Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful

One empowered woman's struggle against the world
Thursday February 27th 2020


The experts are in direct opposition on the topic of allowance. Great for you that we don’t rely on the experts here. Here we rely on real actual experience. Allowance schemes that have been put through their paces and either failed or succeeded. I have discussed this topic with several parents because I thought I had a different view on allowance than most. What I found out is that I am not that odd at least when it comes to allowance. Although I don’t take the traditional stance.
Traditional method

Traditionally parents tie chores and allowance together. If you do the chores then you get the allowance. If you don’t do them then you get nothing. There are varying degrees but essentially allowance is directly related to chores. This method teaches a child that if you do work then you get rewarded. A good lesson to learn but there is so much more than can be taught with allowance and chores. There really is no guess work here. You set the chores then you set the allowance amount and you are off.

The only downside is that kids will sometimes not need money for anything and then just forego the chores as they don’t care if they miss out on a weeks allowance. I tried this method and it got me nowhere. I ended up doing the chores and paying the allowance in the end.

Children learn they are entitled to money for work done, which seems the American way but if you have ever had a job you know it doesn’t exactly work that way. You can’t fire your kid if they don’t do the work. You can stop paying them but then the work still doesn’t get done. For me I wanted my kids to learn that they get paid for being productive members of society and that all members have to contribute not because of a need for money but because it is valuable to society. The traditional method doesn’t allow for that.
Non-traditional method

With non-traditional methods allowance is not directly tied to chores. Chores are just a required contribution to the family. Allowance is a separate entity. There are many lessons that can be taught using the non-traditional method. I opt for this method because it allows me to teach my children the lessons I want them to learn. This method also gives me more leeway.

In my home chores are a contribution to the family. You live in the family home, eat the family food, play family games and so on therefore each family member needs to contribute to the upkeep and running so all family members can participate in both the chores and fun stuff.

Allowance is a part of the monthly budge and paid regardless. Just as each family member is required to contribute to the family, each family member is paid. Now it seems like I am just giving money to my kids for doing nothing but that is not true. They get allowance for being a productive member of the family.

Now there are strings attached to the allowance. I don’t just hand over money and let them go crazy. I have used this method to teach the kids how to negotiate, how to hire an employee, how to spend and save responsibly and the cost of not being a productive member of the family.

My kids have learned how to hire their siblings and how to negotiate their pay. They have learned the value of a job and have learned about economics. When my oldest son wanted to buy something that would take a long time to save for, he offered his services (doing the others’ chores) out to his siblings. He did their chores and they paid him. This enabled him to earn the money he wanted faster.

I know it sounds as if 1 child could consistently get out of doing chores and just be lazy but in fact that isn’t the case. They can get out of doing their chores without a doubt but it comes at a price. Their contribution to the family is still intact. They are still contributing just now it is in a monetary way instead of a physical labor kind of way. You may disagree with this and not allow this but it is a good way to teach children. Nothing is ever going to be handed to you in life and children need to learn they are not entitled. There is nothing wrong with an adult hiring a housekeeper if they can afford to pay one so the children have the same option. I can assure you that no child has ever gone long paying the other’s to do their chores. Children always want something.

The only exception is when mom has to do the chore and there has been no negotiation ahead of time. Mom and dad already contribute and have their share to do so when they have to do the child’s share it comes with a monetary price tag and a consequence. Now when a chore is not done I do it and charge for it. If a bed is not made, I don’t want to spend the day being annoyed or looking at it so I make it. Then I leave a little bill for the service I performed. Don’t get me wrong there are consequences for chores not being done as well. Economics and consequences are set apart in my home. See more on consequences here. Allowance is not used as a punishment.

With this method I don’t have constant nagging and fighting with the children over the chores. The chores get done and in a timely matter. I have 4 children so having to say “do this chore” or “do that chore” daily adds up to a lot of time of mine gone just reminding and telling the children what to do. With four kids and four daily chores that amounts to 16 times a day I was having to say “do this chore”. Now I don’t say it at all. If not done then I do it, get paid and avoid the nagging and fighting.
What to do with the allowance

You might be surprised that this is the next section instead of “how much allowance to pay” but before you can decide how much you need to know what allowance is used for. Regardless of which method you use, your children now have money. Some parents have no guidelines on what to do with the allowance. Other parents have very strict guidelines. I am somewhere in between. You should decide ahead of time what you want allowance to cover. You have to look at your family needs and budget and decide what works best. Some children are required to pay for clothing, sports, food, outings and a host of other things some are not. Find what works in your family and in your budget.

* Savings – Saving money is important but it is difficult to do. Even today as an adult I don’t always save like I should. My kids have to set aside 10% for savings. You can decide what amount if any you want to use.

* Church – Some parents require a payment to the church collection plate some don’t. I don’t require this so I can’t even fathom what is the right amount but I have heard that it is 10%. Again it is up to you.

* Clothing – This is a requirement by many parents. I have a clothing allowance budgeted in the family budget. When that budgeted amount is spent then the children have to use their own money to buy anything further. I pay for school uniforms and play clothes that are necessary then they pay for anything else they want. I do have restrictions on the kinds of clothes but having all boys there aren’t many. If you have a girl you might want to consider some pretty specific restrictions. In this, day a trip to the mall will leave most parents distressed at the sight of the young girls dressed up like adult women. They get the money from somewhere to buy those clothes because I can’t fathom a parent actually buying them for them.

