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#1 of 12 Old 12-16-2010, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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This is kind of a spin off thread from "Should you tell your children you are poor?" Allowances were mentioned as a way to let kids learn about budgeting and saving and be able to get the things that they want without it coming from the family budget and the constant asking for stuff just to get things. It's a great idea and I agree with it but I wonder sometimes about the way allowances should be done. I haven't started this yet with my kids (just now 3 and 5) but have thought about starting something for them. My question though is what do they do for the allowance? Part of the reason for doing allowances to me is to teach kids that they have to work for what they want and earn it. I don't want them being given money and everything they want just because. They need to learn values.


Problem is I feel that part of those values is helping others, helping your family and taking responsibility for things that you are responsible for. Usually allowances are given in exchange for completing some kind of chores. Chores/housework are necessary for all family members though in order for the house to run well. I don't want my kids to not help around the house because "that isn't my job", "that was for L to do, not me," "am I going to get more money for that?," etc. They should help because they are suppose to but then what would the allowance be given for? Do they have a list of chores that they are expected to do every day to help the family as their normal chores and then maybe a list of extra things they can do/help with to earn an allowance? Say they have to pick up toys/clean their room regardless but they get money for cleaning up the yard? Or do you give an allowance based on other criteria such as good behavior all week or good grades etc? While we're discussing it how much allowance? I'm sure this will vary by the kid's age but a guideline of what you think would be helpful.

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#2 of 12 Old 12-16-2010, 03:28 PM
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My kids are supposed to help me unload the dishwasher, practice their musical instruments, and do their homework every day in order to get allowance.  My daughter is 5 and my son is 6.  They understand that they also help out with other things around the house (picking up, folding and putting away clothes, etc) - we all work together.  But their chores and musical practice are what they need to do to ensure they get their allowance - $2/week each.  Its worked very well for us.

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#3 of 12 Old 12-16-2010, 03:52 PM
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Our son is expected to be an active contributer to the household. As he gets older he gets more responsibilities. He also gets an allowance. The 2 are not related.

As a member of the family he gets his own money, as do my husband and I. I don't get less just because I didn't finish the laundry, kwim?

He is expected to save a third, donate a third and then the balance can be spent as he chooses. He is learning how to budget, how to save and watch his money grow and how to give back to others.

We model the same values. For example we are saving for a a trip to legoland! We show him what it means if we save less- it will be longer before we can go. And he was actively involved in our chritmas charities.

I think allowances can be an invaluable lesson in finances. He will learn about working hard to get what you want as time progresses- mowing lawns, walking dogs and babysitting for friends and neighbors. His first summer job etc.

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#4 of 12 Old 12-16-2010, 05:21 PM
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We just started giving my oldest DD (6) an allowance. We discussed beforehand what she would need to do in order to get her allowance, and came up with make her bed each morning, pick up her clothes, and clear her food dishes. She gets extra if she does something extra (put away her sister's clothes, etc.). If I ask her if she has made her bed and she says yes but is lying, she does not get her check mark for that day. Each day that she gets the three check marks, she gets $0.50, totaling $3.50 at the end of the week. She understands that these chores are not all she has to do each day, she will be expected to clean up her toys and help out around the house like always, but that these are her chores alone that must be done to earn her allowance. So far it's working ok.

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#5 of 12 Old 12-16-2010, 05:25 PM
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Our children are expected to do chores as contributing members of the household and to gain lifeskills for becoming successful adults. They are not and will not be paid for regular household chores. No money for chores here.


Our oldest child is 5 and on a regular basis sets and clears the table, scraps the plates and loads the dishwasher. She makes her bed 85% of the time (I still have to remind her most mornings), but I rarely make it if she doesn't (only when we are having company). She puts her clothes away after they are folded, cleans up books and toys. And everyday hangs up her coat and her sisters, tidies the shoe racks and brings her backpack upstairs and unpacks the notices to my desk, her lunch bag to the counter and her backpack to it's hanger.


My two and a half year old just helps out when and where she wants... But will be expected to do similar to her sister as older. She does love to unload the dishwasher and help start it and is pretty good at cleaning up though.


We haven't decided on allowances but they will not be tied to chores.


