Children and Allowances

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To learn to ride a bike, you need a bike. And to learn to manage money, you need … a little money. By practicing with their own money, children get to try out concepts – saving for a rainy day, prioritizing goals, and delayed gratification – that might otherwise seem abstract or irrelevant.


Allowances give kids room to make mistakes in a low-risk environment – sort of like learning to drive in an empty parking lot. If your 8-year-old can’t go to the movies with a friend’s family because he burned through all his allowance buying action figures, he may be more likely to plan ahead when he gets next week’s allowance.

First, let’s address the age at which children should begin receiving an allowance. As mentioned before, it is good to get children managing their own money as early as possible. If children have not already begun receiving an allowance by 6 years old, this is a good age to begin.

It is at this time, around first grade, that children begin learning about money in school, and they are excited to apply what they learn.

For instance, a 6 year old who receives a dollar a week can realize that that dollar is equal to 100 pennies, or 10 dimes, or 4 quarters, or 20 nickels; and he will be proud to share this information with his parents.

Most children are going to get the money out of their parents anyway, adds Bodnar, so it is better to teach them to manage their own money than to allow them to nickel and dime you for every little thing they want.


Our house was pretty cluttered. Children’s toys and clothes lay in piles that seemed to grow taller every day. And I was getting discouraged. The problem became even worse when I began working part-time. Now I had half the time to clean up a full-time mess. One day my friend Lisa and I were discussing my dilemma.

She explained how her family had solved a similar problem. Every week Gloria would pay each of her children an allowance. But instead of simply handing the money over, she provided a way for the children to work for it.

She made a chart listing various chores, the consequences the children would face for chores left undone, and the amount of money that would be deducted from the week’s allowance. At the end of the week, each child would receive the allowance minus any deductions. The idea sounded intriguing, so I decided to try it.



The next Monday I found three tins—one for each of my children—and plunked two dollars in change into each one. Then I made an allowance chart listing such things as “bedroom straightened,” “toys put away,” and “bed made.” If they didn’t put their toys away, I explained to the children, I would deduct five cents for each toy left out. sm_metal_cans_lg The next day I came home to a sparkling clean house. The day after, a few items lay scattered on the floor and on the kitchen table, so a little bit of money was taken out of the appropriate tins. “You took ten cents!” my oldest daughter exclaimed after counting the money left in her tin.

“What did I forget to do? “Your socks and pajamas were left lying around,” I explained. The next day her room was spotless. We’ve continued the project for some time now.

The children are learning responsibility and are helping me keep the house clean. I’m thrilled when one or more of my daughters receive the whole allowance at the end of the week. And best of all, our home is a more cheerful place to be.

4-5 years old boy cleaning carper - housework

The goal of giving your child an allowance is not so they can afford that fancy cell phone at the age of ten-years-old. The goal is to teach them money managing skills and discipline in spending their money.

But how can you give your child hard cash, without enabling them to carelessly spend it? The truth is that if you don’t give your kids an allowance until they’re a young adult, they won’t be prepared to deal with it. It’s much better to introduce them to money at a young age – just as you’d want to introduce them to a second language.

After all, isn’t money a language in a sense? You’ll need to make it clear what expenses your child will be responsible for covering with his new allowance. Obviously, costly purchases such as your child’s wardrobe and school supplies should continue to be paid by you.

However, it’s not unreasonable to expect your child to pay for ice cream, Nintendo DS games, and other smaller purchases with his allowance. Also, if your child has scout dues to pay or drama club dues, he should probably cover that with his allowance.

The cost of uniforms, piano lessons, and anything relating to your child’s education (such as field

trip fees) should be covered by you.

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Many factors go into fixing an allowance. The four main ones are listed below…..

