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Just wondering how much most kids are getting for their allowance these days. We give my 4th grade daughter $3/week and my 1st grade son $1.50/week. My daughter has mentioned in passing that her 12 year old cousin thinks that it's horribly mean how little she gets (her cousin mentioned it once to me in a very nice way). So I am just looking for validation - are my kid's allowance amounts way too small? Any feedback you would be willing to share is very much appreciated. Clueless Mom
I have a lot of reasons for keeping allowance low. The notion I hear expressed around here -- $1 for every grade or (shockingly) year of age -- seems nuts to me. Should a fourth grader really have $200 in spending money per year?
My son's $1 a week for spending money means that he gets $52 to spend per year, plus whatever he earns doing special jobs (he does pet-sitting for neighbors and can earn money from me by doing household projects like cleaning the insides of the kitchen cabinets). That means that if there's anything he wants to buy, he has to save for it or work for it, which to me is the whole point of allowance. If he can buy anything he wants, what is he learning? To be yet another mindless American consumer and I think we all know where that leads.
I want him to have to make tough choices about money -- if I buy this now, I won't be able to buy that later. And I want him to buy as little stuff as possible -- to realize that the thing he wanted very badly last week but couldn't afford, isn't actually something he still wants. That, in fact, most of the crap we want is crap we won't want in a month.
And that's my final reason for a low allowance. I don't actually want any more stuff in my house. I have to dust it, nag him about putting it away, find a place for it, and deliver it to whatever charity we're donating to when it's done. Even with my strict rules about allowance and limiting presents to real occasions (ie birthday and christmas) we still have TOO MUCH STUFF.
That's my philosophy. Stand strong! scrooge mom
Starting at 6 years old, my son got $1 per year IF he chose to save $5. Half that if he didn't. And no pressure - really! So it was a net of $1 cash for saving, and $3 cash for not saving. (Dilemma!) He almost always chose to save. He could spend cash on anything he wanted so long as it fits in the house rules. Candy-OK. Cheap toys-OK. Guns-Not OK What he learned was that not everything is worth what it costs. He learned how to bank with a teller and how rewarding it is to save. At the end of the year, we took $250 and opened an internet bank account.
At 7 he got $7 if he saved $5 $3.50 if he didn't. Same purchasing rules, but he was allowed to take out $20 for special purchases 4 times a year. He learned to consider choices carefully, and how higher interest = more money. At the end of the year, we took $150 and transferred it to the internet bank account for a total of $400 + interest!
At 8 he got $8 if he saved $5. $4 if he didn't. Everything else was the same, but we added a Charity Jar that gets $1 per week. All year we investigated different charities, and at the end of the year he decided which charity he wanted to give his $52 donation to.
At 9, he gets $9 if he saves $5. $4.50 if he doesn't. Same deal, but we're adding micro-lending into the mix.
It's been really fun and he is learning lessons that will (hopefully) serve him throughout his life. This year we start my daughter too, so it will be interesting to see how she approaches it.
This system may not be for everyone, but it has been great for us. Allowance in our household is not tied to responsibilities - responsibilities exist regardless. We see allowance as a way to teach our kids the rules of money, how to work with it and how to be financially responsible. Good luck! Motley Fool no more....
Just for comparison, our 1st grader gets 20 cents a week (doubled already this year). She saves it up to buy gum and other things we don't buy for her.
When she loses a tooth she gets a foreign coin which she saves in a special drawer which also has each tooth in a little colored box.
Luckily for us she's not talking with the kids who get $5/tooth etc.
The big money comes when she does extra chores, like helping weed the lawn. She can earn as much as a dollar or two, and one big day earned $8 and had great fun spending it on a new stuffie (like we didn't have enough stuffies :-)
She also gets money gifts, like $5 - $50 from her grandmothers, and the bigger amounts go into her savings account or get spent on a special toy she picks out.
I'm really curious what other kids are spending their money on? Is it that we buy everything for her or she just doesn't get as much stuff? We have lots of toys, more than she plays with routinely. The toys are gifts from us and relatives and birthday parties, and hand-me-ons.
We live in a small apartment, and the idea of having even $1.50/week more stuff seems alarming. I wouldn't want her to be buying that much candy. Where else would it go? The one thing I think she would have been buying is more clothes for dolls and so forth. We make some clothes, but her collection of dolls and clothes is far smaller than many I've seen.
She loves her stuffies the most, and is delighted with every one she is given or buys, but the 20 to 30 she has seem like plenty to me! (even though we actually have bought her 3 this past year, oh well, but she loves them so)
Looking forward to reading other answers! even more clueless mom (& dad)
Our family’s goal was to have our daughter be able to go away to college with a monthly allowance and have that allowance stretch through the entire month. Of course, that college experience would allow her to spend and save responsibly as an adult after college.
