16F, 14M, 9F - No Allowance
We don't give our kids allowance. They are 16, 14, & 9. Instead we have helped them earn money. When they were very small they collected cans and bottles. We showed them how to rinse them and sort them and drove them to the place where they traded them in for cash. In a sense perhaps that was the allowance: our contribution to their efforts.
Later they graduated, at ages 6 & 8, to a flyer route. Initially the route was a little too big for them, so I did half of it while they were still at school, pulling the baby in the sled or wagon. They finished the last half when they got home. Later they managed the whole route by themselves, when they were 7 & 9. The 7 year old took the 2 year old along "for company" and convinced her to pull the sled with the flyers while he ran up and down the walks putting the flyers in the mailboxes!
Once they could read and recognize house numbers, they "graduated" to delivering the daily paper, including collection. Now the city that we live in has a very early morning delivery and only hires adults with vehicles. So for the last 4 years they have operated a yard care business. They mow lawns, rake leaves, and shovel snow. Our "contribution" is to help them with their work when there is a big snowfall or an unusual amount of school homework. They have up to 8 snow customers on a contract basis, usually about 4 or 5 lawns to do in the summer. All 3 children are involved, as the "baby" is now 9! She can now pull her weight on the tasks, so gets her full one third of the profits. Previously she just received a small portion as her "help" was often more of a hindrance!
In case you think they have taken on too much, since they are still in school, they are on the honour roll at school and are also very accomplished classical pianists. They have won scholarships with their piano competitions, helping to pay the tuition fees. Our 16 year old daughter is now teaching piano on Saturdays at the rate of $20.00 an hour. She also has all of her swimming instructor qualifications and teaches swimming all summer. She has played baseball and been part of the track team, plays clarinet in her school's Symphonic band and vibraphone in the Jazz band. Our 14 year old boy plays on all the school sports teams and also plays classical piano at the Gr. 9 level He plays the oboe in the school Concert band and keyboard in the Jazz band. The 9 year old also studies piano, plays baseball, and runs track. It is not "all work and no play".
We expect them to work but we support them in those efforts by joining them in their tasks when it really piles up. Such as in that great blizzard that we had here in Winnipeg in April of 1997!
We also expect them to invest a percentage of their earnings in long term savings for their post-secondary education. Up until the end of Grade 9 that percentage is 50%, in grade 10 it is 66% and after that we expect them to put away 75% towards their education. The older 2 kids have enough for their first year of University already, the older one part of second year. She is also quite likely to get scholarships for some of it. Even the 9
year old has term deposits!
So no, we don't give them allowances. We give them our time in helping them to set up ways to earn money and continue to earn money. They do household chores to their ability because it is their home.
Their time spent earning money can also be great "family together time". It can also lead to some heated discussions as to who is or is not doing their fair share!
Not Tied To Chores
I finished the survey, but wanted to give my views on tying to chores. I noticed many people tie allowance to chores. I do not believe in this. My son is expected to do reasonable chores (keep his room clean, do his own laundry, pick up after himself, dishes, trash, yardwork etc) because he is part of the family and everyone pitches in to keep our home nice. Other work (clean garage, wash cars etc) is expected to be done on request without complaining (excessive complaining). If it is a job that would normally be hired out (clean gutters, paint etc) then I pay by the job. we agree on amount (sometimes money, sometimes merchandise) before the job.
I pay all his expenses such as food, shelter, clothing and anything related with school. His allowance money is to teach him how to manage money. Sometimes he must save to buy a CD or whatever he wants. He generally always has more cash on him than me :) I have had to borrow 5 bucks on occasion.
I started when he was in first grade $1.00/week and just gradually increased it. By the time he was a freshman in high school, he was up to $5.00/wk so now I give him $.50 raise each quarter that he makes honor roll. He is up to $7.00/wk.
As the parent, my daughter of nine receives two and a half dollars every Sunday. Her chores are completely separate. She immediately saves half for college and the other half becomes spending of her choice, however, she is reminded that there are millions of things to spend her money on other than candy and toys. Charity, Save the Whales, Clothes, Holidays, Gifts for others, Family Vacations and such. She is often reminded, not made to, to save and put much thought into a very good, long-lasting item and often does so.
