement that have children have 3 banks and they split the money evenly: spending money, saving money, charity
i believe in this coz i want to encourage my kids to help others. there's 5 of them and i can even see encouraging them to use the charity money to buy for friends or siblings little treats or presents. just a thought, but we haven't gone that far yet. i'm still getting used to having an allowance ; )

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C.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

A. ---

You've already received some GREAT advice from fellow moms! For example, Cara's comment summed up what allowance should be used for: "for financial purposes only, chores are done because we all live under the same roof and work together." It's VERY IMPORTANT that you avoid creating a link between chores (work) and allowance (pay), because in the long run this means that when the money is no longer given, or no longer seems "worth" the work to the child, they will stop doing it. Chores should be seen as each person's contribution to the functionality and well-being of the family.

Holly also made a good suggestion about creating a few different allocations for allowance money, including one for charity. My aunt does this with my young cousins, and at ages 6 and 10 they are already financially conscientious and giving. It's something I'm definitely going to do when my daughter gets a little older.

Additionally, I recently attended a lecture which focused on the modern American tendency to give our children too much "stuff" and not enough of what they really need...attention and love. If you can find it, there's a documentary called "Affluenza" which is worth seeing, and a book titled "American Mania: When More is Not Enough." I feel confident that these media will merely reinforce your current goal to raise money-conscious children. :)

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I.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

We're like you, we grew up differently...but we decided on a small allowance without chores or real basic chores attached and they can earn more by doing more. We give them a $.50 raise every school year, we started at $.50 a week in kindergarten. My 7th grader now gets $4/week, 5th grader gets $3 and 3rd grader $2. We keep a virtual bank in our Quicken bookkeeping system on our computer, and every month they get a 1% interest for all the money they've saved. Everytime they get money for gifts or chores they put it in the "bank", and whenever they spend, we don't really need cash to give them, we pay on our credit card and then extract it from the "bank". My daughter is the saver, and currently has $600 in the bank. My son is the investor and had my husband set up a stock buying system where he spends $9 a month buying more stock of his choice, currently he's buying Disney stock, he's also the worker and when he wants a new tech gadget he works for it. My little one is learning about debt, once in awhile she spends more than she has and is in debt and she knows she still owes money to the bank. I think the "bank" thing is the best part of the concept. We didn't do that with my step-son who's 20 now and he's out on his own and having the darndest time coming up with a dime to pay us back the money we loaned him....but we're going to keep on him, because he needs to understand the meaning, for we don't want him to make the mistakes that thousands have made buying houses and things they really can't afford and now are being foreclosed on.

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J.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

we have a chore chart, the left side is "things to do", the right side is "done"...and i use post-its with the chore on each one. since she is 7 yrs old right now, she gets $7 a week, someone told me $1 per year of age is a good rule of thumb. she earns her money (in this case $1) per day and if she doesn't do a chore owes me a quarter...i think it works for us, and now when we go somewhere she brings her money to buy what she wants...we're still learning because this last weekend we went to a fair and she would have spent all her money in the first $5 minutes! so i'm trying to think of how to give her a sense of freedom in spending without overdoing it. maybe putting half her allowance in her savings account and putting a cap on how much candy/treats she can buy at a time when we go somewhere.

good luck! hope that helps!

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L.D.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi there,

I actually didn't receive an allowance while I was growing up and my mom (she was a single mom) didn't talk about money with us because she considered it a taboo subject even with her own kids. Needless to say, it took me a long time to figure out that managing money is all about simple math. So kudos to you for thinking about this early for your boys. Your future daughter-in-laws will thank you for it (and so will her parents!).

