starting an allowance - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-19-2011, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd love to hear your thoughts on allowances.


What age do you prefer to start?

What do you call it?  I'd rather call it something that sounds more like work than a right.

Do you expect your child to be responsible for buying anything they need with this money, or is it just for fun?

Are chores tied to the allowance, or simply a part of being a family member?


I heard Suze Orman talking about a list of chores with specified monetary amounts that the child could earn as much as they chose, but it had to be worked up from the lowest pay to the highest -- as in the workplace. 


I like the idea of some of the money automatically going to saving and charity.


My DD is only 4, so if we do anything anytime soon, it has to be really simple.  DH was thinking it would be some good motivation to help the chores get done.  He's probably right, but I also like to avoid unnatural rewards and punishments when I can.  At the same time, kids do need to get experience with money.  I just can't figure out the details.

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#2 of 5 Old 07-19-2011, 09:23 AM
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Ds is almost 5 and dd is 2.5. they get "allowance". We have a chore chart of basic things-clean your room,make your bed,brush your teeth,listening ears,p-up toys ect. At night we go down the list and whatever chore they've completed they get a sticker for when they achieve 1- stickers they get .75...yup only .75. If they are determined they can get .75 pretty quickly. 


25 goes to charity

25 goes to spending

25 goes to savings


Anytime I feel they've earned extra...helping,listening;being extra kind ect they'll get extra change and that goes straight into their savings acct. 


Part of the reason why I made it so low was to make sure I didn't have little ones w too much disposable income spending it on junk. Now if we go to the store and ds wants a lolli-pop or something junky I tell him you only have xyz in your spending..are you SURE you want to spend all yur money or wait for something better? Its worked every time. Ds does want to buy/make xmas presents for his family so we'll be upping the amount he gets so he can put some into a special xmas jar. And when he finds something special that he wants to buy for himself he'll be given extra chores to raise the money

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#3 of 5 Old 07-20-2011, 04:33 PM
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We do allowance.  $10 every two weeks.  It is not tied to chores.  Chores are not an option and you can't shrug your shoulders and say "meh, I don't need the money for anything.  I would rather not walk the dog/wash the dishes/ mop the floors".  Also both chores and the amount of money they get for allowance is not negotiable.    


They also get $5 a week for helping out extra.  My 14 year old for babysitting and the middle one for extra cleaning and the youngest for doing work on the computer for me.  (we are broke.  There is not much to dole out)


This money is mostly for fun stuff or to replace stuff they break./  For example they lost their cell phone so they each had to contribute $20 towards the new one.  They broke the power cord to the computer and will have to split the cost of a new one three ways.


All their money gets dropped directly into their savings.  They make a financial  pledge at church and fulfill that.  Also, having to get money from their count means they have to plan ahead for purchases which reduces impulse buys.  And it keeps them from swiping each others money.  Just because it rests in the bank does not mean they are not free to use it.  Another thing we do is if they want to upgrade.  For example at the shoe store I said "here is how much I have for shoes and here are the shoes you can choose from (there were only two pairs in our budget).  She wanted a different pair I told her fine if she paid the difference.  She was ok with that.  Or, Lily wanted "fashion" shoes but she still had to have appropriate for gym.  So I bought the ones she had to have and she bought the fashion ones. 


We are not always so practical with it though.  There are enough webkinz and littlest pet shops in our house to make one think there is no end to their allowance.  LOL


I an't remember how old the oldest was when we started allowance but we started her sister at the same time and Ava when she was born (just put it in the bank).  

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#4 of 5 Old 07-24-2011, 09:46 AM
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I think we did a small allowance when ds was younger: something like $1/week. When he was in 3rd grade, he wanted to buy a skateboard, so we bumped it up to $5 a week with the understanding that he was to save to buy the skateboard, toys, electronics, and other things he wanted. (Turned out the $30 skateboard he bought wasn't so great, so we may have subsidized the next, better one LOL.)


Over time we added to it. Now he is 12 and gets $10/week. It's enough that he can save up to buy "extras" in a reasonable amount of time. So over the years he has bought fancy lego sets, other toys, skateboards and skateboard stuff (although we pay for safety equipment such as helmets), iPod Touch, video games (he's learned that used games save money), cool baseball caps, etc. He also pitches in if he wants the expensive version of something, like an expensive brand sneakers (we'll pay the amount the cheaper brand would have cost, he pays the rest), or the expensive hockey stick he wanted.


I helped him open a savings account, so he uses that to save up and for "bonus money" such as birthday gifts.


Sometimes he will take us out for a treat, like ice cream, if dh and I say no because we've used the food budget already. : )


Last year, dh was out of work and we stripped down the budget. We weren't broke (I earn the majority of our income) but we cut back. DS's allowance went to $5/week, but we put the other $5 into a "family fun" envelope so that we could save up to play mini golf, or go karts, or some other fun activity once a month or so.


As he gets older, we will add both money and responsibility to ds's allowance. Not sure what it will be for yet: at this point, ds never buys school lunch, and isn't at all fussy about his wardrobe. If he starts asking for pricier clothes, he will become responsible for that budget.


We don't tie chores to allowance. You do chores because you are part of the family and things need to get done. You get an allowance to learn to manage money. So far, it seems to be working for ds--he is a good saver and makes decent spending choices,



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#5 of 5 Old 07-24-2011, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions.


I'm thinking about a couple of chores that are non-negotiable and part of being a family member, and then a list of optional help around the house jobs that she can do for money if she chooses.  We could keep track of it with a chart and stamps.  Each job for pay would be worth some small change so that if she did a couple a day she'd end up with around a dollar a week.  I do want some to go to saving and giving, so I was thinking paying each job in small change with 3 banks would make it easier to divide up. 


I think it shows both that chores are part of being part of a family and that money is earned, and that money isn't purely for fun. 


But I'm not sure if it's too complicated....  I think I'll post again under childhood years about if it's too complicated. 

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