Thursday, December 11, 2008


It's that time again.

Time to discuss whether our children should get allowances.

I honestly go back and forth. It helps when Shawn doesn't have a job. Well, a little.

I have a hard time paying them for breathing and eating a lot of our food. They do have chores that they do but I feel that is a requirement for being in our family. We all do things to make our household work well. But on the other hand, I want them to learn how to handle money so that they don't have to move back in with us when they're grown and broke.


There's also the question, how much and how often?

We've done this before and gave them one dollar a month for each year of life. 10% went to tithe and 10% went to savings. That didn't leave much. (It also meant that I had to have a lot of loose change laying around!) I also have a hard time letting them spend their money on anything they want. There are just some things that are a complete waste of money!

I know, I'm controlling.

So I'm asking all of you out there for advice.

So, what's your stance on allowances?


Kristie said...

Ok, we actually have a system that works pretty well for us ... I agree that paying kids to do chores is wrong, so our motto is "you do the chores because it's your contribution to the family, and you get your allowance no matter what, even the weeks the chores seem to slide because we're all so busy ..." (as a side note, we used to start each week with a fixed price and deduct for chores not done, but it got very complicated and depressing, so this other way just seems easier and more positive ....)

We have three chores lists that rotate weekly. One is "Kitchen Duty", meaning that child sets the table for dinner, helps clear the table (everyone is responsible for clearing their own plate) and emptying the dishwashwer each day. Two is "House duty" and that child has a fairly quick chore each day -- taking out trash, vacuuming one room, cleaning the bathroom mirrors, etc. Three is "Pet Duty" and that child feeds the dog twice a day, freshens water, and cleans up poop. (Probably everyone's least favorite part of the job, ha!)

In return, each kid get $10 per week, broken down as follows: $5 in their "spend" drawer, $3 in their "save" drawer, and $2 in their "share" drawer. And you're right, making sure I have enough one dollar bills on hand is a complete pain. I actually had to budget it into our expenses, as it's around $125 per mo.

The "spend" money they can spend on whatever they want. I agree, it's difficult to watch them blow it on crap, but after time, they're getting better. Currently, Kellen has $95 dollars in there because he's saving up for a gaming system and hasn't spent a dime in about half a year!! This money is to be used by them if they want to buy any toys, candy, sodas when we're out in public, vending machines, etc. Most of the time when we're out they don't have cash, no normally I buy it and they pay me back as soon as we get home. I still pay for all their clothes, food, and household necessities. In addition, any extra chores they do for extra money, they get to put that money in their "spend" drawer.

The "Save" money goes into the bank, to be used toward their car purchase when they are sixteen, with the understanding their dad and I will match whatever they have saved. As things stand now, I suspect they will each be driving something direct from the junk yard. :)

The "Share" money is when they are invited to a birthday party, I make them pay for part of each present. (usually I require about $5) I want them to learn what it means to spend part of your own money on someone else.

Tithe we give them each Sunday.

This system actually works very well for us. They're learning a bit about short-term savings ... ie, Brayden has a tendency to save about $15 then rush out to buy a new Webkinz ... Kellen is definitely the hoarder of the family ... etc. I also make sure to show them their bank account balances every now and then as incintive. If we've had a run of two weeks or so when chores aren't getting done and attitudes are bad, I've been known to "cancel" allowance that week, telling them they're not contributing to the family, so I don't have to contribute to their allowance. But chores are no longer DIRECTLY tied to payment.

My kids LOVE Sundays (allowance day) and have been known to sit and count their money, Scrooge-style, with glee. :)

Good luck to you -- it took us a long time to find a system that worked best for us, and I have no doubt as they get older and our lifestyle changes, this might change too!

Kristie said...

PS. Forgot to mention, I went out and bought those small rubbermaid bins with three-pull out drawers, so when I say "in the drawer", I literally mean in the drawer! Each drawer is labeled, and the bins are kept in my room where we pass out allowance.

Stephanie D. said...

OK - I've been reading for a while but haven't posted before. (Oh and I also read Kristie's blog too). LOL!

I don't do allowances... it's just too much heartache and hassle for ME. I simply hand out money when my two boys need it, BUT I do not always give them $$ when they ask for it. I explain I don't have any extra, etc. Also, I feel that they are learning some good lessons because when they get money from Grandma/Grampa they often offer to buy me things or buy pizza for the whole family, etc. Also, my oldest child is now in college and is quite good about saving money and not spending (too) frivalously. Good luck with your rug rats. :)

Anonymous said...

We do not do allowances. I don't get paid for the things I do around the house. Neither do my kids. It's all part of living in and being a participating member of the family. We all do our share and getting paid is not an option. Their rewards are getting to have friends over, 30 minutes of technology time, movie night, and pool time during the summer. Not to mention a roof over their heads and 3 lovely meals and snacks per day, and clothing on their backs! My kids do have opportunities to do extra things for pay once in a while like clean the office, mow grandparent's lawn, clean up construction sites, and so on. I do not control how they use their money. But when they are teenagers, they are required to open a savings account. Quinn had one when he lived here in Junior High. When he moved back in, he emptied it and put the money in his checking account. Now that he's 18, he's old enough to take care of his money and if he doesn't, he reaps the consequences of it. He's been taught how to budget, balance his checkbook and save. Whether he does that is now on him! :) Roger, Jr. will be opening a savings account next year because he will be 13. I will begin teaching him life skills in homeschool on how to manage his money and budget. So that's basically what we do around here. I do encourage saving their money and not spending it on stuff, but it is their money they earned. Rebecca is a big time saver, Susanne is a spender, Roger, Jr. is a saver. It will be interesting to see how they are as adults! :)

Unknown said...

My husband and I started taking Financial Peace with Dave Ramsey as a bible study at our church a couple of months ago. We have learned a lot, and part of what he suggests doing for kids is what he calls "commissions", instead of allowance. Basically, the kids do regular household chores, "just b/c they are part of the family", like cleaning up your supper dishes and pick up after themselves for no commission. Others things, like folding and putting away their own clothes, making their bed, cleaning out the litter box, etc. you get a commission for. You don't work, you don't get paid. If I didn't work for 6 weeks, I wouldn't get paid. Same principle. It is a set amount. Then the child keeps an envelope system. One for saving, one for giving, and one for spending. My 8-year-old gets $5 a week if she does all five chores. She has to put at least $2 in savings and the rest she can decide which envelope it goes in. On Sunday morning instead of us handing over Jesus money she goes and gets her money that she has earned. It has worked out pretty well for us. Some weeks she hasn't earned anything and others she earned all of it. She is going to open a savings acct. soon w/ the money she has saved.

Kelly said...

We don't do allowances either. My kids really never asked for one and we never seem to have any to spare. My 15 year old is pretty good with his money, My parents usually "pay" the kids to help out around their you do it because your suposed to.