Parenting: Children’s Allowances

Paying kids allowances - chores
Painting the fence: good job for kids but this isn’t an allowance job.

Paying kids an allowance is always a hot topic among parents. To pay or not to pay? We pay allowances at our house and it actually resembles a little micro-economy! Being paid an allowance is a privilege and with that privilege comes responsibility. The ultimate goal in paying an allowance is teaching kids to be responsible for their own needs while building solid money management skills.

Giving your kids money as allowance must be tied to specific items that they pay for. The idea here is to transfer the responsibility of paying for their needs from the parents to the kids. There is a  power shift when kids are responsible for paying for their own needs;  they become the decision makers.

Where to begin the process of paying your kids an allowance

  • Start when your kids are little and have a “family bank” where you record their “deposits” in a check register.  This is when you start the conversations of saving vs. spending and wants vs. needs.  Keep having this conversation, over and over.
  • Have a list of jobs that spells out which chores are allowance based, meaning the kids are being paid to do them.  Have a separate list of jobs that are not paid “allowance” chores but simply jobs that come with living in a family and/or community.
  • Have an annual allowance meeting (our annual meeting is in June)  so you can discuss raises, additional responsibilities (chores), and what else the kids get to pay for.  As their allowance amount increases, so do their responsibilities.

Paying kids allowances - painting

So, what do my kids pay for? Pretty much everything, except shoes. And the best part? They never ask for money although there are occasional meetings called to make a plea for a raise! I hadn’t thought of this being a benefit to paying allowances but it definitely is.

Bottom line: It is much better for kids to learn money managing skills when they are still living at home, under your loving guidance. Deciphering between wants and needs in life are skills that we need to be teaching our kids.

Do you pay an allowance?  How often?  Does your system work?

Go Gingham related links:

Ottoman slipcover hides shoes, socks and whatever else my kids stuff under there!
Social Networking and Parents Behaving Badly
Piano Lessons – they’re an indulgence at our house – time and money
Time tested family rules – who knew these would work?
Take the night off and let your kids cook dinner every week
Our weekly ritual – Technology Free Sundays
A beach weekend away – beautiful weather – in November?!

5 thoughts on “Parenting: Children’s Allowances

  1. We don’t currently give an allowance to our 8-year old daughter. We are still figuring out the logistics of that in our household and I’d like to start a program soon.

    At her school, they have “town dollars” and she manages those herself. The kids earn dollars by being helpful around school, and selling their products at “town” (every other Friday). They spend dollars to purchase other students’ town products, and lose dollars when homework is late or they break a school rule. One rule she abides by is “mom doesn’t want a bunch of junk in the house.” Frequently she will tell me about something she wanted to buy, but knew I wouldn’t want it in the house. I make sure to praise her when she buys something I find particularly useful or frugal, or when she buys something for someone else. Overall I’m pleased with her restraint and frugality.


  2. Liana, 8 is a great age for kids to receive an allowance and start make their own purchasing decisions. Give her a spot to stash her purchases that you don’t like – that way you don’t have to look at them! My kids each have a “cupboard” in the dining room where they stash things but a drawer would do, too. Think “junk drawer” for kids! Thanks for the comment. I think you’re in the lead for most comments in the lunch sack drawing!!


  3. When my daughter’s allowance started, it included $3 to be used as follows: one to give ($1 went into a charity envelope to be spent on donations to church or projects of her choice like the Food Bank) and 2 to save ($2 into an envelope to go into her bank account). The proportion has continued and it has been a great practice of giving and saving, and seeing how quickly it can add up.


  4. I too have tied my kids chores to allowance. My kids get 50 cents for doing their work. If they don’t complete their chores then I hold back some of hit.I wanted to find a way to teach them about money that they could understand. I found out about It’s an on-line allowance tool that lets you manage chores and allowance. I find that the way we do it works well for us. They are better with their chores and are learning to save their money. Thanks Threejars !


Comments are closed.