  • Your child’s age. Obviously, the older your child, the bigger the allowance (up to a certain point, at which your child may become too old for an allowance).
  • Your family income. Only you know how much your family can afford to allocate to allowances.
  • Where you live. Maybe keeping up with the Jonese’s isn’t high on your list of priorities and you frequently tell your child, “I don’t care that Jimmy Jones has this or does that.” But, realistically, the neighborhood you live in can certainly influence how much allowance you give your child. What your child’s best friend receives may not be a deciding factor, but it’s a factor nonetheless.
  • What the allowance is supposed to cover. If you expect your teenager to buy all his own clothing from his allowance, then the dollars paid to him each week must be sufficient to allow for this extensive purchase. If you supplement an allowance with spending money, then a less generous allowance may be in order.


DLTK. com has one of the neatest online generators for kid chore charts I’ve found. Simply fill-in the information and a chart is generated. You can choose from a large array of fun top graphics.


Be sure to check out this article on some fun and unique ideas for chore and potty-training charts.

      • So what should chores for kids look like
      • A toddler can learn to help put their toys away.
      • The kids take their own plates and cutlery to kitchen.
      • At around 2 to 3 your kids can help to feed their pet
      • They can put laundry in a laundry basket.
      • Our kids loved to help wash up (safe items only)
      • Again they can put toys away.
      • Kids can wash face in the morning
      • They can get dressed usually by this time.
      • At around 4 to 5 your child could
      • Put laundry in laundry basket – get one for each child
      • Feed pet
      • Make their bed in the morning
      • Help wash up
      • Empty wastebaskets into bin with help
      • Dust with a duster (I usually give kids just a dampened duster and not polish)
      • By this age kids can help in the garden watering the plants and possibly weeding with supervision.
      • Kids may like to start their own herb gardens or  themed gardens with your help.

Hispanic girl putting allowance into jar

Do all of the above and then…..

Set the table
Clear the table
Tidy their bedroom and dust it.
Help to clean out pets in cages or brush dogs
Clean their own teeth
Help to cook dinner
Help to sort the scraps for composting
Make their own sandwich if bread is pre-sliced
Help you to wash out the bath.
Help you check through cupboards and make a shopping
Make cakes and biscuits with your help

Clothing & Accessories

At around 9 and above your child could…..

Do all the above and then

Put away groceries.

Run short errands

Vacuum but you will have to show them how and teach then how to vacuum safely.

Make cakes with help

Fold their own laundry and put away

Empty and clean lunchbox



Then as your child becomes older and more responsible you can add chores as you see fit.

The kids can do above chores for kids and then Strip and remake beds Load and unload dishwasher
Sew on buttons

Walk dog

Prepare an easy meal

Make sandwiches

They could do laundry

Wash the car

Clean windows

Care for younger siblings

Make cakes

Make own lunches and clear away

Wash up

Clean the bathroom

vacuum and dust as necessary

Top 5 tips for giving Allowance  (Thanks Everything MOM)


  • Determine Allowance Amount…. Vaz-Oxlade says you have to give kids enough money so they can actually work with it, incorporating the lessons you want to teach. “I suggest one dollar per year of age, so a 7-year-old would get $7 a week. 10% or 70¢ goes to sharing. 5% goes to saving… that’s a buck .05, leaving 5.95 for whatever the child is trying to accomplish. Let’s say $2 a week for mad money and the rest towards a planned purchase (planned spending).”
  • Be Consistant…..Walkington says the money has to be given on a consistent basis. Parents need to have a regular schedule for the allowance and stick to it. It could be once a week, every two weeks on payday or once a month, whatever works for you as long as it consistent.
  • If the allowance is not consistent it teaches children that they can’t count on you or on their allowance to plan and save (our money beliefs are learned at a very early age and can set the stage for our financial future).
  • Save, Spend, Give…..Walkington says when it comes to dividing the money into save, spend and give categories try to use piggy banks, jars, separate wallets, or bank accounts to physically allocate the money to each category. It will help children to see where the money is going and how much they have.
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  • Follow the Spending Rules….. Make sure you make your child pays for the things you agreed on and not beg you to buy them a Slurpee or toy with your money if they are supposed to pay for these types of things out of their allowance. Walkington says some kids hate to spend their own money, they would rather save their money and spend yours. So be strict and stick to the rules.
  • Involve the Kids…..Talk about the money and keep the kids involved. Vaz-Oxlade says it becomes more important as children gets older. “When my daughter was about 10 she decided she wanted her money once a month. It was easier to plan. When she was 12 I upped her allowance to include money for clothing and later she negotiated a raise.”
  • Looking for a way to make learning money fun?  A family board game might be the perfect solution. MOney games for kids will help them learn about money management while having a great time.
  • Here are some ideas of games for kids about money.  (From

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Looking for a way to make learning money fun?  A family board game might be the perfect solution. MOney games for kids will help them learn about money management while having a great time.

