When To Cut Kids Off From Allowance

Allowance is an excellent tool to teach kids about money while cutting your own expenses. The idea is you’ll make them save up for their own stuff, which will keep you from spending as much money on them. The problem is sometimes allowance ends up being a crutch that continues well into adulthood and only teaches grown “kids” to rely on their parents for income.

The decision of when to close the Bank of Mommy and Daddy is an intensely personal one, but Kidworth offers a guide for stopping payments to your young.

The post says answering these questions will help you decide when to cut the kids off:

* Is your kid old enough to work? If your child is old enough to get a job, you may be only teaching him about welfare by keeping the money flowing.

* How much money is your kid making? Providing matching funds to save for altruistic goals can be a strong motivator for your kid to earn more.

* How do you want your kid to spend his time? If you’d rather he study or practice a sport or a instrument rather than flipping burgers, a longer-term allowance may be in order.

When Should You Stop Paying an Allowance? [Kidworth]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cat says:

    No allowance. They’ll only spend it on drugs and hookers.

    Wait, sorry, that was me. :: Damned Flashbacks! ::

  2. Marlin says:

    Only way my kid gets money is if they earn it. Not including their college fund but they have to get into college to get that money. No college; then me and the Mrs get another corvette. :)

  3. Darury says:

    What kind of comment is “If your child is old enough to get a job, you may be only teaching him about welfare by keeping the money flowing”

    It’s a well-established fact on Consumerist that the only people who use welfare are the truly needy and the only abuse exists in the mind of evil conservatives who want people to starve.

    • Marlin says:

      Seeing that most on welfare are children the “all of THEM drive up in mercedes and caddys and buy steak and…” is more BS then more being needed.

      Sorry to burst your faux bubble.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Yes, most are children, although I’m sure that has nothing to do with welfare removing any negative consequence of having children you can’t afford, afterall with welfare we’ll just force others to support your kids so fell free to pop out as many as you please.

        • ARP says:

          Welfare recipients are “punished” for having more kids while on welfare by receiving much lower payments for additional children compared to the number of kids they had when they went on welfare.

          But you knew that right? You couldn’t be repeating talking points that have been around since the 80’s when Reagan decided to demonize welfare recipients (especially inner city).

          • wackydan says:

            Because they all (100%)actually spend that money on the children right? Hint… some don’t.

            My state offers free birth control to those on public assistance… be it condoms, birth control pills, or even tubal ties… and yet *some still reproduce like rabbits.

      • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

        I’ve seen folks pay for everything from porterhouse steaks to crab legs with their Lone Star card on numerous occasions. About 1 in 7 people are on food stamps. Many folks need them. Many do not.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      No, but I find the opposite assumption (all welfare recipients are lazy bums) equally offensive.

    • Buckus says:

      It’s well established that the GOP believes only swindlers are getting welfare and that nobody actually needs it because of trickle-down!

      Look, are there people abusing welfare? Abso-posit-lutely! After all, it’s free money!
      Are there people who depend on welfare? Abso-posit-lutely! After all, not everybody is showered with million dollar salaries (FYI, recent report shows CEO pay is up 27% this year. Average worker pay: not up).

      • wackydan says:

        CEO pay up? Big Deal?

        CEO’s getting paid more means they are paying more in taxes… which go to those that subsist off of welfare. See how that works?

        **And yeah… those wealthy CEO’s have ways to dodge taxes, but they will still pay something to the fed, state, and local for that raise.

    • eldergias says:

      Link to proof?

    • eldergias says:
  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    When to cut allowance?

    When the kid begins to consider it an expectation.

  5. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    My family was always too poor to give me a regular allowance… :c

  6. sponica says:

    pfft….allowance, what is that? My allowances were so unsteady it was like a mini-recession….some weeks we’d get paid and others we wouldn’t.

    Besides, there’s a school of thought that kids shouldn’t be paid to do chores around the house as it creates a negative feeling towards working (you should earn that feeling on the job, working for a-holes and with a-holes)

    • ElleAnn says:

      Unsteady allowance: yep. Same with lunch money, especially after my older siblings graduated and we no longer qualified for reduced-price lunches (but our folks were still supporting them). Some weeks my parents would actually give me enough money to buy lunch for the whole week, some weeks not so much. I started bringing dry cereal to school since skipping breakfast (too lazy to get up in time to eat at home) and then not having food for lunch sucked.

