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What do you do about giving children a cash allowance?

1262 Views 17 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  juliewol
Dh and I both want to give sdd (almost 11) an allowance. However we differ on what it shoudl be given for. I do not feel that she should get $$ for doing her laundry, cleaning up her dishes, or helping to set the table. But then on the other hand, what does she get allowance for? And how much? I really want dh and I to be on the same page with this and most of the time, that happens when I figure out a plan and present it to him and then he is better to stick with me and provide and undivided front, lol. Any btdt or suggestions would be great ladies!!!!
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I am not sure how much help I can be here, but I can share how it works with us. Our kids are 10.5, and about to turn 13. First of all, we don't have chores. Everyone just helps out around the house with laundry, dishes, and the rest. We do not give an allowance (meaning a set amount of money each week or month in exchange for chores). Our children are part of this family, and as such they are entitled to share in the money that this family has. They always know how much our budget is at any given time, and they do not ask for more money than we can spare. We are happy to make sure they have a few dollars to spend when we are at the store, with friends, or when they are needing/wanting something.

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Here's our system:

Our kids got an allowance so that they could experience managing money.
When my kids were young (maybe 3 or so?) they each wanted money to spend so we started them on a small allowance. It wasn't in exchange for chores, as everyone just pitches in as needed here. They understood that it was a portion of the family's money and they liked being able to handle their own. It also ended the "Can I have____" when were out, because they soon learned if they had enough money or if they needed to save for whatever it was.

Once they got jobs (ds took a paper route at 11, dd at 9) the allowance ended. We hadn't discussed this beforehand, ds just informed us that he wouldn't be needing an allowance anymore as he now had a job.
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Well i got tired of being nickel and dimed to death (more like $5 and $10ed to death). So my kids (13,11,10) each get $7/week. They work for it, and it gets docked if they don't perform part of their chores. One thing, however, that is never tied to allowance is watching the baby. I explained that people take care of those who can't take care of themselves, period.

We live in a small town so that $7 is enough to go to the movie or go rollerskating and buy a few treats. Or they can save it up. My youngest daughter has saved almost $300 in the last 18 months from allowance and bday and xmas gifts.
Mine are 10, almost 9 and 7.

I have recently started a chore chart (Carriebeary rules!) and it works pretty good (for the first 3 weeks anyway).

The kids are expected to pick up their room and make up beds daily. The extra chores they have are what they get paid for; and they get $5 if they are consistent. Just like another poster - if they slack off - they get docked.

The extra chores are unloading and loading the dishwasher, vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, mopping the floor, cleaning the toilet (all three baths), cleaning the sink (all three baths), etc.... You get the picture. What I do is assign each of them extra chores in addition to taking care of pets and rooms, brushing teeth and hair. The extra chores rotate weekly so that the child is mopping every three weeks.

Here is the chore chart:

Good Luck


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At our house she has a couple set chores and doesn't get an allowance for it. We pay for most everything she wants/needs (at our descretion) and she can perform extra stuff to earn money if she wants to.
Thanks for all these great ideas. I am still not sure what our plan is going to be...I like the idea of just giving money to learn how to manage it...she has no clue at all. But I was thinking more in the area of $5 a week I suppose. I am still thinking on it. Honestly I can't wait until dh and I get a free evening and a grandma to go out to dinner to discuss these fun parenting issues
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I got an allowance as a pre-teen and teen but it wasn't contingent on anything. Like other posters' children, I was expected to do the chores no matter what when my parents asked me to help. I was an only child, so I didn't have a schedule of chores, they would just ask me to help with whatever they needed and I did it. I don't remember getting my allowance docked for anything - I always did the chores, and if I was "bad", my punishment was related to the bad behavior and didn't affect the allowance.

If I really wanted something that cost more than I could afford - for example, $200 rollerblades in 7th grade - my parents would split the cost with me if I would save up. So I saved up my $100 and my dad paid the other half.

I don't like the idea of being paid for chores - I feel that children should help out in the house because it is their house just as much as the parents and they need to make it liveable. I feel that by doing it that way, it instills the belief that chores need to be done because it makes the house a nicer place, not because it will result in money. Also, things can get pretty nasty if allowances get docked because of chores, and kids can refuse to do chores, not caring that their allowance is docked. Obviously this doesn't happen with all kids, but I'd prefer that my kids helped me with the housework because I've asked them to, not because I'm going to pay them.

I also agree that an allowance is a "share" in the family's money. GOod ideas everyone!
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Originally Posted by Arduinna
At our house she has a couple set chores and doesn't get an allowance for it. We pay for most everything she wants/needs (at our descretion) and she can perform extra stuff to earn money if she wants to.
nods. thats how its always worked here as well. our dd is 14.5
She does chores around the house because she is part of our family. I don't get paid for doing the laundry, cleaning the toilets etc. And dh doesn't get paid for taking out the trash or fixing things around the house. So she doesn't get paid for doing her chores either. We all do benefit from being part of the 'team' tho. If she wants something I buy it for her generally if its within reason.

her chores include:
making her bed every morning and picking up her room before she leaves for the day
clearing the table and doing the dishes after dinner
taking out the trash
helping fold her laundry and putting it away
filling the dogs water and food dish if its empty (we all do this, just whoever sees it at the time)

i don't think its too much to ask her to do these things. On occasion i'll ask her to do extra stuff - like she can choose to do all the windows/mirrors while i mop the kitchen floor and vaccuum or we can switch.

She babysits outside the house for her extra cash. And if she babysits for dh/i so we can go out we pay her for that too.