I actually have a 3 and a 5 year old and have already put them on an allowance system already for simple things like picking up their toys, sharing and helping clean up around the house each day. To make their allowance less arbitrary, I give them $1 per year of their age ($3 per week for my 3-year old, $5 per week for my 5-year old). We purchased a Melissa and Doug magnetic chore board (Target has them) to track what they accomplished each day and I also bought them each a Money Savvy Pig piggybank from Toys R' Us. This piggybank is great because it has 4 compartments to put money through: 1 for spending, 1 for saving, 1 investing, and 1 for donations. At the end of each week, my husband and I pay them their allowance in change and we have them identify the coins and the coin values and then we'll divvy up the coins as follows to put in each compartment: 40% spending; 40% savings; 10% investing; and 10% donations. The money that they put into spending is for things that they want to purchase right away or saved up for something big that they really want. The money they put into savings is for just that and, since we don't have an investment account set up for them, we are also putting their investment money into it as well until we have enough accumulated to roll it into a CD or mutual fund account. And then the donation money gets donated.

Again, I think it is awesome that you are doing this for your sons now. It will really give them the edge when they become adults.

L.

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G.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Wow A. this topic really touches a nerve with me.
I was not given an allowance until I was 13 or 14 and by then it was too late. Before that my parents spoiled me and really never left me to want. TO THIS DAY my savings account has enough in it to cover next month's charges (about $3) and I spend like a kid in a candy store.
Do your kids a favor, and teach them as much as you know about money. Give them a large enough allowance that they can learn how "a little part goes to savings EVERY TIME"! Maybe have them, with your assistance, write up a budget of where the money would be spent so you know how much to give and DEFINITELY let them work for that amount PLUS if they want to earn more for something special, have extra things available for them to do. Like wash the car or one of your chores...
If you can, teach them how EVIL credit cards are, while you're at it! :)

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J.C.

answers from San Diego on

You've received a lot of great advice so far. $1 per year of age sounds pretty fair and it makes them forward even more to their birthdays! LOL
I agree with Beckie who said that they don't pay for chores because they live under the same roof. They help make a mess so they help clean. At the 6 year old's age... I was in charge of dusting and keeping my room and bathroom tidy. ( I had to dust because i was raised by my grandparents and they couldn't get down to dust the bottom stuff or get back in the corners like I could! LOL) By the time I was 9 I was helping cook once or twice a week and doing laundry on top of the dusting and bathroom. However, my situation wasn't typical. You know what your children can and cannot do and it may take some teaching and re-teaching to get them to do it the way you want so just be prepared for that.
It is CRUCIAL that they are taught to save... get a piggy bank and a random jar for each of them. Have them decorate the jar however they want. This is a temporary "bank" until the other piggy reaches $25. Then take them to a bank and have them open a savings account. (If you have the funds... you might want to consider matching the first savings as even more incentive to save up for it.) If you run into bank fees for the savings account... open a trust fund in their name. That way no one gets charged. My family has all worked for BofA and this is a loophole!! :) Yes, I'm the queen of loopholes. When they hit 16 or whenever you decide to let them drive they will have a nice sum to spend on a car or toward college.

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T.C.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

Take a look at the book titled, "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees". I do not remember the author, but it is a great book and has excellent ideas of how to divide up the money between charity, long term spending, short term spending and stuff like that. I also remember reading that (I am not sure if it was in the book or not) but it was all or nothing. If you fail to do one chore, you will not get one penny of your allowance for the week. I learned about this book from the Oprah show and they had an 11 year old child on the show that had saved over $10,000 for his college education. I believe that 50 % of their allowance goes to a long term savings account. This program also believed that the child earned $1 per year old that they were so a 10 year old would earn $10 per week. But in actuality, they only had spending rights to much less. Long term (college), short term (bicycle) immediate (little treats at the story , and a category for charity (I think it was about 10 %). Check out the book, it has some great info.
T. C

Other school of thought is that your child gets a set amount of money weekly and they are in charge of certain things that they need to purchase and the allowance is not tied to the chores at all. You need to decide what philosophy you believe in. I think it is crucial for children to learn how to manage their money, so no matter what you do, give them some leeway to make poor choices so they learn later that they maybe should not have bought that cheap toy and they should have waited until they had saved for the toy they really wanted.