  7. dush says:

    When they turn 22

  8. Lyn Torden says:

    Kids should learn the adult way to make money … earn it by contributing value back to the economy. Obviously, a lot of CEOs didn’t learn this basic lesson.

  9. Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

    I wasn’t allowed to get a job until I graduated high school out of concern that it would impact my studies. After I graduated, the money stopped flowing quickly. My Da still slips me money when I come to visit though.

  10. Atticka says:

    I’m not a parent yet, but I’ve contemplated how to handle this, these are my thoughts…

    Price out all of the chores/tasks around the house, be fare about it
    Setup a schedule or appropriate frequency these need to get done (IE: take out the garbage once a week, etc…)

    Setup a board to track date and time when the work was done.

    Pay your kid bi-weekly or monthly based on the accomplished chores over the previous period.

    Done, you’ve now created your own contractor that you pay per job on an appropriate pay schedule that promotes education on earning pay for work done…. no work, no pay.


    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      The times my mother tried to pay me an allowance, it worked just like this…

      If you have siblings, it also promotes learning to use a bartering system! (“I’ll do X chores you hate if you do Y chores that I hate…”)

    • sponica says:

      there’s a school of thought that kids shouldn’t be paid for chores as it creates a negative association with work…(ugh I only get paid for doing stuff I don’t want to do or don’t like to do)

      honestly, I think kids should contribute around the house because they LIVE there…I’m not talking slave labor, I’m talking age appropriate activities (like setting/clearing the table, picking up their socks/toys, etc). because what happens if for some reason you can no longer afford to give an allowance? your little contractors will no longer provide those services…

      then again, I don’t have offspring either….I also never really had an allowance or parents who gave me money. we were told to save our birthday/holiday money if we wanted any spending money….

    • carlathecommander says:

      My Mom tried this for a while. I’d purposely mess up things so I could be paid to clean them. She had to make payments to me for a while. Of course, that’s why I just use my kids as slave labor now. No allowance.

    • Rachacha says:

      It’ll never happen unless you are completely obsessive about you and your kid’s schedule. I have 2 kids, 10 & 8. In the fall we have soccer practice 1 night a week (games on the weekend), 1 child plays an instrument, and we have religious education 1 evening a week.

      We worked out a schedule for all of these activities that would allow the kids sufficient time to study/do homework as well as relax and be a kid. It works well until their friend Suzy has a birthday party and we have to go to the store to get a gift, and they have a science test, a spelling test and a math test next week that they need to study for, and a book report and science fair project and they have to practice their instrument…and…and…you also need to allow enough time for sleep. We have learned that you can schedule certain things on every day, but after that, you just have to be flexible, and that often times means foregoing chores.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      The only downside I see is that when you ask the kids to do something which you think is a given (like putting your dinner dishes away or brushing your teeth) they might expect to be paid. They also need to learn the lesson that everyone just chips in and helps keep the house running.

      There is no perfect solution, though you could reserve the payments for big items like mowing the lawn and little things are just expected.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      stop doing chores when they can make their own money…much more than what chores can bring in.

    • FyreGoddess says:

      My son was expected to do a certain amount of age-appropriate work around the house every week (chores). Any work he did above and beyond that was open for pay that was periodically negotiated based on how old he was, how hard (or gross) the job was, and how good a job he did. He would also get bonuses for cleaning an entire room instead of just a small part of it – so sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor would pay less than sweeping, mopping, doing the dishes and cleaning the table of clutter.

      It worked out pretty well for us. He stopped looking for work around the house when he turned 16 and started looking for a real job. Thank goodness for nieces and nephews, who are now reaping the benefits of Auntie Fyre’s offer to pay for cleaning.

      • FyreGoddess says:

        Erg… this is unclear: “so sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor would pay less than sweeping, mopping, doing the dishes and cleaning the table of clutter.”

