Allowance for Children

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by emotionallybankrupt, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    I'm curious about how you handle allowances for younger children. Really three questions... Do you/have you given your elementary age child a weekly allowance? How much do you think is appropriate? Is it contingent on behavior? I'm asking with easy child in mind....
  2. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    With my difficult child when he was younger, I started at age 8 and gave until age 12 at the amount of their age (8 years old = $8 etc). I didn't associate it to behaviour (his moods were so nutty he'd NEVER have learned the important lessons of money handling or earning money). I kept it related to doing chores, a very particular list that was small to start and increased a bit each year with a dollar raise at his birthday. If he didn't do his chores, he lost out. Period. He hated losing chore money.

    With easy child, I have never done allowance. She has her chores and our house now has the rule that we all live here, we all clean. The reward being, a clean home. However, she is allowed to ask me if she can do something additional for money. If its a chore I am willing to give her money for, I say yes. She must do the chore and then I give her x amount of money, but never a preset amount. I have been known to say "heres $5, you worked particularly hard to do a thorough cleaning job, Way To Go". I'm also known to say 'Here's a dollar. I thank you for wanting to earn money without expecting it for nothing. You did the chore and get a dollar. Next time you do this chore, if you are as thorough as you were with (insert other chore here) you might get a bunch more than a dollar".

    Aside from them being able to offer to do a chore to earn some cash, the philosophy i use for spending money or entertainment money is more of the lines of if they ask, tell me why they want it and they've been really good lately or done something I am uber proud of (great report card or not bickering over homework), they will likely get some money for that activity they need it for. However if they've been awful for some reason and I can't see myself feeling i'm rewarding them, I tell him sorry not this time. I'm really disappointed you'd ask for money for a movie (or whatever) and treats when you've been acting out so much lately. I bet by next weekend though this can all turn around and you can see a movie then.

    Its all so different for most families. What feels right for you? I'm a believer in not giving kids money if I'm going to feel resentful, and I also believe in trying to find ways that the kids can ensure they can get it (thus my choice to associate it to things other than poor behaviour, for the most part). The poor behaviour part where I say no if the want movie money or something and haven't been doing well, that makes sense for me, not for everyone. They always have the option regardless of their other behaviours, to earn some money by doing a chore and I set the pay right. Sometimes even a bratty behaviour can get a no from me for movie money but a bunch of well done optional chores that they do can earn them the money they wanted.
  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    We have been giving Little easy child a weekly allowance since he was about 5 years old. We give him a dollar amount equivalent to his age, weekly, with the stipulation that 1/2 is his to use and the other 1/2 must go into long-term savings.
    So, right now, he gets $8 per week, $4 of which must go into savings.

    He is also allowed to earn additional money by doing chores around the house. These chores go above and beyond the things we expect him to do as a matter of course as a member of the family.
    So...helping with dinner, cleaning his room, setting the table, tidying the bathroom after he uses it, etc. is just part of "being a helpful boy".

    Chores for which he can earn money include: sorting and folding laundry, scrubbing the bathroom, sweeping and mopping floors, washing windows -- things that an 8-year-old would not normally be responsible for.
    Rates for chores are agreed to in advance and written on a chart. All chores are subject to inspection before money is handed over.

    This has really worked well for us, and Little easy child has been learning how to manage money, plan spending, save for larger purchases, etc. Right now he's saving for a large (and expensive) Lego kit, so he's asked me not to take him to any toy stores for the rest of the summer, until he has enough.
  4. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Trinity, do you have my easy child's clone in your home? She does the SAME THING ... planning her next purchase, saving madly for it. She's also always saving for a very expensive lego kit that she has to order since they aren't sold in stores around here (can only get the common and small kits in stores here). I had a giggle reading that, I coudl have wrote it all lol
  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    They've gotten a dollar per year of age per week (so $8 per week when they were 8), since elementary school. They've had savings accounts since then and at this point, they're more financially secure than husband and me, LOL. They very rarely withdraw money, and always put their allowances in the bank.