Best of luck

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J.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi A.! My daughter is 10 and has been getting "allowance" since she was 6. From the beginning she puts $1/wk in savings (for big purchases like a new bike) and $1/wk in charity which she donates at the end of the year. We don't equate allowance with chores, both are done and received as part of our family. She can however "earn" more money for doing extra things.
I would encourage you talk with your husband about what values you want to teach your kids, and then what you choose to do can support those. (Giving them a little freedom and choice, let them earn what they want, teach them about saving, foster a sense of helping others...whatever it is for you) Remember too, that they are learning just as much from watching the two of you with money, so what you ask of them can be reflected in what you do as well. Your boys are also old enough to be part of the discussion. How much do they think they need, what do they need/want to spend money on, how do they feel about savings and charity, etc. Do they already do chores, or do they need incentive to get them done. So many choices and you can see by the various responses that people have found lots of different ways to make it work for their families. So, you'll find a way that works for your family.

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L.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, A.,

You don't have to raise kids with allowance to make them responsible and money-savvy. My sister and I were given allowance probably two weeks of our lives and did not care to receive it. My sister now successfully runs her own business (psychologist's practice) and I earned a graduate degree in finance. Neither of us has ever carried any credit card debt or much of any other type of debt. Our parents, especially our mother, who is an accountant, showed us how to budget, balance a checkbook, etc. on a computer when we were teenagers. I think that being a good role model is the most important thing you can do to help your child become a good money manager.

One thing you might consider when you shop is asking them to check prices in an aisle and make decisions based on it and other criteria. For instance, "How much does that can of soup cost? Is there a cheaper brand? Should we buy it?" Let them know how much you spend for groceries when you check out and whether you met your target total price. Let them find the price tags on clothes when you shop and search for a bargain.

If you are planning to help send them to college or start a business when they reach age of majority, tell them how you plan to save money and how much you realistically can save. Ask them for their opinions and advice as appropriate based on age.

If you are determined to give allowance, though, you might try reading some of the good books some respondents have mentioned as well as varous sites on the Internet (sorry I can't recall the names of the sites).

Good luck,
Lynne

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J.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, your boys can do more as far as chores go than you think they can............start with this premise. As to amount of allowance, it is all relative as a learning experience and the amount is not important. In your family is $1 or $100 per week appropriate as a learning tool, you will know the amount. I would suggest starting them off low in the dollar amount and increase as they use it wisely as a reward for their new skills. A SAHM has a tendency to do everything for their boys when it is not good for them for this to happen. At 9yr old your son can do his own laundry.............etc.

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L.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi A..

I have two children who are 5 and 10. I have started giving them allowance, 3 and 5 dollars respectively and let them buy anything. I stopped my impulsive spending on them and found out they actually like to save their money. My 5 yo was responsible for setting the table and collecting the waste basket trash and changing the bags. My older one cleans off the table and takes care of the dishwasher. They both clean their rooms and bathroom.

Long story short, they got allowance on Sat. b.c they did their room and bathroom on Saturday since there is just not enough time with weekly activities. They had to do all their weekly chores to rec'v their allowance. My older one got smart and if she missed a day she wouldn't do any chores for the rest of the week.

Plan 2:
Since you are a former teacher you may be aware of picture schedules. This is what I now use. I have a laminated 8x10 chart with velco to place what their daily schedule is and what rewards they can work towards. Things can be park, bicycle, scooter, tv, computer, games, etc. If they have a good day they can earn their rewards, one at a time. I also integrate allowance to pay them daily for their chores so each day their is an incentive to get things done. I also pay them for "saying something nice to sister", etc. Sometimes they earn more and sometimes they earn less. It all depends on the week. My older one is now doing her own laundry. It is working very well!

Good luck and keep us posted!!!

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K.O.

answers from San Diego on

The way we do it is each kid gets the number of dollars of their age. We encourage them to save 1/3, give 1/3 to charity of their choice, and 1/3 they can spend on whatever they want. We do not tie the allowance to chores, because my children know that chores are their responsibility as a member of our family. The allowance is purely to learn about money- but the caveat is that you can't buy them things. They need to buy their own toys,etc. Of course you still buy their clothes and shoes, but if they want a toy, they have to buy it. My son wanted a $35 toy and he saved for three months to buy it. It means more to him as a result. Good luck.