Here are some ideas of games for kids about money.  (From

1. Monopoly

Buy and sell properties, build houses and collect rent. Monopoly is a great money game for kids learning how to count money and make decisions. Play the classic Monopoly with paper money or the new Monopoly with Electronic Banking.

2. Game of Life

Make decisions about your career and other life moves in the Game of Life. The decisions you make affect the income you receive and how you spend your money.

3. Payday

In Payday kids learn to have a job, lend money, pay bills and interest, and deal with unexpected expenses.

4. Moneywise Kids

Two different games are included in Moneywise Kids, one for making change and the other for budgeting money. Players must account for food, clothing, and housing in the play option focused on money management.

5. Money Bags

Kids learn how to count change by earning money for various activities in Money Bags. In addition, kids are limited to using certain coins, forcing them to keep finding new ways to count the coins.

6. Easy Money

The original Easy Money game is actually over 70 years old! You roll the dice and move around the board to earn as much money as possible while counting large amounts of money.


7. Exact Change

Kids use their coins to put together the “exact change” to win the pot of money. It’s a great learning tool for kids learning to count coins and make change.

8. Careers

Kids will decide how to reach success in the Careers board game. As in real life, you must try to figure out what is the best way for you to reach your final goal.

It is a great way for kids to learn the value of not only money, but where other aspects fit in to achieve what you want.  

Allowance Amounts

A difficult question to answer is how much allowance you should pay your children. Though the precise amount depends on your family’s financial situation, the cost of living, and your children’s needs, I can offer a few suggestions.

Children can start to earn a weekly allowance as early as 5 years of age. An increase of $1 per week for each year of your children’s lives is realistic until they reach their mid-teens. At this point, when they begin to drive and date, you can calculate their expenses and establish a reasonable allowance that covers their needs.

I found a place that can help you calculate a child’s allowanceTurn The Page. A final point. The most important financial lesson that children need to learn is that, as the saying goes, money does not grow on trees (at least for most of us). If your children spend their allowances before the next “payday,” do not give or loan them more to tide them over.

An essential part of fiscal responsibility is learning to live within one’s budget. Staying tough in these situations will ensure that your children learn the hard lessons of living within one’s means.

Kids have so little independence these days. An allowance is a wonderful way to give them complete control over something and enable them to make their own decisions. I try very hard not to interfere with my kids’ decisions on what to do with their allowance.

As long as they’re not buying something dangerous or inappropriate for a child, they can do whatever they want with their allowance. They love this independence and they absolutely do not abuse it – on the contrary, they are very responsible with their money and they spend it carefully and wisely.


Then the kids are grown up, have to go out and work and they don’t like it. What is important for kids to learn is that no matter how much money they have, earn, win, or inherit, they need to know how to spend it, how to save  it, and how to give it to others in need.

  This is what handling money is about, and this is why we give kids an allowance. Whatever you do, your child will learn valuable lessons from getting an allowance.

The hardest part may have been remembering if I had already paid it or not! I found this wonderful idea about paying your kids allowance…..

This Printable Chore Chart from can help you pay your tween allowances!

Everyone has different methods and goals for how they accomplish this; but I’m sure we all agree it’s important.


Talk Soon,





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Hello, We are very excited to be here. We hope you will like our website and come back often. We have 10 children between us and 25 grandchildren. We love anything family related. Dennis is a network dispatcher and Barbara works in the food industry and just finished a course in Medical Coding. Thank you for visiting.

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