She is paid to do extra jobs around the house, and must do her daily chores around the house, regardless. If ever grounded, her allowance is not given, chores may increase or something that is a favorite is taken away for a week or a period of time, depending.
Also, her allowance is increased every birthday. This is fun because, she expects and deserves it, but the surprise is the amount of increase. A lot of her friends have mentioned that they, same age, receive more or less, and my daughter is not allowed to discuss financial matters, esp. with friends.
All this works very well. It teaches her to save, spend wisely, choose how to spend, not be greedy, not be show-offs, or jealous. If I work hard for my money, she understands that, and appreciates where her money comes from and how she got it. She has a lot of respect for her money. She takes care of it, and I think this attitude will help her when she is a responsible adult.
Earning Money, Paper Checks, and Savings
I believe that they need to learn that money is to be earned not granted just because they're alive. (I've seen too many people who believe that their company "owes" them a job since they work there, and don't feel an obligation to do their best on the job.) The children are expected to do regular household "chores" as a member of the family, but dollar amounts are set for chores we'd like them to do, but are not required, such as mowing the lawn, laundry, window washing, and so forth. The amounts are set as to what a reasonable going rate would be if we had to pay someone to do those jobs.
We did have the problem of when they earned money and put it in their banks, that they would also deposit "found" money which was often found in front of younger sibling's bookshelf or on mom and dad's floor, or the lunch money. We started a "paper check" system and book to deal with it. As they earn money, we credit their account with the proper amount and and as they want to buy something we debit their account for the amount and give them the money. This helps to curb the found money syndrome and it also helps them learn how to use a checkbook.
We encourage the kids to put some of their earned money into savings for college. The checking system encourages regular savings, since we credit their account with interest at the going industry standard on a regular basis.
Long and Short Term Savings, Taxes, Charities and Quick Cash
Each child is given the amount of their age (weekly). From there, each child puts 25% in a fund that we call long term savings. This fund can go for college, etc. Once they have enough in the long term savings to open a bank account, we take them to the bank once a week so they can keep track of their own books.
15% goes into a family tax fund. When we became tax payers from our jobs in the real world, we did not count on paying taxes at first. So, this is why they pay taxes to the fund. Since the family is largely their community, they pay taxes to the family. From there, we as a family decide together what to do with this money (go to movies together, out to eat, plan a trip somewhere, etc.). The point of the family tax fund is that we as a family community get to vote on the use of this money.
10% goes to charity. They get to decide themselves what this money is used for as long as it goes back into the real community of our lives (my children usually give it to a school function, or the library, etc.).
Now that 50% is gone to other places, we then take the remaining amount and give it to them. But, with that 50% they have what is called short term savings. This is a savings program that they get to decide what they would like to buy with their money. But the catch is, when they pick something special out to buy, they put a picture of it on their jar, bank, whatever they use to save it in. They take part of that 50% that's left, and put an amount that they decide in that savings. Depending on how bad they want it decides how much they put in. Once they have enough money for it, they buy it. We do not hold them to the object they first have decided on. It is their money and they can spend it the way they see fit. This enables the child to feel like he/she has power over their own money.
The rest is used for what we call quick cash. This is money that they get to spend now. We as parents also take part in this. We have told our kids that they will get allowances up until they are 18. So to make this fair, in their eyes, we as parents take part. How we do this is we match their long term savings. (Now remember the most you will ever receive is $18.00, so we as parents top out at $18.00.) We as parents take 15% out of our $18.00 and also put it into the family tax fund. Then the family unit as a whole, is taking part in this whole program. This allows our children to be responsible for many things. It allows them largely to make choices they would face as an adult. When we first started, we only gave half of their age, but we ran it the same way, only with each child getting less. They also have to do their own math in their books and account for interest earned. This is a great program and has worked very well for our family.
I have a 5 year old boy who loves collecting money but has no concept of its value.
He doesn't get a regular allowance, but often times he will ask if he can have the change in my pocket or at the register. He loves collecting things. He also doesn't have regular chores. This year we will start our son on regular chores and we will begin the $1.00 per week.
I also have a 7.5 year old daughter who loves to have money and earn it, but rarely spends.