To get to this goal, we expected that high school would be similar to college in that she would have a monthly allowance, but that we would sit down two or three times per year to review: 1. Clothes needed. 2. Activities participated in. 3. School lunches. 4. Entertainment. This agreement would lead to a monthly allowance that she would have to make last.
To get to the high school goal, in middle school we would give a weekly allowance that would cover school lunches and entertainment. However, there would be an annual budget for school clothes shopping, school supplies shopping and camps / enrichment. We usually break this category down into camps for breaks (Thanksgiving, Winter, Spring and Summer) and enrichment throughout the school year.
For elementary school, this is where our daughter is now. She started getting an allowance in kindergarten. She received $1 per week for her age. We discussed strategies, such as long term savings, mid-term savings, short-term savings and spending. However, the money is hers. She spends it as she sees fit. In the beginning she spent her money on a lot of ''plastic crap.'' However, by age 7 she got the hang of it. She is 9 now. She saved for two years to get a Wii and Wii Fit. She earns $9 per week. She often has $50 or more in her wallet. She was given a budget for Summer Camps, chose them well, came in under budget and is attending some great programs.
She works by setting up a lemonade stand twice per year when the local school has work days. After paying for goods sold she averages about $120 or more. She also walks dogs and takes care of neighborhood animals and brings in mail as part-time jobs. In addition, she must give back to her community and volunteers a few hours per week. Allowance is formed from a combination of being part of the family in which everyone has a function and money that is unaccountable to anyone else and being a part of a larger community in which she has been given many privileges by birth and is accountable for giving back to that community.
I have no doubt that our daughter is be financially prepared for middle school, high school, college and adulthood. Mother of a Responsible 9 Year Old Daughter
Hello All: Was wondering at what point is it appropriate to expect that children help in/with the purchasing of gifts for others. Our son receives a small allowance and occasionaly earns extra money doing added chores. He splits his money into ''savings'' and ''spending cash''. We tend to purchase most of his wants, but hope we are not over indulgent. I seem to remember that by the age of 10, I was participating in the acquisition process. My curiosity is more from the point of responsibility than finances. Answering last weeks post, we give our child $2.50/week with possible deductions. Thanks. Too cheap parent ??
I just finished reading the archives and I am wondering what the current rate is for allowances for 8-10 yr olds? Also, what do they purchase with this money? We already ask our son to put 1/3 in savings. Thank you. Nancy
People, children and adults learn about money from having it, using it and spending it. My daughter has a savings account and is required to save $1 per week. She has also decided that she really wants an iPod. The nearly $300 type. That is not an expenditure I'm are willing to make. However, she has a Credit Union ''Dream Savings'' account and is saving for the iPod. She adds allowance, extra money she earns (taking care of neighborhood pets, washing cars, etc.) and birthday / holiday money away toward the goal. She's half way there.
I am willing to go halves on certain items, such as Healys. My daughter does the online research for the price, together we calculate the tax add it together and divide by 2.
Think of all of the money mistakes you have ever made in your life. Now imagine that you could do that on a small scale and learn from them. It was VERY difficult watching my daughter spend money on things that she didn't want after a very short time, but these are learning expericences.
About Birthday Party gifts: we set an annual amount, my daughter figures out about how many parties she will be invited to and then figures out how much she can afford to spend. She's had to skip a couple of parties - because we ran out of annual giving and she did not have the money. Lessons learned.
It all depends on what the money is meant to do: spending money alone, budgeting, planning, etc. Difficult as it may sound, it seems like it's the adult's responsibility to figure out what the goals are, then to help your child follow through. Believer in Financial Experience
$52 a year in spending money seems ample to me for a seven year old!
He also has the option of doing extra chores in order to earn extra money -- I pay a dollar an hour for things like working in the garden.
I rarely buy things for myself -- we are not well-off, and I believe we have what we need and should be thankful for that. So my allowance philosophy reflects my general bias against consumption, I suppose. nelly
We'd like to hear of other's experience with giving your kids an allowance. Our eight yr son has been asking lately. We're not sure of the amount, or what responsibilities he needs to take on in return for an allowance. Thanks.
This is obviously quite a structured system which would not necessarily suit all temperaments. It works for my daughter; now 13, she's become a very good saver, especially now that she's babysitting and has realized she can actually accumulate quite of a lot of money that way.
8 years old? As I recall, our kid got a dollar or two a week, plus some good-cause money.
