Trevor has been begging us for years to pay allowance.
The problem is, Jim and I don’t believe in allowance, at least not in the traditional sense. We do not believe in paying our kids to do chores. The chores they do are not optional, they are required as being a part of a family and living in our household. We assign them, the kids do them.
Several years ago I was researching allowance and found many articles that confirmed our belief. The concept that paying for chores takes away the sense of responsibility and instead chores become an optional “job”. Kids stop doing their chores because they decide they don’t need the money, or the job is too hard for that small amount of pay.
BUT those same articles said that kids should get an allowance in order to learn finance and money management- those articles suggested just handing the kids a set amount of cash every week that they can budget. Some “experts” went to the extreme- suggesting that at a certain age (usually age 10) the parent should no longer provide for their child- the child should start paying for their own clothing, school lunches, sports activities, doctor copays, dental visits, underwear, toiletries, etc…..and all the money that the parent was paying for those things should be handed over to the child instead (plus extra for spending money). Um. What? There’s no WAY that’s gonna happen here!
(Let me do some quick math on what it costs to raise a child….clothing, school lunches, karate, doctor once a year, dentist twice, assume one filling needed, eye appt, braces (ha ha), money to buy gifts for friends, and $50 in spending cash each month = $420/mo. And that’s on the conservative side and doesn’t include cell phones, cable TV, or any toys/games/activity expenses.)
Nope. Not happening here.
I think as a parent we should pay for school lunches and sports activities and clothing. I have no problem paying for extra activities like school dances/socials, bowling or movies with friends, or birthday gifts for their friends, etc. They can ask for the cash when the need arises.
Recently Trevor has expressed concern with having to ask for money since he doesn’t “have” any. He doesn’t want to have to ask.
So that takes us to spending money. How much spending money does a kid really need? And what will they spend it on?
In our family, the kids only receive toys, video games, movies, etc. on their birthdays and Christmas (and sometimes the Easter Bunny brings things). They don’t receive them any other time of year, and they don’t even ask. We’ve trained them since they were really young that we do not buy toys and games except for birthdays and Christmas- so they just don’t ask! It’s nice!!
We started giving giftcards so they could have “cash” outside of their birthday and Christmas to go buy those things, but they’d spend the giftcards on candy and gum and snacks (also things we don’t buy for our kids!).
So, is that what they are going to start spending their allowance money on? Yikes!
And how much allowance should we give?
The average allowance is one dollar per year of age- that’s $8-$14 in our house- per week. Or $32-$56 per month. That’s a lot of money for candy and gum and snacks and toys that they currently don’t ask for or buy for themselves. Hmmm…
Anyway- the point of this blog posting is that we’ve entered the world of “allowance” and I think we’ve found a system that will work for us. Our program will be outlined in “part two”.