Thursday, January 31, 2013

let's talk allowances


Allowances - do you give your kids one or not?  How much?  Do you make them save part of it or donate part of it to charity?  Do they have to do something to "earn" that allowance, such as chores?

I actually find it hard to talk about this with other parents.  It's probably because it's just hard to talk about money, but I think it's unfortunate that we can't have the conversation.

I give my kids an allowance.  I've always given them an allowance.


  • When they want something, they don't beg us for us.  They ask if they have enough money "in their allowance" to buy it.
  • The kids are learning how to save, how to manage their money, and how much things really cost

  • The kids are more plugged in to being "consumers" and like to go "spend their money"

Last year it drove me crazy.  It would come to "allowance day" and they would "NEED" to go spend their allowance that day.  Even if they didn't find what they wanted in the store, they'd just buy Something, because they couldn't stand to not spend their money.  

So six months ago I called a family meeting and asked if we could all agree to save up for a trampoline.  The kids would go six months with putting their allowance into a savings account, and we'd match it and buy a trampoline for the family by Christmas.  They agreed, and saved for six months, and we got the trampoline.

And - it was long enough to break that addiction to shopping!  

This month they got their allowances again.  (I give them their age in dollars a week).  I asked them each to pick a percentage of their allowance to give to a charity of their choice, and they both chose how much they'll give.  

Carbon identified a few things he wanted to buy, and he has been careful about shopping around for a good price and discussing what his priorities are.  He's bought a couple video games this month, has a bit of money still in savings, and donated $6 to the YMCA.

Hypatia has gone a different direction, and has decided to save her allowance up to go to Paris.  A huge goal, and we've talked about how long it will take, but she's still determined that she's going to get a big trip somehow.  She doesn't want to buy anything, but is going to Save, Save, Save!

I'm so happy we took the break, and I'm happy with how they're handling their money now.  It's working really well so far. 

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