* Sports – I cover the cost of my kids sporting choices. I think sports are good for kids and don’t want them to be limited by not being able to cover the cost. Participating in sports is expensive these days and that is just buying the basics. If you throw in pictures and team items it can get even more expensive. I do require to the kids to cover anything beyond the basics.

Those are just a few things there are certainly more. I use the rule of “if I wouldn’t allow them to have it; then they are not allowed to buy it” even with their own money. They are still children after all. Once you decide what they can or have to spend their allowance on then you can determine how much allowance to pay.
How much and how often

There is no one size fits all. Different ages, different rules and the family budget all dictate how much allowance a child gets. There is no need to pay a child more than what they need. Once you have determined what they are required to pay for out of their allowance and what they can spend it on you can come up with a reasonable amount.

The “experts” have said that for younger children it should be half of their age each month. So a 6 year old would receive $3.00 under that theory. For older children it is everything from their age – so a 15 year old would receive $15.00 – to a set amount for each age group per month. I will repeat there is no one size fits all. Every family has different dynamics and those have to be taken into consideration. For me it was a little math. I added up what they would be required to pay for throughout the year, what types of activities they would want to be doing at their age and added in some for savings. I took that yearly amount then divided that by 26 weeks and came up with a bi-weekly amount. I don’t expect them to pay for family activities so it wasn’t too difficult

Here is an example for my 15 year old:

Video games (he would love 12 a year but I only agreed to 3) – 3 a year/ 3 * $60.00 = $180.00
Theme Park (he goes to 2 events each year guaranteed) – 2 a year/ 2 * $45.00 = $90.00
Movies (he goes to with his friends) – 2 a month for 12 months/ (2*15)*12 = $360.00
Clothing (girls will cost more here) – 15 a month/15*12 = $180.00

I take that total which is $810.00 and add 10% for savings bringing the yearly amount to $890.00
I divided that by how often it will be paid (for me its bi-weekly) so 890/26=$34.26 which I round up to $35.00 every other week.

You can do this with any age child. With the younger kids it is really an estimation but with older kids you can talk to them and find out what their interest are and roughly what it will cost them. If they decide later they want something different then they save for it buy foregoing a movie or video game or clothing purchase. You set whatever limits you want, as you can see I agreed to 3 video games a year when figuring the allowance my son wanted 1 a month.

Here is an example for the 7 year old in my house:

Toys – 1 a month/20*12 = $240.00
Candy – 1 a week/1.50*52 = $78.00
That totals 318.00 a year and add 10% for savings bringing the yearly amount to $350.00 then I divide by 26 for the bi-weekly amount of $13.50.

How much you pay is really up to you at the end of the day. I try to be fair and reasonable. I don’t want everything just handed to my kids but I do want them to be able to have things. If you follow this method and times get hard then you readjust their spending just as you would readjust the family spending. It helps to teach kids that nothing is guaranteed and being a productive member of society means dealing with the good and the bad times for all of society. When I lost my job allowances went away for awhile and it was explained that what affects one member will affect all the members. It wasn’t the happiest day but the kids rolled with it and have survived.

Along with how much you have to decide how often you pay the allowance. Again there is no one right answer. You can try different time periods until the one that works best for your family is achieved. Mine works on a biweekly basis. I tried weekly but that was far too often and the kids seem to spend it on junk since it was no significant amount. Your child might be different so try out what you think will work and adjust if necessary.

One thing that was told me to once that I don’t agree with but maybe you do. Several parents found it unthinkable to pay their child less than the minimum wage a worker would make. If you feel that way then feel free to pay it. I don’t feel that way. I give an allowance because they are productive members of the family and hopefully will turn into productive members of society. I am not hiring my children to work for me.

Extra work/extra pay is sometimes called for. In my house there have been times when I have needed help on special projects. I set a reasonable money amount and offer the project up to the kids. I have even had the kids bid on special projects. Just like in the real world the lowest bidder wins the contract. It helps me get the help I need, allows them to earn some extra money and teaches them not to be too greedy or over price themselves out of a job.

Now that you hopefully have some ideas of where to go with allowance you can do what works best for you family. Don’t worry if you are one of the people who feel children shouldn’t get an allowance at all that is ok too. Parents know their kids best and only you can decide what works best for your child. For me allowance has been a fantastic way to teach my kids how to deal with some of the real world situations they could face. I have to say that my middle oldest child has taking to the negotiation side of it very well. He has been negotiating his lunch items out for better items and sometimes outright cash. At first I was concerned but realized there was no harm being done as long as the deals were fair. I am kind of proud I have taught him well and he has been able to understand the art of the deal. I think though I am headed for some tough negotiations when he gets older. Looking forward to it!
Good Luck!!

Reader Feedback

2 Responses to “Allowance”

  1. Tameka Turnow says:
    This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.
  2. […] When you hear chores you most likely think allowance. What has traditionally worked with chores is a reward system. I don’t have the same traditional view and you have to find what works for you. A reward system for the younger kids such as stickers or small treats is helpful. Allowance is the traditional reward. I like tying allowance to chores but not in the manner of do your chores and get an allowance system. For a look at how allowance can be done check out this great article on allowance. […]

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