Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Requests From Our Readers: Week 26

This week we are talking about allowance. Check out what our reader said.....

"I have a 4 1/2 year old and I am wondering about allowance. I got an allowance growing up, but it wasn't a lot and I don't know how old I was when my parents started it. My daughter has never asked, but she also never has money. Her friends (who are sisters) purchased a new movie with their allowance. I love that they could choose to use their own money for a purchase like this. I like the idea of giving her something to save for a fun prize for herself or a present for someone else. Right now, she has no concept of the value of money other than quarters are better than dimes, which are better than nickels, and those are better than quarters. She doesn't know how much $5 really represents. I'd love for her to have a better understanding of saving, spending, and paying tithing at church.

Does anyone have a system that works for them for the allowance of young children?
When is a good age to begin?
How do you set it up and how much do you give?
What are the requirements for obtaining allowance?"

Help her out and answer her specific questions about allowance! And thank you all for reading.


Anonymous said...

It's an interesting "issue." :) My husband was given an allowance as a child for doing extra hard chores, not the basic stuff. I was never given an allowance. He supposedly learned how to manage money. I say "supposedly" because I am actually better at saving and minding a budget. My husband's unique talent is spending it. I have no idea if this is a result of his childhood allowance, I'm just making a point that giving a child an allowance doesn't always help them turn into a saving, monetary-wizard later.

My mom felt that we should not be paid for work that blessed the entire family. As a member of a household, we helped and received help because we were a contributing member. Money had nothing to do with it. When we went to the store and she said she didn't have money to buy this toy, or whatever it is we wanted, we understood that because we also had no money.

My first "job" happened around 9 years old. My sister and I would take our wagon and get old newspapers and aluminum cans from the neighbors that we knew. We would bring them home and bag them. Then when we had a lot, we'd take them to the Recycling Center where they would be weighed and we would receive a SMALL amount of money for the weight of stuff we brought in. At 11, I started babysitting and that helped me earn more.

Before that, I can't actually think of too many things I needed to buy. My needs were provided for. My mom had no problems telling me no if I wanted something she couldn't afford. She would tell me to "save my money" (the money given at birthdays or found on the ground), so I learned that things were expensive. If I wanted something, I saved for it.

Still poor, ;) I continue to live my life according to this principle. It's been working for me. As a child, I felt it was unfair but that was only because all of my friends DID receive an allowance.

They got paid for doing their chores, and in one case, a friend was paid for how high her GPA was in school.

Well I'd like to hear from moms who have seen positive results from allowance and how it was dealt and worked for them! You never know... it may be something I consider in the future! For now, I just say, "Save your money!"

Tannie Datwyler said...

I love this question! So interesting to hear everyone's stories.

Thinking back... I used to get paid an allowance by my mother. It was a weekly amount and given out if we did our chores. I don't rememeber the amount. I also did ironing for my mother and was paid by the item. She had no time for ironing (she worked full time as a single mother) and would pay someone to do it, but when I was old enough I told her I wanted the job because if she was going to pay someone it might as well be me. :)

When I moved in with my dad I never got an allowance, and to be honest I didn't care. My mother wasn't the most consistant allowance payer and by the time she paid up it seemed like she owed a lot.

I guess I would say that my experience with allowance wasn't all that great. I didn't really learn a lot from it.

But my husband's was good. His mom's philosophy was that she didn't want to pay her kids to work for her (this is totally personal - if you have no issue paying your kids for chores, than that is fine). But, instead she would give her children a weekly allowance simply to teach them money skills. She was VERY good at going over tithing and saving up. My husband has super excellent money skills. I don't think he ever got paid much, but the point was to teach him responsibility, and it worked because she took her job of teaching the kids about money so seriously.

They still had their regular chores to do, but didn't get paid for them. But, an extra big job (like cleaning out the garage or painting a fence or something akin to that) might earn a few extra bucks. Make sense?

I think that hits on most of your questions. As for what age to begin - I'd say around 5ish.... it really depends on the child, but knowing your little girl I think she'd be ready to understand now it while my girl who is not quite 4 wouldn't be. She just likes change rattling around in her piggy bank. So I think we'll wait until she turns 5.

As for how much to give her. Start small would be my suggestion! She'll understand money concepts more if the amounts are small and when she's older you could of course give her more. I'd say 50 cents or less a week would be plenty for a little girl her age to get the idea. But that's just me..... Think what you could buy at the dollar store for $2 . :)

Anonymous said...

I never really got a regular allowance. As long as I helped around the house with chores then when I needed money, I was given some.

I have been thinking about the issue as of late as well though. My daughter is 7 and my son is 5 (another son is almost 2). All of our kids have savings accounts and piggy banks. When they find extra money or lose a tooth, they put the money in the bank. They get excited to take the money out and take it to the bank. They know they are putting it away so when they are older and need to buy something "big" they will have the money to do so.

I was watching a show earlier today and the little boy received a quarter a week for his allowance. Maybe something like that wouldn't be so bad. Gives them some ownership and helps them learn responsibility as well. I'm not solid on a solution yet though! Good luck!

On The Go Family said...

Merillee Boyack has some great advice regarding allowance in her book "The Parenting Breakthrough." Also, I believe L&L has a section on allowance, too.

From what I recall, L&L doesn't believe in paying kids for their regular chores -- that's part of being a member of the family. But if kids want to earn some extra money (say, they ask if they can go to a movie with friends, or want to go to the pool or something like that) then they can complete some extra chores. Also, L&L says if you have problems with kids that equate to lost money, you can "charge" them for it. So if your kids keep leaving the lights on, you can charge them a quarter with every offense, or something along those lines.

I have friends who do all their allowance on paper (i.e. no actual money handed out every week) so that the kids can learn about banking, interest, and the like. I prefer that idea because I NEVER have cash on hand and know I wouldn't be good about delivering consistently. Then, when the kid wants something, he has to plan ahead to buy it (i.e. make a withdrawal, in which mom "pulls the money out of the bank".) That way, there's never any splurge shopping that kids are so famous for doing.

Delia said...

This is interesting. My son gets money for birthdays and holidays like Valentines day and such too...crazy I to their grandparents. I don't think they need an allowance. They get used to hearing me say , "you can ask Santa for it when it is Christmas! Yay!" and cheesy stuff like that. I don't want my kids to feel entitled like I was as a child. I was a brat. :) There I said it. I expected money. I think when my oldest starts asking about allowances then we will sit down and figure something out. Right now though he saves the money he gets from grandparents for big things like going to see Toy Story 3 (recently). Or...he goes to the store a few times picking out what he wants to buy, thinking about it, and then finally making the purchase later. Tithing has been hit or miss with us. We talk about it and he sees us take the money from him and give him change so we can pay it but I don't know how much is sinking in yet. It furthers my belief that I should just wait until he shows me he is ready to start learning about money when he asks to learn about it.

He does ask for money now sure. But not really in the sense of getting an allowance and such.

If he gets a buck or some change he likes to carry it in his pocket and buy something at a garage sale. So that way he learns a little about spending money and saving it for something else he may want. We don't go beyond that yet. Though. I appreciate everyone's ideas.