    We don't tie allowance into chores because we don't have set chores really. Diva usually empties the dishwasher, they split feeding the various animals, Wee usually does the garbage and cat litter (sexist, I know, but... I can only take so much of Diva's drama and Wee feels the same way). What is more important is that they do what we ask, when we ask, *without* attitude (Diva's downfall). If they have a problem with- doing the chores, they lose other privileges. It's more concrete to them that way, since it's an immediate consequence.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Allowance doesn't work well at all for us.

    Onyxx can't save a dime to save her life - she is saving up for a new MP3 player but blew the money she had earned working construction on a CD. But... Her CD players both are dead. Huh?

    Jett's allowance kept mysteriously disappearing, so we locked it up in my vanity, and Onyxx stole it. Plus, I have now instituted the - do your chores without being told, the list is on the fridge - and... I'm floored. Onyxx does not need reminding. JETT, however... Won't be getting his allowance this week. Even in my head.

    Which is where I keep his running total, because he has lost well over $100 due to theft...
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    When Miss KT was little, I set payments for chores, because I wanted to emphasize that you get paid for working (a lesson her father still hasn't learned). Taking the newspapers out to the bin was 25 cents, taking the garbage out was 25 cents, and things like that, making sure she could earn enough to get stuff at snack bar at school on Fridays. Bigger jobs had bigger payouts.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I do not do allowances. We have done them in the past. When difficult child got one there was ALWAYS a tantrum because we would not take him to a store so he could spend it as soon as he got it. If he spent his allowance and then saw something he liked he would rage. He also would be out and want to buy something and not have the $$. Since we shop a LOT in thrift stores and used bookstores and used music/video stores, there was every chance it would be gone by the time we went back. We did this a few times and he would flat out refuse to pay us back. If I bought the item and held it until he paid for it (we called it Momaway instead of layaway) he would not only refuse to pay for it but he would finagle a way to steal it from us.

    He would steal Jessie's and thank you;s money or force them to buy some broken toy or ripped up book for more than the original price. If they didn't do it he hit them AND destroyed two or three of their favorite toys or books.

    We even tried keeping a running tally on paper and only giving them the $$ when they were going to make a pre-planned purchase that we had approved of. Wiz then conned my parents into buying some expensive toys by altering the tally and showing it to them with a promise in writing to pay them back. (To ice that cake several of the times it happened Wiz was helped to buy an item we had already forbidden.)

    Now we give them $$ if they are going somewhere. They have chores to do as part of the family and they can do certain chores for pay. Tyler has asked us to hold his cash until he is going somewhere because he is constantly losing it in his room. We know it isn't stolen by Jess because I can usually find it in his room. Last time we cleaned his room we found over $50 that he "put away" in several places so he wouldn't forget them, LOL!

    If the younger two do not have cash with them and want to buy something they NEVER ask if we would loan them the $$ until they got home. If we offer they sometimes take us up on it, but not always. They also pay us back without reminders before they use the item (unless it is something like an ice cream while we are out). They both play roles in developing and sticking to the family budget and are both fairly savvy with money.

    My father does give them about $20 a month for allowance but we have no clue why. He has done it almost since birth for them. Says he wants to and he is the Grandfather and if I object too much he will give them double. (They have heard this and never bugged me about objecting other than in jest in front of him. Wiz would have hounded me every single day until I gave in and gpa gave him the raise.)
  9. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Thanks for all the ideas. I'll probably switch around as I go along and figure out what works for us. Honestly, I can't afford $1 per year of age per week. Not if it's going just for fun and frills. Now if part had to be budgeted for some of the necessities, that's a different story, and I think I will do that when she gets older. Actually, that's one small angle that seemed to work somewhat for difficult child. She learned something about the value of money when I told her I was going to give her x number of dollars a month unconditionally (and she agreed that the amount was reasonable), for her to budget herself for clothes, cosmetics, etc., and then more on top of that for recreation (with behavioral strings attached). easy child is not ready for this much responsibility though.

    I'm going to start a daily allowance that she can clink into her piggy bank each night, so that she gets the immediate gratification. It's going to hinge on some responsibilities that we are working on but not "chores," since I consider that just what people have to do if there going to live in the family and take up space, make messes, etc. I'm also going to set a weekly "bonus" she can get for being consistent through the whole week. I'm starting low so that I have room to give a "raise" in a month or two if all is going well. I'm even considering using odd amounts to make her practice in counting money, trading dimes for dollars, etc.--and making change. She's not too motivated to practice these things, but it might help if it were her own money.

