if you give your kids allowance, then how does this change what you buy for them?
We don't buy much and dd rarely asks for anything so we don't have a problem buying her things she wants.
Recently she expressed interest in having some money of her own. Now when I hear others talk about allowance it usually has more to do with decision making about money - like parents who give their kids allowance then have the prerogative of saying, "you can get x out of your allowance." or kids who have allowance can buy things that their parents wont buy for them, using their allowance, provided they are "allowed" to have the thing.
Anyway, we don't have any of those dynamics here (yet). I can't think of a time I did not buy something she wanted - usually it is me suggesting things to buy anyway, she almost never does.
So if I were to give her allowance, then I probably would not change anything about how I respond to her requests. She mentioned once that she would use her money to get nail polish. I think she must have thought that I would not buy nail polish - she has never asked for it but it is also true that we don't have any in the house and I have never bought it or worn it (or any other make-up). She has had her nails painted a couple of times - by my sister and I think by one of her friends once. So while I did not want to cut into her pleasure of buying something herself with "her" money, I did not want her to think that I would not buy nail polish for her. In fact I have never said anything about nail polish, positive or negative. So I said something like she could have her own money and that I could buy nail polish. We talked about this while eating dinner and the topic did not come up again - neither did she ask for the money nor the polish. I am sure she has not forgotten about it or anything, but it was not urgent either.
Question - when you give allowance do you give a nominal amount so they get practice spending and saving, or do you give enough for them to take over some of their own expenses thus relieving you of the same?
no longer or or ... dd is going on 10 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
We are just at the beginning of this with DD (she'll be 4 this summer) but I feel pretty strongly about the allowance issue because I think that my parents did me a HUGE favor by teaching me to manage my own money early in life. Like I said, DD is still small, so she gets very small amounts of money. She loves comic books, especially the big, expensive ($10!) ones. We buy comics for her but she would want one every week if she could, so we have her save for them and then she can buy them with her money. When we bought the last one, she was very proud of herself for saving the money and told the man at the store all about it. As she gets bigger, we'll expand the amount of money she gets and what she can be expected to pay for (ice cream from the ice cream truck when she's small, a toy that she really wants but we're not going to buy at the moment, and then all the way up to movie tickets and going out to eat with friends when she's a teen). We had a yard sale this last year and she sold some of her old baby toys and was given the money to spend on a new toy--it was about $10. We went to Target, looked at all the options, talked about whether or not she wanted to save it for something bigger later (she didn't ) and she picked what she wanted. I see allowance as just one tool in helping her learn to manage her money well.
We are also just starting this with ds (5) and dd (7).
I feel like since it's their money and their learning experience, I should give them as much of my personal input as possible without placing too many restrictions -- except one: they each get $6/week ($3 if they haven't kept up with chores), and $1 of that goes to charity. At the end of each month they can either go shopping or save it :)
We do allowance so that the kids can learn to make decisions with their own money. As a pp noted, I think it's really important to learn how to manage money in small bits, to learn to save and budget.
Like your dd, my kids aren't that much into buying things, so much of it goes unused or is saved. Mostly they spend it on the ice cream truck in the summer. I've told them they're on their own for that one because I refuse to pay $1.50 or $2 for an ice cream bar.
However, we do ask that they put some money aside for charity and use some money of their own to help buy gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Ds is turning 10 this week, and dd (age 6, turning 7 soon), is really excited to spend her own money to buy him some baseball cards. She gets $2 a week and has decided to spend $6 on baseball cards. Just before Thanksgiving, ds went shopping with his Sunday School teacher and spent $10 of his own money to help buy food for a food box for a family in a domestic violence shelter. That kind of tangible charitable giving is something I'd like my kids to do.
I don't tie allowance to chores. Each member of the family is responsible for helping the family run, and each member of the family should get some benefit from being part of the family. Since our family has some disposable income, part of that 'benefit' is a little bit of spending money that you don't have to be accountable for. Mine goes for garden plants and a cup of fancy coffee every 7-10 days. My kids' can go to water balloons (another thing I won't buy) and ice cream bars. Dh saved his up this year and bought season tickets to our MLS soccer team.