        Example: He’d get paid $1 (or whatever) for each individual job, but if there were 4 smaller jobs, he’d get $5 for completing the entire room.

    • exconsumer says:

      You may come to regret the ‘no work, no pay’ idea. The reason you’re willing to pay your children to do it is because you don’t want to . . . your kids may elect to take the same position. It might not be worth it, and now you’re stuck with a bunch of chores. You could force them and pay them, but now it’s no longer a learning experience, it’s just another thing that mom and dad demand from them. At worst, you’ll be teaching them that they’ll have to take whatever deal any employer offers, even if it’s no good or if it’s something they don’t value.

  11. ChuckECheese says:

    Studies have shown repeatedly that teens don’t benefit from working in the regular service economy for the following reasons: The hours cut into study and school participation; the adults they associate with in those jobs are skeevy; they don’t learn many useful work or life skills (most mcjobs are uncomplicated); and the money they earn is used on the teenage equivalents of hookers and blow. It’s better to keep young’uns going to school and participating in appropriate extracurricular activities.

    • sponica says:

      I worked in high school and didn’t have access to one red cent….because my mom held my passbook until I was 18. She’d give me 20 bucks out of my paycheck when she deposited the check and that was it….

    • BigNick73 says:

      The life/work skills depends on where they work, I learned how to do most of my own electrical, plumbing, sheet rock work, painting, and welding from working during the teenage years. I rarely call a professional for anything around the house.

      I did meet lots of “skeevy” adults, and spent most of the money on “teenage equivalents of hookers and blow”

    • PunditGuy says:

      Can I see one of those studies? That’s not snark.

      I’d assume that it establishes habits that are essential for long-term work success: be on time, be conscientious, follow established protocols. It also teaches that everything has an opportunity cost, even that large pizza that you had to work two hours to pay for.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I think one’s social class plays a vital role.

      I grew up poor and if I wanted things like clothes, an Atari, or to do such activities as taking the SAT or applying for college, it meant working. At the very least, getting up at 4:30 between the ages of 10 and 17 prepared me for my time in the Army, and working as a laborer for ~$3.00/hr was a big motivator to join the military, so I could eventually go to college.

      My kids don’t have an allowance, as we consider things like dishes, lawn mowing, etc. as basic family responsibilities. We’ll pay for above and beyond stuff and they have a bit of a slush fund from birthdays & Christmas. When they’re old enough, we’ll encourage them to work and gradually increase hours, so they can have money available for college.

      Gradually increasing work is a lot easier than showing up to college, starting a full course load, and working 40 hours/week for the first time in one’s life.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Sure, if you gotta work, you gotta work, I recognize that. I grew up in the same part of the world as you (Western PA) at about the same time (70s/early 80s). I worked. But it cut into study time. I met lots of odd unsavory characters too, and had plenty of spending money for beer and weed. Good thing school wasn’t too difficult. The takeaway here, is that making teens work in the regular economy isn’t going to be much of a character-building experience for them, so limit or avoid if it you can. Other activities will provide more to your children.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I do agree. Working definitely eats into academics and can cause one to miss out with “kid’s stuff” like summer camp, going to the prom, and that sort of thing.

          But then again, there is a certain amount of character building associated with working a terrible job for no money. It really makes one appreciate what they have and to not look down upon the person hauling garbage, digging ditches, or scrubbing toilets. It’s tough to treat those people as sub-human when you were once in the exact same position.

          • sponica says:

            I worked and went to my proms and dances…I just made it clear to my boss that I wouldn’t be able to work those nights.

            I wasn’t athletically inclined, and the only non-athlete activity at school was drama club. So work was really the only place I got to interact with other people my own age.

            • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

              I didn’t have terribly forgiving bosses. When you’re a laborer, you work when you’re told and if you don’t show up, your job will give your job to someone else. Even when you showed up, there were days a guy would show up in a suit and randomly pick people from a line up to fire. This was pretty much the norm in Pittsburgh during the late 70’s and early 80’s.

              Plus, when you need the money, you need the money. Missing a night of work could mean the difference between having heat or not having heat.

