Kids and allowance

So, my daughter is about 4 weeks from 10, and I figure it’s about time we started giving her an allowance. Well, giving might not be the right term, since I’d like to have some way for her to merit it, rather than just have it be kid welfare.

So how do you all (with kids) do it? I’d like to avoid the old “give money at the end of the week and nag them to do their chores all week” method my parents used.

I’ve read a couple of different theories, ones of which is where you give them money at the start of the week, and they have a list of things they need to do as their part of keeping up the house. If they don’t do their part, that’s fine, but they then need to “pay” the other family members who had to do their share AND extra to make up for the things the child didn’t do.

Share away!

I’d ask you this question: What’s your goal?

If you can figure out what you want to get out of giving them money (less whining, more housework, better understanding of finance, etc), then you can set it up accordingly. But it ain’t gonna do everything…

Just bury it in the back yard and give them a shovel.

Childhood is difficult enough without having high-risk employment models applied to your candy money. I rather doubt making her allowance contingent on getting her chores done will teach her anything other than “chores suck.”

High risk employment models? Am I missing an implicit smiley of some sort?

I don’t have kids, so take this with a shaker of salt, but when I was growing up the point of an allowance was just to get the kid used to managing money. Chores were a separate thing–you had your chores and you had to do them, but it wasn’t tied to your allowance (except that losing your allowance was a sort of all-purpose punishment you got for disobeying your parents, which could include disobeying their demand that you do some chore). Making your kid pay you to take out the trash seems a little weird, but maybe that’s just because that isn’t the way I grew up. It seems like a headache, though, especially since you’d have to keep scaling up the “cost” of missed chores as the kid gets older (otherwise your kid is going to get a paper route and pay you the $2 a week it costs to get you to do everything around the house).

Although I don’t have kids, I always thought the idea of teaching them to manage the money was key. So for instance if your kids buy lunch at school everyday, make that part of the “allowance”. If they are allowed to rent movies or something, make that allocation part of their “allowance”. This will show them the basics of “saving up” for things, managing money, etc.

Perhaps you could also incorporate into this some kind of system of fines as financial punishment. For instance, no chores done today = fine of $2 (or whatever). Because in the real world, many bad decisions result in some kind of monetary result: you pay a late fee or a fine or you have to pay to fix something or you take a week’s suspension from work or whatever.

High risk employment models? Am I missing an implicit smiley of some sort?[/quote]

Heh, kind of, but look at the description here. “If you don’t do your chores you don’t get any money, and in fact you have to pay someone else to do it.” It’s like a hilarious parody of what sucks about adult life.

I mean, if you want to teach her to manage money, give her a flat amount every week but don’t give any more regardless of circumstance. If you want to get her to do the chores, make her do them and punish her if she doesn’t. No reason to start burying your kids in adult financial incentives.

I definitely encourage chores-based allowance.

Room clean? Dishes done? Dusting, vaccuuming? Walked the dog?

As she grows older, I’d increase the amount but stop buying clothes. Give a timeline for that.

Chores suck , except the ‘clean your room’ one, clean rooms make your child look rich when their friends come around. Making your kids do the chores you use to do is bullshit especially the ‘wash the dishes’ one. I don’t mean to sound like I’m ranting but if you want your kids to wash dishes don’t make them do it every night, take it in turns and make sure someone helps if you only have the one child doing the job. See that way it’s like the master is working with the slave.

Here’s another idea. If you can afford it give your child some money directly and put some in a bank account. Your kid isn’t going to be 10 forever. So make their weekly allowance $5, give them half and put the rest in a bank account. If that’s $2.50 per week in the bank for 8 years (starting from age 10 till he/she’s 18 ) then that’s $1040 they’ve got when they move out… of course that amount might change due to fees or increses of allowance.

Heh. I haven’t even got through the entire thread, but when I read this part I got a visual of my now 6 year-old at 15, holding up a fiver from the living room couch and yelling, “Yo Pop! Beer here!”

I give my kids money now just to give them a sense that it’s finite. We don’t do a weekly thing, but a once in a while go to the toy store deal. My wife was doing something with poker chips to get them more involved with doing chores (and then they cashed the chips in for a toy store visit), but that hasn’t really worked out too well. It was too complicated, like being the banker in an on-going game of monopoly. I am interested in what all the rest have to say.

Haha, I hadn’t thought of that angle. Wouldn’t want to get them too businessy…

Ten posts before someone with children responds. :D

My only advice is to try different methods until you find something that works. We ended up with a chore list where the chores are worth a certain amount. It leaves a lot to be desired, but it is the best thing we found so far.

Why not put the kids to work? Then you can take a cut of their earnings!

What’s a kid going to do for $2.50 per week?

That’s barely a couple of candybars! :)

I dunno… save it perhaps?

For what?

20 weeks of saving for a video game, when you can whine one out in 3 hours? =)

Give her a flat amount every week with no contingencies attached.

On top of that pay generously for having the yard cleaned (dog shit picked up, lawn mowed, clippings in trash can, porch brushed) - having your car washed and helping out with general painting and decorating. You’ll know when she’s saving for something expensive she shouldn’t have when she attempts to do any of these tasks more than once a month.

Reward a tidy room, and general helpfulness with stars - when the stars reach a certain amount they can be used to buy sodas, trips to the movies etc.

This works well for our 4 kids (all boys though, ages 6, 11, 13, 15).

It depends on what your goals are.

My parents, apparently, wanted me to move out as soon as possible. I didn’t receive an allowance, which wasn’t too bad, but once I got a job as a teenager in high school, I was required to pay for room and board.

Their plan worked. After I moved, it took about six years before I’d talk to them again.

Oh yeah, and they claimed me as a dependent while I was in college, even though I didn’t receive a penny from them. Lack of sufficient financial aid was one of the reasons I had to drop out.

I’m not bitter.



If they claimed you as a dependant but you were not a dependant, then you should turn them in to the IRS for tax fraud. You need to claim yourself as a dependant for some amount of years–2 or 4 years I think–to get decent financial aid.

Plus, if you were not making much money and your parents wrongly claimed you as a dependant when you were independant, you most likely get all the money the govt collected from you in taxes back for that year.

I’m not professional tax guy, but you ought to find one who can walk you through all your options, Sean.