What Is the Going Rate for Allowances?

Updated on February 23, 2013
K.S. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
13 answers

My DD is six, and we are thinking about implementing an allowance to help her learn money management and how to count and use money in transactions. How much would you give a six-year-old for this purpose? What items do you leave to her purchase for herself? When does she get a raise (yearly on the b-day? Other?) And if we decide to tie chores to it, what do you think a six-year-old can be responsible for doing? Thanks!

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answers from Minneapolis on

$1 or $2 a week at six. Not tied to chores, those are done because we both live here. Allowance is about learning about handling money. Can be spent on anything she wants.

My daughter is now almost 11 and gets $5/week. She saves until she really wants something. So far, she always asks me before she spends, but it is her decision.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

Don't tie chores into it. That gives them the option of saying keep the money I don't want to do the job.having said that you could pay for some jobs. We gave our kids $1 per grade level so 1st grade $1 10th grade $10 when they wanted more they got jobs lol. we paid for pretty much everything but they learned to save for things we didn't pay for

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answers from Seattle on

I pay VERY high
Because I want to teach actual money management
Not just give him mad money
Its money Is be spending on him ANYWAY
This way he learns how to manage it slowly
Gradually increased responsibility

And that goes up every year
on his half birthday
Along with what he's responsible for paying for
With the end goal being that by 14.5 he's paying for

- All personal needs
(clothes, entertainment, etc.)
- All academic needs
- All sports needs
(fees, uniforms, travel)
- % of rent & utilities & grocery
(which Ill stick in my savings for him when he moves out, may or may not tell him)

So that when he gets his first WOW! paycheck
(Wow that's a lot of money,
Wow there's none left!)
It isn't a wow.
Its normal
And he's been managing his money with a saftey net for a few years already.

I started off "small" ($3 a week, with a $2 bonus for great attitude & a job well done)

$7 with a $3 bonus
$10 with a $5 bonus
$20 with a $10 bonus

If he were 14.5 right now, he'd be getting $400 a week (including any bonuses) to cover cost of living in our area for what all of his expenses would be on his own at the lowest level possible). With about 4/5ths of that turning right back around toward bills.

This past year MY money has been upside down... So we took a break until we had steady income to plan out. Which was also a good lesson.

At 6-9 my sons chores were the same (I'm on my phone or is just cut & paste, I may miss a couple). My sons ADHDc, so his daily checklist was ALSO about routines & balance (playtime, hygeine. helping, etc.) All 'mys' on this list mean HIS.

- wake up / make my bed
- shower / teeth
- breakfast / wash dishes
- play
- school
- help with projects
- help with dinner
- help with dishes
- clean toilet
- bedtime schtuff

- wash my sheets
- wash my clothes (and put away)
- pick a chore x2 (like dog walking, floor washing, etc.)

There's a few things Im forgetting. But that's basically it.

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answers from Washington DC on

I read somewhere that fifty cents per year was a good standard for a weekly allowance. So, for a six year old, $3 a week. I would want to do the bare minimum, but anything less than that would take them forever to save up for anything they might want to buy. It would be almost pointless.

I have a six year old myself, and I'm a little too lazy to implement the allowance just yet. But if I did, I'd like to institute some sort of savings and donation plan as well. They have those piggy banks with different compartments for spend, save, donate, and sometimes invest. I'd probably look into that.

I don't plan to tie allowance to chores. You do chores because you are part of the family. Allowance is to help you learn about money management. I don't think the two need to be connected.

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answers from Augusta on

Mine get points for chores then they can spend their points on what they want to , including allowance. 100 pts per dollar.
We have a website they record their chores they do and it totals their points and subtracts when they choose to spend points.
It's called Chore Monster.
I don't buy my kids stuff they don't need. If they want toys or treats at the store they use their money. They get presents on their birthday and Christmas. No more begging for stuff at the store cause they know I won't buy it.