            • ChuckECheese says:

              I am laughing at your Hobson’s Choice of drama club or get a job. Many employers don’t give you the luxury of choosing your hours. One of the issues of those studies I mentioned earlier is that in most service jobs, actual teenagers are in the minority. Most of their coworkers are older, many with checkered pasts and poor work and social skills (things have changed there some with the changing economy I imagine, but you get the idea). You were fortunate to have a job working with people your own age. I cleaned bars on weekend mornings, delivered newspapers, concessions during football games, etc. Except for the concession job, my coworkers were all older. Dunkin’ Donuts was the best – I worked nights, met identical twin trannies, stoner cops, etc. But I was the only kid in the store.

              • sponica says:

                I worked at a toy store in high school…and I was brilliant but lazy, so working wasn’t eating into my studies. My own lack of a work ethic did. Why work for the A+, when not working gets you the B+/A- (and eventually a half boat at a private Jesuit university)?

                The store was populated with teenagers because only teenagers were dumb enough to work for 6 dollars an hour. (This was back in the booming economy around the turn of the century). Sure our managers were older…they were the old age of 25.

      • Powerlurker says:

        It’s also cultural as well. My girlfriend’s parents are dirt poor Chinese laborers (as a grad student, she makes 4-5x her parents’ combined income) and the very idea of her working a job in high school or even college would have been utterly inconceivable to them. It was made clear to her at a very young age that her “job” was to study diligently to do well on the college exams. Families in China make enormous sacrifices to ensure that their children can pursue their studies uninterrupted. Heck, even in much more prosperous Japan, most schools prohibit their students from holding jobs.

    • KatieNeptune says:

      I worked for three years in high school at Target on weekends (usually Friday and then a Saturday or Sunday day shift) and loved the experience, kept the job after graduation so that I had something to do when I came home from college, used the money to save for school (my parents matched whatever I saved for tuition) and to pay for going out to eat with friends, gas, car insurance, etc. It was great and didn’t cut into my extra-currics (always had a sport or club involved in each semester/season) – and I met a ton of interesting, good people and learned a lot about business practices too, because my family and I talked about all of it (“What’s branding?” “I had this weird customer service experience, why did this person say this?”). I learned how to work on a team, cooperate, work long hours and make friends outside of high school. I freakin’ LOVED my job.

      • selianth says:

        Yeah, I worked at the library in high school for 10-15 hours week. I don’t know if that’s considered a “service” job, but it was pretty much my dream job at the time. I loooooved going to work.

        • RedOryx says:

          Me too! And, over ten years later, I’m now a librarian :)

        • ChuckECheese says:

          Librarian, even a candy-striper librarian, is not a typical service industry job. It’s at the high end of service jobs. It’s far more geeky, and the crowd was no doubt less addicted and more educated. A good choice for a teen, if they can get it.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Sounds like you had a very nice job and a very cooperative employer. A significant percentage of teens end up working random shifts and more hours than the law permits. It isn’t common that you could keep a shift for so many years. Where I live now, it isn’t likely that Target would hire a teenager, as there are many adults hungry for work who will work any schedule or none at all. So your experience, albeit a positive one, isn’t typical for most wage slaves.

    • framitz says:

      Your studies are BS for the most part.

      I worked all through high school. High School was an obstacle to overcome to move on with life. I had a 3.8 GPA on graduation, if not for that darned chemistry class it would have been a 4.0.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        They’re not “my” studies, and they aren’t b.s. Over the years, the lives of teenagers have been picked over, and these are the things I’ve found. Nobody else’s N of 1 anecdotes change that. And circumstances can affect outcomes too. As a general rule, it’s the notion that your kid needs a job outside the home – in service industry jobs, as I mentioned – works against your kid’s best interests for the reasons that I already mentioned, which were found in several studies.

        • Potted-Plant says:

          I worked in service industry jobs as a teen and always used the experience as a cautionary tale. Get an education, learn a trade, or hate your life at the Tastee Freeze. Your choice.

    • wackydan says:

      I made very little allowance from my parents… I elected to go out and mow neighbor’s lawns, shovel snow, rake leaves.

