Time for a weekly allowance

After hanging out with my co-worker’s kids for a while this afternoon and hearing their talk of money and allowances, I realize it’s time to give Moomin some money. I’m not sure how to do this!

At his age my weekly allowance of a quarter was upped to a whole dollar. I had to save 25 cents of it in a little bank, and put another quarter in the collection plate at church. The 3rd quarter was for some specific recurring expense which I can’t remember; something at school, I think, like “pizza day”. The other quarter I would take to the corner store, a somewhat tiny squalid IGA, and I’d buy either a chocolate bar or several small candies that cost a nickel. That was about it! Things stayed about like that until I was 11 or so, when I got maybe 5 dollars a week, and I also started babysitting. At that point I went to the roller rink, the movies, was completely obsessed with video games; when I got a bit later, I’d go to the mall to buy crap like shoelaces with unicorns on them as well as candy. Sad to say, the allowance just mildly lessened the amount of petty shoplifting I did… Let’s not go there…

But I know kids under 10 who get allowances and use them to buy lunch at school!

Kirsten’s 10 year old gets 50 bucks a month, buys her own treats at movies, and mostly saves her allowance to buy “expensive electronic things and gadgets, not so much on toys.” She puts aside a bit each week for donating to charity.

I think we will go more for the 5 bucks a week option at this point, with maybe a dollar limit for candy. He can save up and buy particular Transformers, or something like that. Right now he has a peanut butter jar full of quarters and dollar bills, mostly from times I’ve offered him a quarter to help me fold laundry. But he’s never figured out that he could open the jar and spend the money on stuff he wants.

So, what do you other parents do about giving money to your kids? Do you do that at all? Do you tie it to chores done? Do you dock them money for misbehavior?

And… what the heck do they buy?

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7 Responses to Time for a weekly allowance

  1. Jo says:

    We give them $2.50 a week each. Then I steal it from their piggy banks when I'm out of money, leaving an IOU note. They use it to buy stuff that I won't buy them.

  2. elswhere says:

    MG gets a dollar a week, with periodic bonuses for doing extra chores and for occasional bribery (sometimes I'll give her a quarter to put herself to bed all on her own, say). We give her extra spending money for vacations. She's also extremely talented at finding money on the street.Generally she saves it up until she's got $5 or $10, and then blows it on a Littlest PetShop toy. She talks big about saving up for various large items, but doesn't actually do it.For a while we were "giving" her about a dollar a week to put in the tzedakah (charity, basically) box on Friday nights, and then letting her pick where it all went at the end of a year, but we've kind of flaked out on that lately. Also lately, I've started docking her a tiny symbolic amount– usually a penny–for punching me or threatening violence. I'm sure it's not a Best Parenting Practice but it does seem to have gotten her out of the habit, and she gets incredibly upset the few times she forgets and has to hand over the penny.

  3. mommy~dearest says:

    Money isn't a strong motivator with my son- he thinks it's cool and all, but for example: he'll find a quarter on the floor and say something like, "Cool Mommy! I found a monies!" and then hand the quarter to me. I suggest to him that he put it in his pocket, or in his bank- he usually replies "That's okay, you can have it", or "That's okay", and throws it back on the floor.

  4. Oh Baby Gifts says:

    $50 bucks a month?!?! I used to get a dollar a week. Ok times have changed and everything's getting more expensive nowadays so I'd probably go with $5 at most a week. Either way I believe weekly allowances teach kids the value of a dollar ( at least a little bit I hope!)

  5. Fishwife says:

    Okay, this sounds really complicated now that I've written it all out. But has worked amazingly well over the past 7 years. My Pea gets a dollar per year of age. This sounds like a lot, but she also saves her allowance in containers labeled: "Charity"; "College"; "Vacation"; and "Spending". At least one dollar MUST go in each container each week and then she is free to distribute the rest as she sees fit.Many times she has surprised me by putting most of the money in the College and Charity containers (makes a mommy so proud). The containers are recycled round cardboard containers (like the one Oatmeal comes in, the smaller container) that she decorated and labeled and we keep in a private area of the house.I have learned to horde singles as they will be needed each and every week and to recycle or exchange singles for bigger bills when her containers get full (if we recycle, we keep a tally of the totals and make deposits appropriately). She is free to donate her Charity money any time she sees fit. If she doesn't have the cash on her, then I make the donation and she reimburses me. Over the years, she has really learned to save wisely for the present, the future, and her community.I too have "charged" her when her behavior warrants – If I have to reclean her bathroom after she has said it was done, she has to give me $1. If I have to pick up after her, it costs her $1. We have used this method many times over the years to extinguish unwanted behaviors and it works very well with her. Makes her in charge of her own behaviors, and I get paid for putting up with them. Whatever she has to pay me, gets put right back into her College fund anyway. So this way it's a win-win situation for her- she just doesn't know it.

  6. Deb says:

    I've always thought that "allowances" sound elitist, controlling. My kids are 18 and 13 now. I have shared, to the best of their age ability, the small chunk of "entertainment" money with them, with their help budgeting. So I'd say–hey, this $40 bucks is going into fun money. And then we'd talk it out. Let it ride, dole it out for movies, give each $10 each spending money, whatever we decided, when we decided. More socialistic than power & control based I thought. Who knows? Now they each earn money for their own passions–and EARNING is where you really learn about a dollar's exchange.

  7. Andrea says:

    We pay the kids $1 per week and then they get extra money for doing extra chores. We don't dock for bad behavior (we have a wishing web for that), but I will charge them if I have do their chores. I also charge my oldest gas money if he misses the bus for school and I have to drive him. I make them put some in their savings and the rest they save up for toys and junk food. The wishing web is a chart that they can go up or down depending on behavior. When they get to the top they get a reasonable wish. Mostly my youngest chooses McDonald's playland and my oldest wants to go out for Chinese or go to the movies. I only pull out the wishing web when they need a reminder about good manners.