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M.S.

answers from Reno on

Hello A.,
I did not grow up with an allowance so I felt it was very important for my son to understand the value of money early. As soon as he asked to help with chores, at age 3, we began th process. It is not "allowance" but earning a quarter for every chore completed (for the exception of cleaning his own room, brushing his own teeth, and other hygenic things he must do on his own). He checks off chores completed everyday and at the end of the week he gets a "paycheck". We don't pay him in cash, rather "monopoly like money" we've printed out. When we go to the store together, he looks at what he wants on the shelf, rounds it to the nearest dollar, and then pays us in the "monopoly like money". We purchase it at the checkout.

Also, the great part about this system is that 1) he must save a minimum of $25 every Quarter (13 weeks) that he must pay back to us so it can be deposited into his savings account and 2) if he has behavior issues at school or is caught in a lie, he must pay us $5 for each infraction - kind of like a ticket. Also, if he has behavior issues while out shopping, we are able to curtain his spending freedom. This is something you can't do with actual cash.

He's now almost 12 years old so this system has been working well for us for 9 years.

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K.Y.

answers from Los Angeles on

I don't have any personal experience with this (other than when I was a child myself), but if you go to Amazon there are a ton of books about allowance both under parenting/family books and childrens books. Good luck!

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D.V.

answers from Las Vegas on

Wow, from reading what the others wrote, I will sound like a total cheapskate. I think a dollar per year of age is way too much. My 6 year old wouldn't know what to do with 6 dollars a week. That's a lot of candy! I give my kids a dollar amount that matches their grade in school. For example, my 6 year old is in grade 1, so she gets 1 dollar a week. When she starts 2nd grade she will get 2 dollars. If there is something that she really wants to save for and the allowance won't cover it fast enough, I offer to let her do extra chores to earn money.

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A.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

hi A.,

I have two boys the same age (6 and 9) they both have chores. The older one has a few more and the younger one assists him in doing those chores. They are responsible for picking up their room, they feed our three dogs morning and evening and they poo scoop in our back yard every other day.
My older son also takes out the trash when asked. My younger son helps with all these things, while my older son does do most of the work and making sure it's done right. The 6 year old will put toys away and things like that, he'll hold the bag while my older son picks up the poo... he assists mostly.
We don't have a set pay, mostly because we could never remember to have cash on hand to pay them! Very sad, I know.
So, instead, we've worked out an arrangment for them to have a "gamefly.com" account. It's paid automaticly from my checking account, which helps me. They get to use the computer to navigate the website and choose the games they want to rent. They are responsible for keeping the games safe and returning them to game fly when they'd like something else.
I suppose it doesn't teach them how to manage money, but it does teach responsiblity and they love it. Good luck.

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M.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

One point that I would be sure to make is that kids should not be paid for everything they do. First, I would establish the idea that in a household, that everyone contributes to chores and such, not because they are paid to do so, but because it's part of contributing one's fair share to the community. I would recommend some "baseline" chores that need to be done automatically. Above the baseline there could be opportunities for earning extra money.
Beyond that, I don't have a lot of suggestions, but just wanted to make that one point.
I am also thinking about how to start some sort of allowance set up for my son. I have pondered ideas about encouraging him to put money in savings by matching part of his contributions, so as to give him an excitement about savings and teaching him about finding ways to make his money grow.
All the best to you!

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E.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

hi A.

I've two kids - 9 and 11. Most school of thoughts are $1 per age per week. Some has suggested having 4 jars for the kids to split up the $ - one for instant gratficiation of their choice, one for small - medium goal (save for soemthing that they want), one for charity, one for long term goal (this $ go to the bank). I think that's a good split and have bought some clear plastic jar with big label to help them divide up the money.

Hope this helps.