      I grew up n a neighborhood that was built in the 50’s and still had most of the original neighbors there when I was growing up. These people were like family and they were my “village elders” so to speak. I gave them a tremendous amount of respect and doing work for them was often for free or peanuts – because that is what you did.

      Today, I have yet to have had one kid knock on my door to mow my lawn, or rake my leaves. We’ve only recently had a girl who wants to babysit, and has pet sat our cats once.

      I don’t know all the reasons why I have no offers to mow my lawn… but I have some ideas.

      – Neighborhoods lack that close knit reality they had decades ago
      – Parents think every neighbor is a closet serial killer/pedophile
      – Neighbors don’t want the risk of a teen getting hurt on their property due to this overly litigious society we have.
      – Parents give their children enough money that they don’t need to make it at the neighbors?
      – Kids can’t deliver papers anymore.


      • ChuckECheese says:

        Those jobs you mention are time-limited and increase socialization with a wide variety of your neighbors. Those are good jobs for kids to have. OTOH, yeah, kids don’t get these jobs much anymore. In my part of the world, PhxAZ, those jobs are reserved for immigrants in most of the area. Kids do them in some areas, but property owners’ expectations regarding things like lawn work have increased such that children might not be able to do the work to the property owners’ satisfaction. Things have changed a lot regarding work opportunities for youth in the past 30 years.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      What a shitload of elitist liberal prattle. There are plenty of jobs they can do that will give them useful experience without exposing them to the “unwashed masses”.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Yeah it’s so elitist and liberal to want our youth to stay out of trouble and to complete their secondary educations. I bet you’d say we should bring back child labor. After all, it’s elitist and liberal to point out that it has any drawbacks. The point is that a teenager has better things to do – like study and socialize with peers – than work in many service sector jobs, which teach few marketable skills, give a teenager access to money that is spent on things it’s better not spent on, and access to people who aren’t the best people for the teen to be hanging out with. There are teens who work out of necessity, and teens who get jobs that provide positive learning and socialization experiences. I’m not talking about them.

        What’s really odd about people like you, with your thoughtless and nihilistic barking, is that you apparently think that all study and discussion of socio-political-economic systems is elitist and liberal, which basically means you are also against science, and against improving society. Is that because you think our current systems have already reached the pinnacles of social and economic benefit? Or is it because you’re basically unteachable?

    • OttersArePlentiful says:

      I had five part-time jobs in high school (three of them to help my parents out, two for saving up for college) and I still graduated with honors. That, and I did actually learn valuable skills that helped me get employment during college. That being said, it all depends on the kid. They’re not all ignorant and reckless without supervision.

  12. crispyduck13 says:

    I do not have kids yet, but am planning on having one or two. I always thought I’d give them a small allowance in exchange for chores and things. Once they reach age 16 and can both have a job and a need to buy a car the situation will change. If they manage to pay for their own car and insurance I’d likely put an equivalent of their net earnings into a savings account for them to use for college. If I have to supply the car or pay for the insurance I’ll probably cut off the money train.

    I remember what it was like to have a single mom with not much extra money. I never got an allowance, yet did nearly all the household chores and had to pay for my car insurance and cell phone bill myself. I was lucky enough to have a car given to me by my grandparents. I remember spending nearly all of my minimum wage job earnings on my bills, and saved very little for college. I’m hoping I can do better for my kids.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Start a savings account for college the day they are born – no way to save if you start at 16.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        I had already assumed I’d be doing that. This matching their job earnings thing would likely replace that monthly savings starting at age 16.

  13. jsweitz says:

    I never got allowance, rather left it up to the charity of my parents if I wanted something.

    For my kids, no matter where their money comes from, I plan to pay a part of whatever they want (within reason) based on a sliding scale. Until they’re 8, everything is paid for. At 8 I’ll pay 90%, at 7 I’ll pay 80%, this scale slides until they are 18 and are paying for 100% on their own.

    • little stripes says:

      Do you plan on giving them an allowance? Because I’m not sure how an 8 year old can get a job to pay that 10% of what you’re not paying, if you’re not giving them an allowance. Which basically means you’re still paying 100%.