The only "chore" which would not really be a chore that I would consider paying for is babysitting a younger sibling and this would be expected of them sometimes and paid other times. I see it as another chore but also as something that they just can't choose to do when they have the time it is sometimes more "forced upon" so sometimes should be paid...


However our 5 year old already "makes" her "own" money. She and DH collect cans and bottles from friends and family every so often and then go down and sort and stack all of the returns and then get the money back. DD learns that if she helps and does most of the work then she gets the money. There have been a couple times she has wanted to help and then decided to sit in the car instead and learned that she didn't get the money because she did NONE of the work. Just today she mentioned that she wanted to get her sister a present for Christmas so she was going to ask Dh/Dad if she could collect some bottles and turn them in for money so she could buy the gift.


She already understands that work=money and chores are not work they are to keep the family home running and presentable.


So that's us and it's working so far. Hope you find something that works for you.

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#6 of 12 Old 12-17-2010, 09:01 AM
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This is what we do as well.  We remind them that we are a family and everyone pitches in to help out and make the household run smoothly.  If our kids want to buy something then they can do a little extra work for it.  We always ask "what are you willing to do to earn that?".  We then offer some suggestions that are extra to their regular household chores.  Sometimes they go for it, other times not and that is their decision.


Originally Posted by delightedbutterfly View Post

Our children are expected to do chores as contributing members of the household and to gain lifeskills for becoming successful adults. They are not and will not be paid for regular household chores. No money for chores here.


The sea monkey has my money.

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#7 of 12 Old 12-18-2010, 12:39 PM
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We also do not tie together chores and allowance.  For us, the two are not related and we don't want the kids thinking they are.


We do chores because we are part of a family and for a household to work everyone should pitch in.


The kids get an allowance to learn about money management.


Because they don't do one doesn't mean that they don't  need the other.  Also, if you tie chores and allowance you will eventually run into a child deciding that it is not worth it to them to do the chore--- they just don't want/need the money that much. 



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#8 of 12 Old 12-19-2010, 12:01 AM
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Like others have stated above, household responsibility belongs to all of us in the family -- largely determined by who is here to do it and who is capable of doing it. I'm home the most, so I do the most. DD is home the next most, but she isn't capable of everything. DH is home the least and therefore does the least, but, he is capable of most everything and will do just about anything I need help with. The only thing he seems incapable of doing is keeping the kitchen sink and stovetop clean and the only thing he refuses to do is dust. He's awesome! love.gif We don't pay for chores and we don't even call them chores. lol.gif  DD is 9 years old and has been helping around the house since her first birthday. We started with simple, fun clean-up games for toys and gradually progressed as her interest and capabilities increased. She currently:


~ opens and closes the blinds around the house (morning and night; 4 windows/3 rooms have blinds)

~ helps empty the dishwasher

~ helps set/clear the table, shakes placemats

~ assists in cooking (as she wishes, she leads the way on this one)

~ takes out trash and recycling whenever asked (This isn't one specific person's job in our family.)

~ cleans her own bedroom and desk (and surrounding area) in the family office (I dust and vacuum everywhere, though. She's just learning to vacuum.)

~ helps clean the hall bathroom, which she uses 99% of the time and others also use (She is capable of cleaning the sink, counter, lower portion of mirror, and outside of toilet. She's learning to clean the tub and the floor.)

~ assists with general housecleaning and laundry (as timing allows, I often do these things while she is in school)

~ assists with gardening (she picks and chooses what she wants to do, which is mostly fine with us)

~ cleans all the doorknobs and lightswitches in the entire house (been doing this since she was tall enough to reach them; loves this)

~ clears off foyer and stairs, as asked

~ waters houseplants, as asked

~ waters veggies, fruits, flowers and handles compost items (all when asked)
~ gives the cat fresh water daily and, lately, gives the Christmas tree water daily


The most helpful thing she does is she puts all papers in the designated tray in the family office!!! Every Monday her backpack comes home with paperwork from school. She tells me about anything important on the walk home from school, but she knows to put the paperwork in the designated spot. If she gets the mail, she knows to put it in the tray. If I hand her receipts from shopping, she puts them in the tray. This is just soooo helpful!!! I do paperwork and finances every Tuesday and having it all right there is simply priceless. Truly!