In first grade (ages 6-7), my daughter learned the denominations of the coins, and the class had a store where the kids could buy toys that other kids had donated, a toy recycling store. The kids earned pennies for doing the classroom chores and then saved up to buy store items. They learned how to earn, save, and spend. The first grade teacher recommended allowances be given, she suggested $1.60 per week.
We now give my daughter an allowance of $1.00 per week with the understanding that she keep her room neat. She can also earn extra money for other chores around the house. For example, when she chooses to water the vegetable garden, flower bed, succulent strip, and strawberry patch we give her $1.00. If she dresses herself in the morning without our pestering her, that's $.25. The money we give her, she puts directly into her bank container. She has about $20 in it now, after we opened a savings account with her first $100.
The 7-1/2-year-old gets $3 per week, and this is tied to chores. She sweeps the outside walkways once a week, feeds the cat every other day or so, makes the bed once or twice a week, is required to clean up any mess she makes herself, clear her own dishes from the table, and a few other things I can't remember now. We don't monitor it closely or check things off a list as we did with the older one when she was the same age. As long as we have the basic feeling that she's contributing and not balking when reminded to do things, we feel she's keeping up with what she needs to accomplish in exchange for the allowance. She started her allowance at age 5 -- it was $1/week.
My 16-year-old receives $10 per week. This is strictly "extra" money because we pay separately for her bus pass, car pool to school, meals, clothing, etc. In addition, she has two very part-time jobs (clerical and regular baby-sitting), with which she supports her own telephone, pager and AOL time. She does regular chores which are expected in spite of, or regardless of, the allowance. Before she was ten years old, we expected chores to be done for allowance, but during the teen years, it seemed more realistic to simply expect her to do "family work" unconnected to money. She does the dishes every night, cleans the bathroom every weekend, makes dinner two-three times per week, etc. When asked, as in the instance of upcoming Columbus Day, she'll be taking care of her 7-1/2 year-old sister all day (the little one's school is closed for a teacher in-service) -- for this we take $3.50/hour -- we compensate her because we feel it's fair since she's losing an entire day off with her friends and we would probably pay for daycare or trade with another parent anyway.
Both children are good savers, and manage to accumulate $20-$30 for a CD or stuffed animal on a regular basis. They both have bank accounts and are expected to deposit 1/2 of whatever they receive in checks from relatives, etc.
7, 10, 13
How much $$ and how often you pay allowance?
$2 for the 7-year old, $4 for the 10-year old, $6 for the 13-year old, but all are due for raises.
Age(s) of your child(ren)?
7, 10, 13
Terms & conditions?
Paid the start of every other weekend when they are with me, but they get a similar amount from their mom on their weekends with her. No explicit connection to chores, but basic chores are expected such as cleaning their rooms & any mess they make elsewhere, clearing the table, sweeping & vacuuming throughout the house, and anything else they are asked. Extra work such as cleaning the bathroom, mowing the lawn, washing the car, etc. is an opportunity to make extra money.
Any constraints on what they can spend it on?
No, but blowing it on nothing is discouraged with varying degrees of success. The younger two save well for specific large things they want, the eldest never did.
My son is 6 and a half and I have been giving him $1 a week for the last few months. Actually, he hardly ever gets a whole $1, because I subtract for what I consider critically bad behavior (like making us late in the morning). Still, it has been a good experience and he is starting to learn the value of things in terms of how much money you have to spend. Now when he says he wants a particular toy, which I am not particularly willing to buy, I can just say, "Well, save up your allowance and you can buy it." Recently we went to an A's game and he wanted one of the very nice woolen baseball caps they were selling for $10. I was willing to spend up to $5 for a cap (it was kind of a special occasion, after all), but not $10. But he has brought his savings of $5, so we pooled our money and bought him the cap.
He has also gotten into the habit of buying gum or candy or a soda from the vending machines when we do the laundry once a week. I allow this as long as it doesn't interfere with dinner or lunch. I think he is starting to get the idea, however, that if he uses up all his money this way he won't have any left for special, bigger purchases.