      • sponica says:

        8 year olds can get birthday money and holiday money from relatives (at least I did….I’d routinely get hundreds of dollars a year in birthday and holiday money and would have to budget it for the entire year)

        • tsukiotoshi says:

          Damn! I had a great-grandmother until I was 11, 4 grandparents all through childhood, and a grand total of 10 aunts and uncles by blood and I never saw anything close to that for birthday money!

          • sponica says:

            I was also cursed because Christmas and my birthday were a one-two punch…so I would have to budget my windfall for a year. My sister’s on the other hand had a birthday not near Christmas and would be able to have a little more fun.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          If they have relatives.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        According to 30 Rock last night, children can be put to work making shoes.

    • Don't Bother says:

      I never really got an allowance either. We were also on the charity system–If I did my chores and was a good little girl, if I wanted something my parents would maybe think about it. Through high school my mom would help me by things like clothes and haircuts and car insurance.

      Then I got a job and that aaallll changed.

  14. Aeirlys says:

    My parents cut off my allowance at 16, when I could reasonably hold down a steady job (as opposed to babysitting gigs). Instead, they made my car insurance payments as long as I maintained a certain GPA through high school and my first year of college, but I had to have a job to have any spending money. After that, I was on my own.

  15. May contain snark says:

    When they’re making more in allowance than you do at your two jobs.

  16. tinmanx says:

    No allowance, we’re Chinese so they’ll get Chinese New Year money and will have to save it for the year. It’s how I was raised.

  17. selianth says:

    I got an allowance until the summer before senior year in high school, at which time I got a part time job. However, my dad continued to pay me $15 to mow the lawn once a week, so I still had some money coming in from him.

    But, it was in no way a “crutch” as the article implies it could have turned into. I really appreciated that my parents made me pay for some of my own stuff from my saved allowance, even larger education/career related items. When I wanted a new flute at age 13 and a new piccolo at 16 (at $1000 each), they made me pay for 25% and 50% of them respectively. I even had to make a choice as to whether to go on the band trip to Europe or get their help paying for the piccolo. I think my parents actually got off way easy on that one.

  18. framitz says:

    Shortly after turning 16 I started working part time during the school year and full time in the summer.
    Once I started working I never asked my folks for money for anything. We had a good relationship and weren’t poor, but I felt that I needed to work toward being independent.

    My dad did help finance my first car, but I paid every penny myself.

    Damn, so many years have past and I’m STILL working.

    • Gardius says:

      Pretty similar to me. I worked summer jobs when I was 14 and 15, then got (and have maintained) a steady part-time job from 16 to today (now 21). My parents paid for my first year of University (supplemented by a scholarship I had earned) but I have paid for my other 3 years of education in their entirety. I am graduating in June and will be doing so debt-free. I received an allowance of $5 per week from Age 8 to Age 16. It was enough to do basic things, like buy a chocolate bar and soda, but obviously nowhere near enough to cover the cost of gas once I could drive. Such a small amount taught me two valuable things: 1) The importance of saving, and 2) That good money has to be earned; it isn’t handed to you.

  19. JoeDawson says:

    “Allowance is an excellent tool to teach kids about money while cutting your own expenses. The idea is you’ll make them save up for their own stuff, which will keep you from spending as much money on them.”

    How EXACTLY does this work???? If I give them allowance… it doesn’t come out of my expenses? Is there a magic allowance tree in my back yard? By cutting my own expenses, you mean they save the money and learn to buy stuff this way, rather than asking for everything with no budget? In which case, i just SAY NO. Damn lazy parents who’s kids run their life.

  20. j2.718ff says:

    Not allowance, but here’s something that worked well for me:

    Every birthday, xmas, etc., I was allowed to keep only a small portion of the cash I received as gifts. The rest went into my savings account. I was disappointed, but hey, $20 is still plenty to a 10 year old.

    Then when I was in college, and needed to buy a car, there was all this money just sitting in my bank account!

    • RedOryx says:

      That’s how it was for my sister and I, too. Even now, at 30, I still get birthday and Christmas money from my grandmother and still put at least 50% of it in my savings account.