She is just now learning to sweep with a broom and vacuum with an upright vacuum. These are challenging for her. She's been practicing outside with the leaves on the front walkway. LOL Inside was a joke, but I just smiled and encouraged her and I left her work as is and complimented how it was helpful and I was grateful. (Same approach with DH, btw, is what got him to be so willing to help with anything, except dusting.) This time around, I'll do the inside sweeping and let her do something she is more skilled with because we have company coming and it matters more to me. I didn't actually witness her first attempt at vacuuming, but heard from DH. I don't care so much about this, so she can do that this week when she is home from school.


As for allowance, it is for learning purposes. She started getting 4 quarters a week just about two years ago. She put one quarter in the bear bank (like a piggy bank), one quarter in the charity jar, and one quarter in her coin purse (for spending as she wished). The final quarter was up to her every week. She went through phases of putting the extra in each spot for random amounts of time. We were most intrigued by her drive to raise funds for her school's jog-a-thon, which was going to be matched by an anonymous donor if they raised $10K or more in order for the school to install a "real" track (elementary version). She collected her own quarters for weeks; asked family, friends, and neighbors to sponsor her; and she gave her own spending money as well. We matched her efforts. (And the students did meet the minimum for the anonymous donor, so they got the track.)


In 2009, she received $52 for the entire year in allowance money. She donated all the charity money to her school's jog-a-thon. She put all the coins in her bear bank and then deposited them into her savings account. She only spent money on field trips (other than the additional funds to the jog-a-thon). We go half-n-half on most optional things for her that are within her budget. Field trips are the main one. School ones are $1-8 each and Girl Scouts ones are $5-15 (if they cost anything; many are free). When/if I go as a chaperone, we pay all of my cost and half of her cost. She pays half of her cost. She derives such a sense of pride from this! These are meaningful expenses to her and she likes this level of involvement.


In 2010, we changed things up. I didn't enjoying saving all my quarters and begging for them as change everywhere I went and we simply don't go into a bank as part of any routine. We gave her a "raise" and she received $5 a month in cash. The idea was for her to gain new skills. Instead of weekly disbursement, now it was monthly. Instead of single quarters to place in each spot, now it was one $5 bill and she was to rotate among the spots. Honestly, that was too much change for her. She is good with money and understands it and its various purposes, etc. She got accustomed to monthly just fine, but the rotating just didn't work.


She ended up in debt to us several months in a row for field trips and other things. Granted, her teacher did everyone a disservice by cramming all of the field trips into only two months and we all forked over $22 at once with zero notice on just the kids ($11 for DD; needing 3 months of allowance in advance and it was only May). Only because I didn't feel it was fair to punish her for something she had no control over, we agreed to cover her debt. She didn't have any further field trips that cost money, so she lost incentive to build up her spending money. Prior to summer 2010, she was never a kid to really want anything beyond what we provide. Not sure what happened or why, and I'm not particularly concerned since it was bound to happen at some point, but she suddenly wanted to buy her own little things... We usually share one dessert amongst all of us on the rare occasion we go out to eat and even order a dessert. She decided to buy her own one time. When the bill came (we had it separate, as a learning experience), she was shocked to find she didn't have enough money. Even though we teased her about washing dishes at the restaurant to earn it, we paid the remainder of her bill. Another time, she knew we were going shopping and was planning to bring her spending money, but she had switched from the coin purse to a wallet since now she was receiving bills versus coins. She brought the wrong thing along and I had no idea until she was paying for her items and opened it to find only part of the money she thought she had. Again, I paid it. She fell behind again. Ultimately, she just this month received her first cash allowance since May. These are good learning experiences, as far as I am concerned, and I am glad they happened while she is 7-9 years old versus 27-29 years old!