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T.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have a son who is 7 and we give him $5 a week for allowance. He has always been very helpful and does extra stuff around the house for me all the time (he helps with the vacuuming and he will help me empty out the dishwasher and taking out the trash) We have done this for 2 weeks now and so far so good. When he asks for a toy at the store I ask him if he wants to spend his allowance on that and wow, we are buying a lot less (I call them "crap toys") with 2 boys I am sure you know what I am talking about LOL. Good luck

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A.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

We have a son also, now 16, and started giving him an allowance about 4 years ago. It all started when he was working on a Personal Management Merit badge for Boy Scouts. He had to show what he wanted to save money for and how he earned it, so my husband thought "why not have him do things around the house to earn the money". We sat down with our son and let him know our thoughts, and let him know that he had to keep a record of what he'd done and get it signed off before he'd get payment (also a requirment of the merit badge)and we came to an agreement of how much he'd earn for each item he did. It was amazing how easy it was for us to get him to do his responsibilities without any fight!! I'm proud to say he is now an Eagle Scout, and has a very good idea what it is to earn your own money, and to have to budget that money to get what you want. He still to this day earns that money and takes a certain percentage of it and puts it in the bank (his own idea), so we know it was successful!!

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K.V.

answers from Reno on

Just to give you another perspective on rewarding children on a job well done. We were having a problem with out children turning their bedroom lights off when they left their room or even the bathroom. So we started a chart for everytime you turned the light off after leaving your room etc you received money ( at the time we gave them $.50). Then if we went by the room , lights wEre on and noone in the room they had to pay us $1.00. This helped the household with unnecessary electricity being used (saved on our power bill) helped teach them responsibility and they made money. They got so good though after a month or two, we had to put a cap on the amount they could make in a week. I believe it was around $8 to $10 per week. Then they would use this money for those things they felt they just had to have ( within reason) Hope this helps with another way to reward your children and show them responsibility.

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D.P.

answers from San Diego on

The way we started allowance in our home is that first we taught our son to save change in piggy banks. When he was pretty small, if he would happen to find a penny he really enjoyed putting it into the banks we have around the house. As he became more independant and defiant we would tell him that we would add money to his bank for helping mom around the house or helping dad clean out the car, etc. Once a week or so we would make a trip to target and allow him to bring some money to spend on something he wanted. He and I will sit down and exchange his change for dollars. He is almost 7, this is still working and a great motivator. I hope this helps.

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A.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Personally, I don't believe in giving an an allowance, but rather in helping children to earn their own money. When I was a kid, my parents gave my sister and I an allowance until when we were in the 4th and 3rd grades, they found out about the local recycling center. They told us to take our little wagon around the neighborhood and ask everyone to save their recyleables for us. Pretty soon, we outgrew our wagon and a relative who worked in a hospital, got an old gurney. We put boxes in it and pushed it up and down the hilly streets every Saturday for years. We bagged up the papers and learned to roll them for more money. The bottle and can money went into the family vacation fund, but the newspaper money was ours. I paid my own way to camp with that money and later for my violin lessons. It was all hard work and sometimes we wished we didn't have to do it, but we got to know all of our neighbors and today, I am so thankful to my parents for helping us to develop a strong work ethic.
In turn, my own kids have learned to recycle. We have even spent time helping the environment by cleaning up bottles and cans in parks and parking lots or just along the street. My youngest child is 15 now and everyone in the family saves their bottles and cans for him and it up to him to process them. His oldest brother then takes him to the recycling center about every six weeks.
My four oldest kids all understand the value of working. Each of them found work starting at age 16. The two eldest are managers for Carmax, the middle child is a United States Marine Sargent and the fourth child is going to college up North while working full time at an Ikea store. (He recently received the only merit raise that has ever been awarded at his location and also was named employee of the month for February.)

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M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

A.,
I have three boys, 8,9 and 11, and we give them chore money. There is $15 a week available for them to earn. Yes, each of them can earn the same amount of money. I know it sounds high, but they never earn that much. They each have to earn at least $5 each week that goes into a computer fund--when there is enough money, we will buy them a computer. They have over $600 so far. This is how they earn their money. They get $1 each day mon-fri for being ready for school by 7:30 (that's dressed, breakfast, teeth brushed, bed made, homework done and in backpack and ready to walk out the door). They get $1 for walking the dogs in the morning and $1 for doing their evening chore (we have a chart and the chore rotates each day, helping make dinner, dishes, setting the table, feeding the dogs,taking out the trash). The oldest usually makes between $6-$10 a week over the computer fund, the 9 yr old makes about $5 and the youngest makes about $3. It's up to them. We dont buy them toys or batteries anymoe, they use their money. On Saturdays, they have an opportunity to make more money for helping with the yard work, watering, pooper scooping, doing the laundry. They also have extra saturday chores they have to do without being paid (putting away their own laundry, dusting, cleaning their bathrooms).
Then on Saturddays or sundays we do a shopping trip. It used to be to target, now they like to go to borders books. They bring their money and can buy whatever they like. I make them buy it...count their own money, hand it over to the checker. and I dont pitch in for tax. It was really hard the first couple of weeks when the youngest didnt have enough to buy anything, and he sat on the floor in the store crying, but now he has learned to make more each week so he has more to spend.
good luck.
M.