  21. maxhobbs says:

    AYFKM? I never got an allowance when I was a kid, the only thing I got if I didn’t do my chores was a smack on the ass.

  22. rawrali says:

    My dad gave me an allowance basically until I turned 18. Every August we would sit down and renegotiate the terms, putting everything on paper with a signature and date that got put on the fridge. My allowance was based on the grades I got in school, as he believed that school was my job and he didn’t want me to get another job while still in high school. Since I got good grades, it allowed me a pretty decent cash flow, but once I started high school I was responsible for the majority of my own purchases, for instance, any clothing that wasn’t part of my school uniform was bought using my own money. Each quarter, my allowance could be increased due to A’s, remain steady with B’s, or start to decrease with C’s or below, based on the terms of the negotiation for that year.

    My boyfriend did not receive an allowance, and instead got a job at Target which he enjoyed, so we’ve had a few debates about how we’d like to handle this situation with our (future, possible) children.

  23. Flik says:

    “Give a kid money, and they eat for a day.”
    “Teach a kid to play 3-card monte, and they’ll eat for a year.”

    — Ancient Flik saying

  24. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I never got an allowance. Ever. I never had chores either. I just did what my parents told me to do and they fed me and clothed me. I got presents on birthdays and holidays. Good enough.

  25. brinkman says:

    I never got an allowance but got a nice surprise surprise last week when my mom sent me a Christmas card which included a check for $5000 made out to Vanguard for my IRA. It was a bit odd as I’m nearly 40, married, and have been contributing to my IRA on my own for years.

    Then I thought that maybe she and my dad were trying to get rid of some assets while they were still alive and was bummed out for the rest of the day.

  26. sweetgreenthing says:

    I asked for allowance, but my parents laughed in my face and told me my chores paid for me to live in their house. I did all the housework from age 9-18, including washing both of their cars weekly. If I needed or wanted something, I had to run car washes or lemon aid stands, or sell drugs. I don’t really want my kids to have to resort to that to pay for basics that my parents would ‘t help me with. My 4 year thinks chores are SO FUN still, so I have some time to ponder. I liked the idea about pricing out the chores- brilliant.

  27. Temescal says:

    Despite my repeated arguments that, really, I’m fine, what with my having a good job and all, my parents still insist on giving me an allowance. I’m 34 years old. :/

    The joke is on them though. I use that allowance to buy them gifts.

  28. juniper says:

    We were poor(ish) and often did not have extra money for allowance. But when my mom did have some extra money at the end of the week, she’d give some to me, with the understanding that when we did well, we shared with one another. Likewise, when there wasn’t money left at the end of the week, the whole family (which was the two of us) tightened belts. Payout was not tied to chores, those were expected. I’m now lucky enough to have a good job that leaves me with a little bit extra at the end of every week, and often share my good fortune with my mom – who deserves it.

  29. INsano says:

    “* Is your kid old enough to work? If your child is old enough to get a job, you may be only teaching him about welfare by keeping the money flowing.”


    * Is your kid old enough to work? If your child is old enough to get a job, you may be only teaching him about HOW THE RICH LEECH OFF THE REST OF US by keeping the TAX EXEMPTIONS, WRITE-OFFS AND LOOPHOLES flowing.

  30. BorkBorkBork says:

    I don’t believe there’s one fix-all answer for this. But I do recommend sitting down and having a good talk with your kids about finances. Figure out what their financial goals are and help them reach it.

    For me, I did chores without expecting to get paid for it. It was my way of saying thanks to my parents for not making me live on the streets. :) But there was usually a paid jobs board of things I could get paid to do. Pull weeds, paint a shed, oil change the car, stack firewood, etc. I just had to beat my brother to it. It was a good system that I’ll be using on my future children as well.

  31. ponycyndi says:

    All valid points. I can’t say there is only one right answer, it depends on the kids involved.

    When I was young, my mom paid per chore. Which was good for the kids who did chores on a regular basis, we got paid well. The other half of my siblings didn’t want to help, and never had to, which was completely unfair.