All in all I'm pretty happy with this system. He does get the idea sometimes that he should be paid for everything he does around the house. I strongly discourage this however. The chores I require are pretty simple: he has to clear his place after breakfast and dinner, make sure he is ready (clothed, teeth brushed, etc.) to walk out the door on time on weekday mornings, and he has to take a bath when it's time to do so without whining incessantly.
I give my kids 10 cents per year of age per week, so the 7-year-old gets $.70 and the 9-year-old gets $.90. They also get money gifts for special occasions from relatives. We don't go shopping as a family much, so they don't need heavy-duty shopping money.
My kids splurge with small amounts of their money, but they also tend to save substantial amounts. Then if there's something really special that they want that I won't buy, they get it with their own money. Sometimes I kick in half the cost and they pay the other half.
I don't set rules for what they can spend it on, but non-money rules sometimes apply to what they buy. For instance, we have rules against eating sweets without permission, so they need permission to buy sweets. I think it's important to let them choose for themselves what they want to buy, even if it's junky, just so long as their purchases meet the family's health and safety rules. I find that over time, my children are giving a lot of thought to their purchases, and are exercising increasingly good judgment about the things they choose to buy.
About chores versus allowance: the books say that chores and allowances should be kept separate and not linked, and I agree.
My 9 year-old gets $3. The $3 went up from $1 this year and I don't buy hot-dog lunches--that's up to her.
Chores are expected, but not tied to allowances. They're docked only to replace something lost or broken through extreme carelessness. Actually, I increased the 13-year old's allowance in order to fine him for infractions, but we've found other consequences as things have come up.
They don't HAVE to save some in the bank, though the 9 year-old does. Otherwise, they just save it up to buy something bigger.
I don't think they need more because extra jobs are available to earn money and they don't too often take advantage of it.
When my 5th grader's class was surveyed about allowances, fully 1/3 of them said they get NO allowance at all. Another 40% get less than 5 dollars a week, with the remaining 30% getting something more than that. This class is at Head-Royce school, a private school in Oakland, with some very heads-up parents.
As for us, we don't give allowances. The kids' job is getting good grades in school, and we pay them on report card day. A "C" is not rewarded. B's are rewarded with a specific dollar amount each and A's are worth twice that.
The K-3 grades of public schools are often graded S,G,E (satisfactory, good, and excellent) or some equivalent, which we rewarded 0, x and 2x.
Our kids spend so much time on school work, music lessons, gymnastics, scouts and church that they rarely have any use for money. They use their own money for church offerings and buying presents for friends' birthday parties, and Christmas. Mostly we encourage saving and have just started introducing our 13 year old to stock market investing.
The amount needs to be large enough to be of value. I have a 10 year old girl and I asked her what she thought she should receive. She decided on $15/month. I was actually prepared to pay her more. I do not attach chores to the allowance - a certain amount of chores are to be expected by any member of the family (I certainly don't get paid for all of my labor at home!).
She uses the money for buying books or music typically. She doesn't have free range at the candy counter - not because I restrict it but because 1) minimal access and 2) she knows the value of her money. I don't make her use her allowance for shoes or clothing or other daily needs - those are my responsibility. That attitude may change in time.
A few years ago I also started a savings account for her at the USE Credit Union. $20 per month goes directly into that account. I consider that the savings part of her allowance. She knows that she can access that money for a special purchase should she desire - but at present she just enjoys watching the balance grow!
I pay her by the month - like a payday. It is easier for me to remember and it gives her a sense of a larger sum of money to manage. She did negotiate once to get a month's advance because of vacation plans and I gave her $30 and noted not to pay her the next month.
This has been working just fine for us.
We started giving our eleven year old an allowance, ($10/mo) after his grandparents starting doing so in exchange for chores he performed while visiting them on the East Coast. I had my doubts about what he did for them, (Smiles) but he loved "getting paid". He started itemizing what various chores were worth some time ago, as a means of earning money; but that never evolved into a real allowance until he asked for such last Spring.
At our house he gathers the trash on pick up day, puts papers in for recycling (I have to stack them), "supposedly" vacuums once a week, and brings big trash container in after pick up. These are extra chores and beyond making the his bed, keeping his room and tub clean, and doing his homework, which are his "responsibilities". I recently started him unloading the dishwasher to which he quickly asked for a "raise" of $1.00.