She has asked that we change the method again for 2011. (Excellent response, in our opinions!) I think we're going to try $6 once a month in single bills; at least for awhile. She can put two $1 bills in charity, two in a savings envelope, and two into her wallet. Random change can go into her bear bank or not, up to her. I might do $4 in single bills (charity and spending) and transfer $2 electronically to her savings account instead. Depends on how easy it is to obtain six singles when getting our monthly cash over at the grocery store and on how much interest she shows in physically going to the bank to make a cash deposit after she receives any Christmas money, which she may or may not get this year, along with whatever she has in her bear bank from random change. I doubt she has any bills saved since her birthday deposit.


We purposely started with very low amounts for two reasons. 1) We provide for her, and her long-distance relatives had been in the habit of sending what we consider obscene amounts of cash for her birthday and Christmas (in lieu of gifts past the age of 5-6). Most of that gift money went to buying her shoes (or other defined items) to offset our own budget or into her savings account. Not really for what those well-meaning folks intended. (They felt out of touch with her and wanted her to buy her own gifts. She has what she needs/wants, so that wasn't a good fit.) She didn't really "need" any personal money until this past summer when she suddenly took an interest in things we don't provide. 2) We only were really doing this for learning purposes, so low amounts worked with our family budget best (honestly, those four quarters a week came out of my personal spending for most of that year) and illustrated the points perfectly. We figured we'd start small and gradually go up as the situation warranted. It is working out better than we had hoped. thumb.gif

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#9 of 12 Old 12-19-2010, 05:03 AM
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I've read and reread the book "Bank of Dad" and always gain some additional insight on how to handle this.  Allowances are for being responsible and doing their part in contributing to the family.  Additional money can be earned by going over and above that same thing.  Allowances are not tied doing specific chores, as this teaches them that they can chose NOT to do those chores that contribute to a well functioning family.  Things that I wouldnt want to do myself and would eagerly pay others to do (cleaning out the garage, mowing the lawn) can earn extra money over and above the allowance.


The book is fabulous, as it is primarily a teaching method for encouraging kids to save, rather than simply about giving money out as an allowance.  Highly recommend it!  I also like how the "savings rate: can change based on external consequences.

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#10 of 12 Old 12-19-2010, 06:00 AM
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We just started 6yo DD on an allowance, so it is interesting to see the different approaches. We give her $2 per week and do not dictate how any of that is spent but gently encourage her to save up fo rthe bigger things that she asks for, rather than be an impulse shopper which she would be if given free reign. She is proud of the amount she has saved up and often offers to kick in some money when we do something fun (like go to a movie). She is learning that things are much more expensive than she thinks, so this is a good learning process as she has something to compare prices against rather than an abstract number. We have not tied the allowance to chores, though I see from this thread that we have not given DD nearly as many chores as others do at her age, so we may step that up (but still not tie the two together).  We are a bit disorganized ourselves with chores, doing them when we can fit them in to our busy schedules, so it is a challenge to get DD on a weekly chore schedule. I will have to think about how best to "dole out" chores to her, rather than asking for help on an ad hoc basis, which is how it has been handled to date.


I did not get an allownace growing up but had a thrifty older brother without much interest in "stuff" so my urge to ask for "extras" was tempered by him when we were young. I did become an over-spender when I was in college (when he was out of the house and I lost the "pressure" to be thrifty) so I am hoping that early lessons to DD will give her life skills that I had to learn the hard way.

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#11 of 12 Old 12-19-2010, 11:41 AM
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DS gets an allowance per se.  He has a pre paid card from our bank. (I love USAA) and his money goes on there.  He does have some cash at times but he prefers the debit card and tracking things online.  He gets about $10 per month, but he can earn more for things like extra cleaning, extra laundry (doing hanging, folding mine etc), trash duty etc.  These things will earn $1-2 based on how much there is, how long it takes etc.  I don't have any rules about 'saving', charity, spending etc.  Right now he isn't much of a big spender and is fully aware of sales, coupons etc.


I should say DS does things around the house as well but they are not called chores and they are not tied to $$.  For example, if the bathroom is dirty then he will clean it, if the dishes are done, he will unload the washer and put them way.  Right now the house is kinda run as 'you see it, just do it'.  This method seems to work well.

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#12 of 12 Old 12-20-2010, 08:36 PM
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We do the same as many other. No tie between allowance and chores. But he can get extra $ for odd jobs. Like if there is extra yard work to be done or any kind of spring cleaning project.

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