    I'm not going to force the savings, at least at first. I think it's an important lesson that if you spend everything you get as you get it, you never are able to save for something bigger. As the amounts go up, though, I may need to "help" her with that if she's not already figured it out.

    Interestingly, I have asked before about cutting off the cable TV and giving her the money instead. My perspective is that part of her allowance does come in the form of "things" I provide that aren't necessities. She's always chosen to keep the cable TV, by the way.

    Thanks for all the ideas. I'm sure I'll be using some of them. Usually my first try at most things has to be changed sooner or later.
  10. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Over the summer I do set up a more specific chore chart for difficult child and easy child ... Of course difficult child does nothing on his list and if he makes his bed it still looks unmade LOL ... easy child does all her chores and more ... She is given an allowance of $5 per week. Her chores include .. making her bed, watering the flowers, picking up her room, helping carry in groceries, etc. difficult child is just plain lazy so no allowance for him.
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We tried giving Onyxx a set amount for clothing, cosmetics, etc. ...She bought rather inappropriate clothes and never had enough. So I would tell her, "you have x amount" and go shopping with her, and she would find a way to finagle more out of husband later because she "needed" underwear - he would give her money - think I mentioned some of the stuff we tossed. Sickening. So - she doesn't get money for clothes any more, in fact the money she is earning working with husband hasn't been paid to her...
  12. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    I've made a "chore chart" for easy child this summer too. Another thing--sorta related--that I have done is to make her two index cards, one a "morning routine" list and one a "night routine" list. The cards are different colors, so easy for her to grab the right one. This has made such an incredible difference in my sanity morning and night. She was not retaining all the "steps" and was always forgetting something. "Have you brushed your hair?" "your teeth"? "Hey, go get your glasses!" I felt like a drill sergeant in the mornings. Now she checks the card to be sure she didn't forget something, and I think we are both happier. I know she couldn't have enjoyed mornings and evenings of my nagging and reminding.

    Back to the chores, though, I've included for summer for her to read 30 minutes a day, work with me on math 30 minutes a day, and write in her journal 30 minutes a day. I even bought her a special pen and pencil set to encourage that part. If we have activities going on during the day that make that hour and a half unreasonable to ask, I've been cutting the time to 20 or 10, depending on the situation. My view is that MY job that I get paid for is being a teacher. HERS is being a student. She really needs the extra practice this summer, and I don't think an hour and a half is too much to ask. So...that's what I'm going to give her the allowance for. Being a student, and keeping a smooth morning and night routine--on time, etc. Chores like cleaning up don't earn pay, unless it's something beyond "normal" expectations. Those I'll hinge to privileges like TV. Now, I will charge her for replacing things destroyed due to carelessness. We've had a particular problem lately with her leaving socks tossed around instead of in the clothes hamper, and the dogs absolutely LOVE to tear those up. She's known for a while that she has to pay for replacing socks!
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  13. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    We didn't do allowances but we got tired of the "I want's". So when the boys were 10 and daughter was 8, we figured out how much we spent on them in a month... school lunches, b-day gifts for friends, haircuts, field trips, snack, etc. Then we spent a couple of weeks explaining how budgets worked, then started giving the kids "their" money. The rules were, if you spend it all and a B-day party or field trip comes up and you don't have money, not our problem". We did it for six months to teach the kids the value of money and the principles behind budgeting.

    My kids went from "I want..." to "Can you believe how much they want for that?" There were some tough times like when difficult child didn't have enough money for a friends B-day... but he did get creative and made a really nice home-made gift.

    Of course with the difficult child's, the lesson didn't last. They still can't keep money in their pockets. But easy child learned how to budget and plan ahead. In fact, he's had a credit card for two years now and has never carried over a balance. He always pays if off in full. He even helps his college friends. When they go to the Mall and his friends want something, he asks how much money they have, when they say they have a credit card, he reminds them that that is the banks money, not theirs.