She keeps a running ISO list with me and on occasion gets a small something on her list because she's been helpful around the house or needs a pick-her-up. I enter her in swaps, i pick up things off the trading post etc. Today we were out picking up her brothers 1st bday gift and she found a cheap pair of sandals she wanted. Shoes i'll always spring for. lol. She said "hey, i kept up my chores this week without you even asking. can i get these?'. And i said 'yep'. Thats that.

no allowance.
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"...and kids can refuse to do chores, not caring that their allowance is docked."

hee hee. That was my mo as a kid. If I needed money, I'd do my chores, if I didn't need the money, I'd skip them.

Just to add, on the babysitting thing--my oldest ds babysits our youngest at times. If it's for dh and I to have fun, then he gets paid, but other times we barter. For instance, ds used to go foodshopping with me, but one day he said he disliked foodshopping and offered to watch the little one while I went to the store. No money exchanges hands for this kind of thing--we all benefited and I thought it was cool that it was ds' idea.
We also believe that an allowance is not directly related to chores. We all have household responsibilities. We all get some weekly money. If someone is sick or hurt and can't perform household duties, it doesn't detract in any way from their weekly money.

However, my dd sometimes helps me with my (very, very part time) job. When she does that, I pay her directly for the hours she works. She can choose to work or not - it's up to her.

Recently, we had her pay her own way to see a theater show that was a) a big deal to her, and b) expensive. She saved for a couple of months in order to have enough money for the ticket. She made a chart for keeping up with the amount she had, and learned a lot. She also worked every hour that she could (helping me at my job) for those two months.

We also have dd split her money into three categories: savings, giving, and spending. Giving is for charity (our church or other). Spending is for, well, buying stuff or experiences. And I recently asked dd what savings is for, to see if she understood. She said, "It's for when I'm grown up. It might be for college, or maybe I'll start a business or buy the house next door to yours." Pretty smart little girl! I'm proud.
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I give my son an allowance only to teach him about money and saving money.

He does have chores around the house but he knows everyone in our house does. I never give him money to do things that we all do. I view him helping out around the house as being part of the family and he enjoys doing it alot of times. I think he may outgrow enjoying it but I'm hoping he won't and will be happy to bring it into his own family. I really believe children enjoy doing things they know everyone has to do, they enjoy being a part of the family even when it includes doing things we all dislike sometimes.
My dsis gives her girls an allowance each week ($10 I think), but they are required to put at least half into their savings accounts and the other half is theirs to spend. Her od, 13, is always on the go w/ her friends and I think she has learned alot about managing her $$. She knows what she wants to be able to spend her $$ on and if she wants something at the store, she knows she is going to have to sacrifice skating or swimming that week.
There are some chores my kids don't get paid for (keeping their room clean, helping with laundry, etc.) then there are a couple of things that they get their allowance for. DD does dishes every night and DS has to empty the garbages and run the brush around the toilet. I guess we're cheap as they only get $2 a week for that. They do earn extra money (DS will mow the lawn for an extra $2, DD will "babysit" if I'm busy with other things, they'll clean out the trucks and DH will give them $1 if they "work on his back". *LOL*)
My kids are way younger , but they already get a non-tied to chores allowance. DH & I see an allowance as a way to learn money handling and hope to increase their allowance until they are basically paying their "own way" (w/our money) by the time they are teens. They will also be responsible for paying one reoccuring bill monthly (our money, but they will need to actually pay it (computer or check)) to get used to that. We plan to be very open w/money so they understand both how much things cost and how to budget.
my children do chores and my children get allowance but the two are in no way connected. they have reward system for doing chore (mom money, dad dollars and shopping at the mom and pop shop for candy and trinkets and dates or they can exchange thier mom and dad dollars for cash. I think they are worth about $.10 each is what we decided. They get a kick out of it aney really enjoy thier chore chart.
He gets 5.00 a week for spending cash as long as he is respectful and helpful.Now I know that being 14 that doesn't go far but I want him to know that my paycheck doesn't go far either.I have to work for that money.So what I've done so he can earn extra money is everyweek I will post a paper on the refridgerator with jobs for hire and how much they pay.If he wants the job he gets paid when it is done and done right.And they are usually jobs that I would have to make extra time for in my busy work schedule or educational trips ect...(We homeschool).For example scrub my kitchen stove from top to bottem.Worth 4.00 .That is inside and out.Now it isn't very diry to begin with but it teaches him money ,how to clean his own house for when he is out of mine and it teaches him the responsibility of accepting the job and seeing it through for payment.Because here if you don't finish you don't get paid.I usually put 5 jobs on the sheet and they could range anywhere from $1 to $5.Depending on how hard and how bad.Never over an extra 5-10 bucks a week.I am not rich.LOL.But he knows that his regular things have to be done.He takes out the trash when full and changes the cat box every other day.He is responsible for his own room and putting away his own clothes.And he cooks dinner one day a week.He is a good kid.And he likes his money. HTH Love Mylie xx
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On the topic of allowances, I though you may be interested in what I use for my son. It's called a Visabuxx card, and it works the same as a debit card. The parents transfer funds from their account into the teen's, and can even set up a regular transfer schedule. My son's allowance gets automatically transferred every week, so I don't have to do anything. He then can use it to make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted, or get cash from an ATM. There is a small set - up fee, but no charges after that. (unless they're overdrawn)
Both parents & kids can check the balance online anytime, & they send him an e-mail if the it gets below a certain amount. I like it because he isn't carrying cash which can be lost or stolen, and it's way easier for me not to have to get allowance money.
Here's a link, but I'm not sure if it's available
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