Chores, take care of pets if you have them , she can learn to make her bed, she can learn to clean off her sink, pick up her toys, put her clothes in her hamper, fold socks , learn how to help sort laundry. clean windows , dust. There are many things a 6 yr old can do.

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answers from Chicago on

We don't tie allowance to chores either, it didn't work well. My daughter never made the connection between doing the chores and the allowance at the end of the week. She would say she didn't care at the time, but then cry at the end of the week if she didn't get her full allowance. She also started with the "That's an extra chore, what are you going to pay me to do it?" We stopped tying allowance to chores immediately!

At age 6 we gave her $5 at the end of the week. It's a nice round number. She used it to buy herself small toys.

At age 8 we upped it to $10, but then she had to start paying for "extras." If we came across a vending machine or a gumball machine she had to pay for it herself. If she wanted something more than what was offered to her at an outing, then she paid for it. For example, ice cream at the park.

At age 11 we give her $20 a week. However, she has to buy a lot of things with it. We buy her clothes, but extra things that she doesn't need she has to buy herself. This includes funky hats, extra shoes (beyond what she needs), extra candy at the movies (we provide popcorn), jewelry, purses, etc. This has helped her a LOT. She also has to save it to buy presents (we take care of friend birthday party presents but she has to buy birthday presents for her dad or me from her allowance).

The more money you give, the more responsible you can make them. It has been a GREAT thing for us to give a larger allowance, but then require her to buy extras. It makes her think twice about those extras, and if she really wants/needs something.

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answers from New York on

I didn't tie allowance to chores. A six year old should be doing some simple chores whether they get an allowance or not. At that age, my kids fed pets, made their own beds, cleared their own places from the table and I forget what else. I did raise the allowance each year - since their birthdays are at the end of the school year, I usually did the new rate at the beginning of the new school year. I would say that in determining a rate, you need to think of what your daughter's allowance is for. I did allowance as spending money, so theirs was lower than when other parents would make their kids split their "allowance" between spending, savings and donating. To me, allowance is their pocket money and it was never very generous, but you have to decide what they are going to pay for. My daughter would nickel and dime me - we'd be at the store and she'd want stickers or something, and if she was with me, I'd tell her that's what her allowance is for. If she was with my husband, he'd buy that for her, and then I'd ask him why the heck am I giving her an allowance. My younger kid has always gotten a higher allowance than my daughter got when she was his age, because he likes to have an handle his own money. He doesn't ask me for money for things that my daughter used to. If he goes to a school dance, he brings his own money for refreshments and glow sticks. If we go someplace where there's a snack bar, he comes back with an ice cream or a hot chocolate that he paid for himself, which I would gladly have given him the money for. So decide on the rules, and then come up with a fair amount.

Let her make mistakes with her allowance - like spending it all at once and then learning that she doesn't have any more money for the rest of the month. Kids learn about money by handling money.

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answers from Portland on

Good question! I'm not there yet, but I don't think allowances should be tied to chores. Chores are things that we do because we like where we live and need to respect it. The idea is that when they get on their own they know how to do everything to take care of themselves and their home without expecting to get paid monitarily for it.

I'm going to keep looking for suggestions on amounts because I am going to be there soon.

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answers from Dallas on

Well, I have to work for my money, so do my kids;) There are some chores that they have to do just because they are a part of the family (clean up the table, keep room clean, make bed, etc) but there are some chores I consider "above and beyond" and they each have a price tag associated with them. We have a calendar chart on our fridge and when the kiddos choose to do these chores (actually, some are assigned so they don't cry for $$ later) they mark it down and I pay them every two weeks.
That said, I buy all their things (hair products, clothes, etc) When I grew up I actually had to have a job, babysitting or other, to pay for that stuff myself. My mom would buy a base level, but if I wanted something "nicer" that was on me:)
I struggle, too, with the allowance not tied to anything. Maybe because that is how I was raised - we didn't just get money for doing nothing. . .curious to see other responses.