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J.R.

answers from San Diego on

A.: I grew up with no allowance, and definitely feel children should receive one. We give our 12 year old son $5 a week. To earn it, he has to do a few chores regularly. As he gets older, we'll increase the allowance. The best thing we ever did was tell our daughter, when she was 12 (she's now 20) that there wouldn't be a new car in the driveway when she turned 16. She got busy babysitting, and saving her modest allowance, and saved $5,000 by her 16th birthday! We added to that (substantially) to help her buy a quality used car. She's taught younger brother to save. He does petsitting, and saves holiday gift money from grandparents. He opened a Certificate of Deposit at the bank before big sister knew what a CD even was! And when he wants something expensive, he takes money from the bank and gets it on his own. Good luck!
J. R

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M.R.

answers from Honolulu on

Aloha A.,

Our kids don't get an allowance.....I guess that's because neither me nor my husband ever did. The kids are expected to do chores simply because they are part of the family and helping out what families do. So for example, our 11 year old has been loading and unloading the dishwasher for a couple of years. All the kids put away their own laundry. Sometimes, they wash their own laundry too. Our 9 year old vaccums and wipes down the bathroom counter. They do earn money. Our 9 year old sells cards that she makes (in our shop, not door to door). Our 7 year old also does some cards and gets the money from sorting the recycling. Our 11 year old sold candy bars in our shop until he had enough to by himself an apple laptop computer.

Have a great day,
Marie-anne

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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

i read a article in parenting, i think, that said you should give a dollar per age, you may want to look for this article
i have copied the internet address, you should check it out
http://www.parenting.com/article/Toddler/Development/Is-M...

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K.S.

answers from Las Vegas on

We just started giving our kids an allowance but the kids only get it if they have finished all of their chores all week. We give each kids $1 for each year of their age. We figured that was fair because my 3 y/o does about $3 in chores and my 12 y/o does much more so she deserves more.

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M.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi A.,
We actually made coupons for our kids (now 11 & 14) to fill out each week for their allowance. The coupons have a list of their chores (clean room, bring dirty clothes to laundry room, empty all trash cans, etc) and it is their responsibility to fill it out. If they do not, they don't get paid. Also, they have to put at least $1 per week into savings (anything we put in,we match). As they have gotten older, they are putting more into savings (Yeah!) You will need to decide what you are wanting them to pay for (for treats, candy, etc....or will they be paying for all their toys and other entertainment). Our 14yr. now get $16/wk, but has to pay when he goes to the movies, buy all his own video games, etc....good luck!
M.

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I've also heard of the dollar per year or half that depending on budget. We are very tight so my kids get $1 and $2 weekly (ages 5 and 8- luckily they haven't figured out what their friends get yet!) and have a small amount of chores to do. If there is something special they want, they have to save up for it. They have 2 bank accounts, savings and fun money. (They donate in other ways) My daughter was so proud saving $130 for a Nintendo DS. I think she appreciates it more since she had to work for it.