    I give my kids an allowance, based on their age. When they get older, I may renegotiate to include responsibilities such as chores or grade average. As it is now, the one in school gets straight A’s and both help with age appropriate chores (except cleaning their own room).

  32. Emilliy says:

    When I turned 16 and got my drivers license my father told me he had some good new and some bad news. The good news: I was getting a raise in my allowance. The bad news: It was just enough to cover car insurance.

  33. Lisse24 says:

    When I was in school, school lunches cost $1 each day. So, my parents policy was to each week lay a $5 bill on the kitchen counter on top of a paper lunch bag. The choice was clear, if I wanted to use my lunch money on lunch, I could. If I wanted to save money by packing a sandwich, I could.
    In other words, I got enough money to cover my “expenses,” but could maximize benefit by being frugal. This is what happens when you are raised by accountants.

  34. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    It depends on the family, the situation, etc. Unfortunatley in my family there was a huge discrepancy. I’m the eldest, and as soon as I started working part time (at age 14) my allowance was cut off, since I was making my own money, my parents said I no longer “needed” an allowance. My younger brother saw this, and made a point to NOT get a job until he graduated from high school, so he was given an allowance all the way up until then.

  35. chatterboxwriting says:

    If I had kids, I would definitely make sure they get an allowance, but I would pay money based on completed chores. My mother’s favorite saying was “I allow you to live there. That’s your allowance.” She was also never one to pay for chores or even thank someone for doing the dishes because “that’s what you’re supposed to do.” While I don’t disagree with that concept, I think not being able to earn money/allowance really put me at a disadvantage. I never had money to save or spend, so I didn’t learn the value of it. As soon as I got a job and had access to my own cash, I went wild buying the stupidest things. It never occurred to me that I could save for something like a car or a computer or college tuition. I had 50 bottles of 99 cent shampoo and all kinds of other cheap stuff. I made those bad decisions, but I can’t help but think that getting a small allowance could have helped me learn the value of money and learn how to have it without it burning a hole in my pocket.

  36. thelauhingsun says:

    My parents had an awesome tactic that worked extremely well with me and my siblings: Our allowance was chore based. We got our allowance only when we completed our chore for the week. It would be something small that a kid could do – I cleaned the cat’s litterbox once a week, for instance. My sister dusted the bookshelves in the living room. So, the allowance was essentially pay for a mini job. I eventually “quit” this job for a higher paying one when I turned 14. None of us have ever relied on our parents for money. We all turned into very accountable and financially responsible young adults – certainly more so than most people our age! And, our parents NEVER had to nag us to get chores done.

  37. 451.6 says:

    I don’t have any kids, but I had an allowance from an early age (I think it was 2 whole bucks when I was 7 and increased to $20) when I was in HS. My parents would buy the big ticket items, like a winter coat or SAT/AP fees, but that was about it. I had a savings account and my parents doubled whatever I put in it, so I had to choose whether to spend my money or save it. My parents wouldn’t let me work so I never had a job until I was a junior in college. They were both the first people in their family to go to college and worked to support themselves throughout school and they wanted me to have the privilege of concentrating on school. And they stressed that it was a /privilege/, not something that I was owed.

    A friend’s parents gave her $250 a month and she had to budget her money. I like this system, since it puts more emphasis on budgeting and delayed gratification. Although you do have to sit down and figure out what sort of items your spawn should be responsible for buying themselves and adjust the amount accordingly. I think I’d be more inclined to pay for big-ticket items and lower the monthly amount. I’d rather know my kid is walking around in good-quality boots and a properly warm coat.

  38. kujospam says:

    I find the biggest problem with this post is that it assumes that a kid should just get an allowance. If that is the case I totally disagree. If a kid wants to have an allowance they have to do chores that are age appropriate. If they fail to do the chores they fail to get the money. That is not welfare, that is work and pay. At the same time if they are really failing about(chores and behavior issues) and they are older, you can cut them from family activities like going to the movie theater or an amusement park.

  39. TheJBW says:

    My folks gave me no fixed allowance but paid me a couple of bucks for As on report cards and tests. It worked out to something like $30-50 of spending money per semester, and taught me to ‘work’ for my grades.