Edit: when they cry at the end of the week I show them why they got paid what they did and if they want to make more $$, do all the extra chores they have on the chart. Also, by identifying which chores are "above and beyond" they don't hold out for payment on regular duties. AND there are some seasonal things I pay them for also - like picking up the dog doo out of the back of the yard, helping weed the garden, mowing (I have a 9 yo) etc.

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answers from Portland on

My son is five, nearly six. So far, he's been given $1 a week to learn how to save and spend money. We do not attach this to chores, it just IS. He can earn extra money doing 'extras' around the house and garden, which usually is about $1 for 1.5 hours of being my 'helper'. (He's become quite good at this!)

When he's six, we'll raise his allowance by .50, however, that extra is to teach him to save money over the year, not to spend.

My son uses his money for toys. If it's something we feel is a worthy endeavor (i.e.-- erector set; constructivist toys), we'll likely pay half of the item cost. Anything else, he pays 100% of.

Our son helps with setting the table, taking out recycling, picking up his room (big house pickup is an 'extra', like when I'm vacuuming and he has to put all his stuff on the bed), helps move and deliver laundry, gets himself dressed and ready for school/bed, does his homework and eye exercises (does eye therapy, so a chore to him)-- these are the tasks we can offer for him for now. Once the weather is better, there'll be plenty of opportunities for him to help in the garden.



answers from Minneapolis on

My almost 6 year old gets $3 a week for extra chores she does. These chores are swiffering under all furniture in all the rooms in the house once a week, helping with laundry (loading, taken out and putting away). My son is 8 years old and get also gets $3 for extra chores, taking the trash/recycling out as needed, putting the cans at the end of the driveway, helping pick up on cleaning day so I can vacuum.

I let both kids spend however they want with the exception of candy. Mostly they both just buy toys/games and books. I do encourage them to save up their money to get a bigger item.

ETA: These are extra chores. They are still required to do daily things like helping set the table, cleaning up after they eat, putting dirty clothes away, keeping their rooms clean, feeding the dog/cat and giving them water, letting the dog out as needed. These are things we all do as a family. Oh and their allowance chore is something they do themselves. Occasionally my older one will ask his sister to help with garbage and he is expected to give her some of his allowance since she is working too. Also if they do not do a satisfactory job they don't get paid until it's done right.



answers from Boise on

It all depends on how broke mom and dad are LOL! I give my kids allowance on my payday twice a month. I only give them a couple of dollars each payday because that is all I can afford. I do not tie allowance to chores because they MUST do chores because they are members of the family and therefore have responsibilities; their father and I do not get paid to clean and cook at home so neither do they. Their allowance is just to teach them how to save money, they are allowed to spend it on things that they want but do not need (since it is the parents’ responsibility to buy them what they need).

Chores for my 10 and 7 year olds: cleaning bedrooms, setting and later clearing the table, washing and folding laundry (they do about 2 loads a week), being responsible for their own homework and other school responsibilities, picking up common areas like the family room etc., and cleaning their own bathroom with Clorox wipes (I deep clean it as well), and feeding, watering, and walking our 2 dogs.



answers from Detroit on

I started giving my daughter an allowance shortly after she turned six. We do not tie it into her basic chores that she has to do anyway (bring her laundry downstairs, clean her room, unload dishwasher). However, we have taken it away for having a bad attitude or a really bad misbehaving week or something like that.

We have given her $2.50 every 2 weeks (when I get paid). This amount works well for teaching her that you should save 10% of your income (25 cents, one of the quarters), and tithe 10% of your income (the other quarter). Even if you do not regularly attend a church to tithe, I still think its a good idea when teaching money practices to children, about giving to charity, so choose a charity together to give that small portion to.

Now she is going to be 7 very soon and I haven't yet decided if I am going to raise that! I like how easily the $2.50 breaks up. :-)

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