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C.S.

answers from San Diego on

Dear A.,
My opinion regarding allowance is;
A child needs to learn responsibilities,
Not just be handed money for no particular reason.
If a child would like to have an item,
Saving up-by way of earning monies,whether it's from
regular chores, sharing meal clean up, cleaning of
bathrooms, cleaning floors, vacuuming, even learning the proper ways to do laundry.
Then there may be the question: What can I do to earn some additional money-to buy that item I am saving up for?
These are life educating and so very necessary for a child to have these real life lessons!
All too many children have money just handed to them.
They grow up thinking this will continue. Then at some point,
the money isn't there for the asking. They become angry young adults. This can lead to quite a bit of trouble.
The amount of allowance ??
Good question! Things cost quite a bit more and kids want some very technilogicaly advanced items(X-Box, Sony Playstations,etcetera)that "all the other kids have!"
I would consider the amount commensurate with chores designated, versus chores completed.
I gave my son, $5.00 every Saturday but--not if his chores
had gone undone all week. Illness of course, excluded.
He still got his $5.00. My son is a very well adjusted 25 year old young man today! And I am Proud of him!!
Good Luck with whatever you both decide!
C. S.

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J.E.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi! I am writing to invite you to try out Handipoints. Handipoints is a game you play with your children to teach responsible habits. Parents create printable chore charts and setup an allowance program online. Kids earn points to use to dress up their CoolCats and play games in HandiLand. Visit their website at http://www.handipoints.com/friends/ to learn more and to sign-up for free.
You can input my email and get extra "bonus" points for the kids for being referred. [email protected]____.com

9 to 24 months

Simple errands (using easy directions), such as: "bring mommy a diaper", "put this is the trashcan"
Putting dirty clothes in a basket/hamper.
Simple help with groceries, such as: putting items in shopping cart, helping put items on the check-out conveyor, handing items to you to be put away at home.
Picking up toys and putting in toy box (don't really expect them to sort and organize too much at this age)
Yard work, such as picking up trash and toys.
Wiping up small spills and messes with a napkin or washcloth.

Two to Three Years (in addition to chores previously mentioned)

Putting shoe/coat in proper place
Slightly more complicated errands (continue to use easy directions), such as: "throw these clothes into the hamper", "put this dirty cup in the sink". Child should be able to attempt a chore when asked to.
Toilet training
Wash hands with help
Brush teeth (may need assistance)
Helping with laundry, such as: helping sort dirty clothes by color, handing clothes to mom to put in washer, transferring clothes from dryer into basket.
Picking up toys and books, beginning skills of learning to put items in their proper place
Cleaning up after himself/herself after meals (i.e. taking dishes to sink, helping clean-off table)
Carrying light-weight groceries in from car
Put books and magazines in a rack.
Helping to set table (napkins, plates, and silverware)
Help feed pets
Dust with socks on their hands

Three to Four Years (in addition to chores previously mentioned)

Helping to water plants/garden
Wash hands (without assistance)
Brush teeth (without assistance)
Pick up toys and put in proper place
Put dirty clothes into clothes hamper
Normal daily routines (such as getting dressed, breakfast, etc. in morning; bath, prayers, bed in the evening)
Simple but regular responsibilities, such as getting the mail, keeping room neat, putting their dirty clothes in hamper
Helping wash the car
Helping put up groceries in proper place
Help cooking and preparing food (with adult supervision)

Four to Five Years (in addition to chores previously mentioned)

Dust
Assist in making bed
Feed and basic care for pet
Put away clean clothes (children may still struggle with folding "properly" as this is an emerging skill)
Set out clothes for the next day
Simple vacuuming/sweeping.
Share toys with friends (practice courtesy)

Five to Six Years (in addition to chores previously mentioned)

Sharpen pencils
Make bed/change sheets (with minimal assistance)
Set table by self (at this age, they still should not be handling sharp knives, etc.)
Set out backpack, shoes etc (whatever is needed for school)
Learn to be polite, courteous, and to share; respect others.
Help clean out the car
Keep room tidy

Six to Seven Years (in addition to chores previously mentioned)

Make bed/change sheets (without assistance)
Wash dishes with help from mommy
Fold and put away clean clothes
Set out clothes for the next day
Set out backpack, shoes, etc (whatever is needed for school)
Clean room
Unsupervised responsibilities (washing out trash cans, etc.).
Make pour own drink, get own condiments, etc.
Simple help with younger siblings (changing diapers, watching him/her while mom showers, helping with bath)
Dress on own and choose outfit for the day.
Learn to tie shoes.
Answer the telephone and begin to dial the phone.
Pay for small purchases.
Hang up own clothes in the closet.
Pulling weeds and simple raking
Carry own lunch money and notes back to school.
Start remembering to do homework on own