We're trying to work on a budget; without much luck. He buys little odds and ends and treats for himself. I tell him when his money is gone there will be no more. I stress getting the most for his money and shopping thrift stores, garage sale and discount. Sometimes he gets the message, sometimes not. I hope it all sinks in one day. He will save or work extra for special ($$$) items.
Any ideas on helping a preteen understand the need for a budget would be a big help or maybe someone knows of some software that is age appropriate; that will get him started.
We pay $5/week to our 11 (almost 12) year old daughter.
The allowance is not tied to chores, but can be revoked as a consequence of certain undesirable behaviors (such as lying about whether or not she did her homework).
Out of this allowance are supposed to come things like movie admissions (when she goes with friends, not with the family), CD's, doll-clothes, toys. Also coming out of the allowance are things like long-distance phone charges for calls made during the peak hours when she wasn't supposed to...
In theory, she's saving to spend it on a sky-chair (about $80). While she's saving for something, she's supposed to consider that first, but we often have to remind her, or enforce the savings by not actually handing the money over. Otherwise, it gets frittered away (so easy to do, even for adults!).
We've also considered a rule about snacks (such as no more than one per week, or something), but her adolescent concern about her weight took care of that before we had to make the rule about the allowance. We did have her save all her junk food packages for a month last year, and total up how much that cost, just to illustrate what she COULD have bought if she'd saved it! But just saving the packages caused her to cut back from her previous level. So the result was what we wanted (less junk food purchased), although the lesson was not as clear.
I am an Indian brought up mostly in the U.S. but with a value system probably a lot different from others who might read or respond to this. As I understand it, Indian culture emphasizes the importance of family and families are an important of survival in India. Therefore, you pretty much take families for granted and they take you for granted. There is no question of negotiation between parents and children.
I received allowance only in High School and only because there was the very practical justification of lunch money and things like that. I have a three-year-old and my wife is not Indian, so we discuss these issues regularly. I think allowance seems like a good idea in that it teaches money management and related skills including much arithmetic.
But I wonder what kind of message it sends the child on a subconscious level. If, as the expert suggests, we tie allowance to chores, does that make us the kids' employers?
If they offer to do extra chores, can they have more money? If they are distracted or stressed out about school or some new aggressive kid in class or any of the hundreds of
conflicting cultural messages they must try to make sense of and assimilate, must we punish them? Is it right to allow money to enter the parent-child relationship when it
is perhaps the only relationship left in this country which cannot be defined in contractual terms? In this era of the huge political emphasis on the 'family', is it not time to
start re-evaluating the kinds of relationships within the family that possibly led to its dissolution? I don't know the answers to these questions but they trouble me just the
For now I choose to continue to be the 'Dad' who can dispense generously or not depending on the fairness of the request, the attitude and the overall consideration
that is reflected in my daughter's actions as a whole. I believe children want naturally to help their parents and a generally positive and loving atmosphere at home and open
discussions on issues such as money have a positive impact. But I do worry about other kids and that they might be receiving allowance and whether my daughter will begin to
measure my love with the $ she gets.
16M, 14F, 11F
Initially, allowances were sort of a hit and miss thing for us. More often than not, we would forget to pay them and, later, forget that we forgot. The amount was basically pocket change and was intended to provide the same for our kids. There was no discussion on what the money was to cover and, as a result there were frequent disagreements as to what we should pay for. Eventually, we realized we could do much better.
About two years ago, we started a journal system. We called it "The Book." Each child had one. Every Sunday afternoon, we would record their allowances in "The Book." Most cash and checks they received would also go into "The Book." Whenever the kids wanted to buy something, we would pay for it and they would deduct the amount from "The Book" that evening. We could hardly believe the difference.
As often happens, a little success really fueled the fire for more. We decided we would divide the book into three sections - one for savings, one for sharing and one for spending. A list of expenditures the kids were responsible for was added. They budgeted their allowance between the needs they saw in each of the three categories.
Well, the results have been great. Allowances were raised immediately. Our son almost has enough money for that first car. Our oldest daughter has enough spending money for her upcoming trip to Washington, D. C. and our youngest daughter gets more excited than anyone when it's time to buy and give gifts. What a difference a plan makes!