    Also, when the kids reached the 7th grade, they were given the money for school clothes and taken to the Mall. It was up to them how they spent their money, but they had to live with their choices. For easy child and difficult child-S, they would go cheap on clothes so they could by $100+ shoes. difficult child-A would buy whatever he could get from Holister/Abacrombie and that was it. Of course, he'd complain all year long about how unfair we were, but oh well, not our problem.
  14. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    We've been doing $1/yr of age for a while -- but it's not weekly, it's monthly. So my 15yo gets $15 a month, 13yo gets $13, 11yo gets $11. I could not afford to pay them that amount weekly! They can do "extra" chores to earn more money. But these are things above and beyond the regular duties they are expected to do as part of their being a member of the family. When their money is gone, it's gone. They're learning to save for big ticket items they really want. And I don't get asked to buy them stuff at the store like they did when they were really little :)
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ...I wish I didn't get asked to buy stuff!!!!

    Both kids would spend their entire allowance, gift cards, etc. and then pester me and husband for more "stuff". Yu-Gi-Oh cards, makeup, whatever. So if I can't go alone now, and they go with, I tell them what we are going for and that we do not have any money for anything not on the list before we leave AND in the budget. Of course, they always see something they want... But I'm good. I make a big show of checking the list. LOL!

    Last night Onyxx took some of her old stuff to a local teen consignment place, ended up getting $5 for 2 items - the rest were too ripped and cut, surprise surprise!!! She had $20 earned from helping husband. I found some lightweight sweats and 2 tanks for me, and she found a dress and 3 shirts and - GASP - a pair of shorts I approved of - and both of us together spent $30. She was upset when we left - I found out why. She wanted to know why I didn't tell her they wouldn't take ripped stuff. I laughed and told her, "I did... That may have been one of the times you didn't listen." She agreed (!). Then she wanted to know what she spent - we figured it out - she actually spent $24.10 - so I gave her a $1 bill and told her we'd call it even.

    She's still amazed at how much things cost... Wow.
  16. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I can't get Matt to come with me anywhere to shop. Not for clothes, groceries, nothing.

    With easy child, its just part of our world. She is often with me while I run errands, pay bills, buy food, buy treats, clothes, needs, wants, etc. I have never had a particular budgeting talk. I've sort of evolved to teaching her by her seeing what I do. She sees me look at flyers and compare prices, look for bargains. I'll explain why its a bargain. I'll explain when something is not a bargain and why we are walking away without buying it. I dont' share my incoming finances with her, but I do share my outgoing finances when it crops up. So if I"m off to the bank to pay bills, I try to use cash instead of a debit card. So she can physically see how much it costs. If I pay the gas, electric, phone, internet, sattelite all at once? She sees a HUGE stack of bills dwindle to nothing. Its a terrific dramatic affect at her age to see that kind of cash in a stack, the gone. And I am always sure to let her know thats only for one month of those services, the bills come again in 4 weeks.

    She is very cognizant of money, and she has gotten great at pointing out good deals in the stores and often wants something and then says things like "No way we're paying that".

    Aside from allowance, a way I teach her about money is at grocery stores. I will give her a set amount of money for school lunch snacks and tell her she needs snacks for the week, or two weeks or whatever. We do my shopping and she can notice things she'd like and price check them while we shop. When we are done my shopping, we backtrack and she decides how to spend the money. I always keep it a bit less to spend than what I think it will cost for what she'd like. That way she usually always has a few occassions to weigh the pros and cons of one snack over another based on price, how many servings, etc. If we don't need lunch snacks, I sometimes just give her a small amount for her at home treats for after dinner (we never have a dessert, but I try to let them have a snack to nibble on later in the evening). Same process as the lunch snacks. She's quite a budgeter my easy child. I laugh at how serious she has begun to take the entire process of commerce. You should see her calculate the savings on shipping costs for her lego sets when she saves for them! She knows over a certain amount spent gets cheaper shipping, she'll combine with coupons for x amount off of purchases over so much spent, and then calculate what full price would have been and what she woudl pay, then start saving for the goal. Gosh I hope she keeps it up as an adult.