Eight to Ten Years (in addition to chores previously mentioned)

Care for self and simple first aid, such as: putting a band-aid on their cut, icebag on bump.
Prepare simple meals, such as: sandwiches for lunch, salad for dinner, preparing drinks
Learning to use washer/dryer with supervision
Increased responsibilities for younger siblings (dressing
infants/toddlers, entertaining them for longer periods, helping with school work)
Complete responsibility for their room on a daily basis
Cleaning yard
More difficult cleaning projects (scrubbing floors, etc.)
Saving and donating (if children receive an allowance)
Bathing on own (do check on child, but constant supervision should not be needed)
Help others with their work when asked
Help make decisions when shopping for self and household
Fold blankets
Simple sewing (buttons, hemming rips, etc.)
Clean up animal "messes"
Pick fruit off trees
Assist in household projects/repairs (painting, etc.)
Write thank-you notes
Feeding baby and younger siblings
Cross streets unassisted
Do chores without a reminder
Handle self properly when in public places alone or with peers

Eleven to Twelve Years (in addition to chores previously mentioned)

Join outside organizations, attend meetings, follow rules, etc.
Being responsible for own schedule (homework, appointments, etc)
Help put siblings to bed and dress them
Respect others' property
Help with yard work, including use of yard tools
Buy own "treats" with personal money
Help with car maintenance

Thirteen Years and Older (in addition to chores previously mentioned)

Help in making decisions about self, such as how late he/she should stay up during the week, what time he/she should come home from friends' house, etc.
Responsibility for preparing family meals
Social and health awareness (exercise, hygiene, etc.)
Replace light bulbs and vacuum cleaner bags
Wash windows
Clean out refrigerator and other kitchen appliances
Prepare grocery lists

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D.T.

answers from San Francisco on

A.,
My husband read an article to me recently about the Rockefellers. They gave an allowance to their kids and gave them 3 jars. In one of them went their savings, one of them their spending and one was always at least 10% to the church (people also chose charities instead of religion - it's up to each family. You let the child divide it up how they see fit - except the 10% at least to charity. The child will learn about savings and spending and if they spend too much and want a new toy, they will learn that next week or month they will have to save more. The best way is to give a roll of quarters ($10) and let them divide it up! You can review charities with your child and let him choose which one he wants to donate his 10% to - like animals or the environment or kids who don't have anything, etc.. I believe chores should be done for free - it's part of being in a family and pitching in. We are planning on giving a $10 per week allowance for good behavior, good grades, going above and beyond the chores and just because. It's more about teaching the kids about finances. Oh, and I think their money can be used to buy toys or books, school supplies- if they choose. Not candy!
Good Luck. Your boys ages are great for starting this.
D.

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S.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

My brother & I grew up with an allowance. ($2 a week! It was the '70s, baby!) My parents soon discovered that he would spend it all every week, while I would hoard. Rather than "correcting" either behavior, they let each of us develop our own personal relationship toward money, discovering the pros and cons of spending vs. saving on our own. It worked for us.

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B.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear A.,

This is an area where I have really failed! However I heard a theory that I always liked - I think the author is Kevin Lehman, Making (or maybe Helping) Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours. He said that children should receive an allowance just for being a part of the family - just like you do even if you don't have a job outside the home. But they do have responsibilities (chores). And if they don't do those chores, they have to pay someone to do them, just like you have to pay someone to do a job you need done that you don't do yourself . . .

Good luck!
B.

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A.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Growing up, my dad posted a list of chores to be done each week. Each chore was worth a certain amount of money and we would sign off on as many chores as we did, increasing our allowance for each one. We wouldn't get paid for what we didn't do. It was a great system teaching us the value of a dollar and enforcing valuable work ethics.

We were allowed to spend the money on whatever we wanted, although I usually saved it because I knew how much I had to do to earn it.

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