(By the way, don't be fooled by talk of other kids whose parents give them LOTS of money and NEVER make them save ANY of it. When my daughter tried that one on us for the fourth time, I called all of her friends' parents, asked about their allowance systems, and found that virtually all of them had to save some money and that the ones with big allowances were having to buy birthday gifts and stuff with it. You might try calling your son's friends' parents to check the going rate for an 8-year- old's allowance.) Regards, Melanie
I would like to start an allowance system for my 6 year old son. He's developmentally mature for his age, articulate and now understands the power of money (can buy toys, or save it). I would like to come up with an allowance system that incorporates the following: 1) incentives for good behaviour 2) incentives for household chores (small things like helping set the table now, to bigger things like taking out the garbage, mowing the grass etc. as he gets older and into his teens). 3) creates an incentive to save for BOTH short term needs (e.g. a puzzle or toy he may want) and long term needs (e.g. college). He somehow already thinks/knows that he must help save money for his college education, and he is fully aware that he is expected to go to college. I thought I would work in a way to match any funds he puts away for college to increase the incentive to save. 4) Allows him to manage his own money in a thoughtful way - learn from his mistakes and bask in any glory it may bring him. 5) introduce the banking system to him, which means that when his money moves out of his ''money safe'' and into a bank account we can help him learn about where his money goes, loans, interest accrued, greed (had to throw that one in), etc.
Then what happens to my 3 year old who would also want to participate? I would not want him to feel left out, but clearly he's a bit too young for a ''full'' allowance scheme.
That being said, how do I start? Any helpful hints? Anything you've learned over the past few years now that you have older children? Everyone I know has young children, and they have not started an allowance scheme yet. Thank you for any thoughts. Allowance mom
That's when we started our daughter, in first grade.
I think it's important that allowance and ''chores'' be separate -- ie not dependent upon one another. Chores are part of their responsibility as a family member.
Tell the 3 yr old he/she, too, will have allowance start when he/she is in first grade. Leave it at that.
We have had great success having our daughter split her allowance into a ''savings'' bank, that she used for long term purchases for family members, ie brother's birthday; ''offering'' bank, that she donates at the end of the year; and ''spending'' (''S.O.S.'') that she can spend as she chooses. She's taken tremendous pride in making a recent donation from her ''offering'' bank to the Katrina victims and using her ''savings'' for a brother's birthday present. dh
My first grade son would like to receive an allowance. We have discussed the pros and cons, and I think we will probably end up giving him one. If anyone would like to share the specific amount they give their first grader per week, I would be most appreciative. An excellent 1999 post in the archives lists average allowance amounts by age, but more recent information would be useful. Autumn
I can't say I've always been thrilled with how they spend their money, but I have to remind myself that my role is just advisory (although of course they cannot use it to buy things they aren't allowed to have.) They've both, in different ways, had the experience of wishing they hadn't spent their money in some way, and we've talked about it, and I think that's been very valuable.
Now that they are older (oldest is 7th grade) they ask about the savings sometimes. We've made it clear that those are to be spent with our approval, generally for college expenses. anne
I'd like advice on how much monthly allowance to give a ten year old (the info. in the archives is about 5 years old). My daughter will not be paying for any clothes, but will be expected to buy presents for friends' birthdays, etc. We won't tie the amount to doing anything other than normal chores, but we expect her to keep good grades. She has a savings account and has been very responsible about figuring out how much to spend and how much to save. Thanks! Charlotte
In a recent issue, Consumer Reports listed some average weekly allowances based on a survey they conducted. 8 and 9 year olds got $3.74, 10 and 11 year olds got $5.19, 12 and 13 year olds got $6.66 and 14 yearolds got $9.45 a week. My stepchildren (15 and 11) do not receive this much and I was wondering how otherfolks compare with these averages. A related question is about the going rates for jobs such as babysitting (we have a 15 month old), yardwork, and car washing. The older kids have expressed an interest in more opportunities for "paying jobs", butwe're not sure how much to pay them.
Re allowances, my two boys are also below the consumer reports averages you quoted. They get $0.25/week for every year of their age (eg 8 year old gets $2). This seems to work, and the best part is that there is no conflict between the 8 year old and the 6 year old. The younger knows why he gets less, and knows that he will get more when it comes his turn.
There was an article in Harper's or the Atlantic recently that added a great-sounding twist to allowances. The parents set up a virtual "bank" their kids could deposit their allowances in. The "bank" pays 5% interest per month (not per year, kids wouldn't have the patience). The kids can deposit any money they earn through babysitting and other jobs into the bank. They can withdraw money when they want and spend their money however they want. Of course 5% interest per month gets costly once the virtual bank balance is very large, so money above a certain level is invested in virtual stocks that the kids choose -- starting, let's say, with one share of Coca-Cola.
The upshot is that the kids have a real incentive to save, and therefore think very carefully about purchases and don't buy stuff they lose interest in the next day. The author says his kids have a lot of fun with the system, and he felt you could start them at an early age because the concepts aren't that complex.
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