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Blogging for Change Blogging For Change
by sitecore\kmcgrigg on August 24, 2009

Children between the ages of five and six are good candidates for an allowance. Because the experts I spoke with believe that the primary value of an allowance is to teach children how to manage money, many do not believe that you should withhold allowance as a consequence for undesirable behavior (in fact, I am not even going to site a source for this because there are just so many of them!) Some experts even go so far as to use bold, underlining, and ALL CAPS to drive the fact home that allowance should not be tied to behavior or the completion of chores.

The argument is that children can only learn how to live within their means if they can count on a set amount of money at a set time. They believe that parents should use chores as an expectation of being a member of the family and that you should consider withholding privileges such as television, using the phone, etc., as a consequence for not completing chores. I am not an expert in child development, but I would like to humbly offer a counter-point to this argument.

Speaking as a mother of kids who like money more than they like television or the phone, I am switching gears, ignoring expert advice, and tying allowance to daily behavior. Apparently, I am risking that my kids will grow up not knowing how to manage money, but I think there might be a few benefits as well.

-It reflects real life in that you need to meet certain standards to earn money.
-It teaches them how to live with varying amounts of disposable income.
-It is a good illustration of how money can add up over time.
-It helps with organization (see below).

Plus, I think the majority of what kids learn about money is not from spending a few dollars a week on toys, but from what they see parents do.

So what is this going to look like? I am repurposing a pill reminder.
I’m filling each compartment with 50 cents. At the end of each “good” day, the kids will get their money (don’t worry, most of our days are great!) So, have any predication on how you think this plan will work?


Posted in:  Kids & Money


Cameron says:
August 26, 2009

We give our 7 kids ages 4-15 $5 a week. I keep track of the things that they don't do. ie, left shoe by the front door, backpack in the middle of the hall way, didn't make bed, etc. and then on allowance day the "police" writes them a ticket and they get to pay the fine. We have done this for about a year now, and the list has gone from 2 pages a day (for the first 2 weeks) to a half a page for a week. Sometimes the "police" lets them off with a 'warning', but if I think they are getting lax in their personal responsibility, it takes just once to get them back on track. I find that I do less nagging and they do more self care. We also do 'bonus cash' for jobs that need to be done and I don't have the time (or desire) to do them we call this the 'BUG LIST' because it's thinigs that 'bug' my husband or me. The kids get to choose and we pay according to ability, time, and effort. We also give raises according to how well they are responsibile. We have found that this motivates them to be more aware of what needs to be done personally and in the household. This may not be how the 'experts' rear children, but my kids are learning the value of a dollar, what it takes to earn and KEEP one and how to make more if the desire is there. It works for us!

Anonymous says:
April 14, 2011

You copied this from Money Bunny!

Courtney says:
September 02, 2009

Cameron - I LOVE IT, and wish I could do this for my husband. How do you all feel about paying your kids for good grades? I heard this on the radio the other day and had mixed feelings - Maybe it's pent up anger that I was never one of those kids that got paid for their grades, but I think school, like work, is one of those things that you are supposed to do without additional incentive. Just my take...Curious to hear what others may think about this topic.

Tanisha says:
August 24, 2009

I think it will work great! I'm not an expert either...unless being a mom qualifies. My son may not be motivated to make his bed for .50, but for $5.00 a week, he'll get excited about doing a lot of chores around the house. I agree that some household responsibilities should be seen as a required family contribution, so I recommend choosing chores that wouldn’t normally be part of their regular responsibility. Consider choosing chores that require them to pick up after others. Keeping their rooms clean and picking up after themselves could be the non-paying chores.

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