Allowance for Teens
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Allowance for Teens
Allowance for College Students
Hi - Our daughter is heading off to college in Pennsylvania this fall, and we'd like to
ask what kind of ''allowance'' (for total lack of a better word) to give her each month
for her personal expenses. Her food plan will fully cover her meals and she'll be
living in a dorm; she'll certainly need cold-weather clothes and the usual personal
items. She'll be living on campus near a town without a huge amount going on - a train
ride from Philly/NYC but not visiting either very often. We're paying the big bucks
for private school and while I don't expect her to work right away, I do expect her to
manage the money that we give her very thougthfully (and at home she is a good money
manager). But what amount should that be? What should we pay for and what expenses
should she be expected to cover with her own previous earnings/savings? And
logistically, should we just put money into her ATM account at the start of the month
and let her take it from there?
Thanks for your feedback!
Our children were always told that we would pay for all college costs
including food, books, etc. but that their personal spending was their
responsibility. Therefore both children worked summers, at times taken part
time jobs at school to add to their spending money but we felt strongly
that they were getting their college fully paid, would graduate without
loans and that they needed to at least contribute in this area.
When they have moved from dorms to apts near school we gave them a monthly
food allowance and they could choose to use it for groceries or meals out
but that was their choice on how they chose to budget. We also pay the cell
phone bills. Our kids had both ATM cards for their own accts that we would
deposit their monthly funds and then they paid the bills, etc. They also
had a credit card on our acct that they would use for approved purchases
only, such as buying books, etc. This was never abused although they would
occasionally ask to use for a personal purchase and then reimburse us,
always approved in advance.
Our kids have also done study abroad, we paid for this in full as well and
also gave them some funds toward travel in the country but again, they
needed to plan, work and save for their personal funds and to do anything
beyond what we gave them. For our child who went east, we also covered
reasonable additional winter clothing (but wait till they are there to buy
- what California sells won't be nearly warm enough and cost more and then
you have to ship it back).
My daughter is going to a small Pennsylvania college in a small town near
Philadelphia too! I do have some thoughts about how to get her set up for
her first winter ever without giving her a blank check. Would love to
follow up with you off-line. nfa
Besides tuition, fees, books, room and board, what other
expenses will we run into for a student going away to college
and how much should we budget? And I assume most students work
part-time while in school to help pay some of those expenses.
College expenses vary a lot from school to school and student to student.
For example, some schools charge a co-pay for every visit to the student
health center and at other schools it's built into the yearly fee. At some
schools students pay for the use of the laundry facilities and at others
it's part of the housing cost. This kind of question is a great one to post
on the CollegeConfidential.com forum for your child's college, where current
parents and students might be able to give you advice specific to that
Beyond that, it depends on what your child likes to do for extracurricular
activities and how much of that will be free, or included in tuition/housing
costs--food, entertainment, exercise, transportation. Personally, I think
it's a lot to expect a freshman to work during their first school year,
while they're still trying to adjust. It's better to have them try to earn
extra spending money during the summer.
Mom of 2 college kids
Have child entering UCSC in the fall. Since UC prefers interfacing
with the student, rather than the parent, is it better to give my son
a set amount from which he can use to pay for UC expenses (not
including tuition) and other living expenses? We are a middle class
family on a budget. How much is reasonable, perhaps $300 into his
Newbie college parent
Well, this is what we are doing (daughter also attending UCSC!), and
I'll be curious to see what others have done. She will have to two
accounts, one for living expenses and one for tuition (books and other
school related expenses). I was going to start by giving her $150 a
month and she will have to get by on that, if it's not enough, then we
will figure out what she's spending money on and how much more she
needs. Food is covered with the meal plane and I can't imagine that
there will be that much to spend money on besides soap, laundry, and
the occasional movie or concert. Clothes: she can wear the ones she
has or shop at the thrift store, there's a good one in SC.
on a tight budget
My son goes to UCBS. The first year he lived in the dorms. We told
him we would pay his cell phone, room & board, books & tuition. In
practice we've also paid some of his expenses travelling between
school & home. The rest (clothes, entertainment, extra food) was his
problem. After a couple quarters of ''living poor'' he found a
parttime job on campus and opened a checking account.
Next fall he'll live off campus. They only have one year leases in
Isla Vista, and parents must co-sign; fortunately we only had to co-
sign for his rent, not the entire house. We're paying $600/mo rent
for his shared room, plus his share of utilities, and giving him
$500/month for food. He's hoping to organize coop food buying and
cooking with his roommates. We'll be depositing money in his
checking account up here. It's up to him to make it work.
College Parent on Austerity Budget
I have 2 questions:
1. What is an appropriate monthly allowance amount for a
HIGH SCHOOL senior (girl); enough to pay for "everything" --
meals out, entertainment, yearbook, gifts for friends, prom,
2. What is an appropriate monthly allowance amount for a
COLLEGE STUDENT (boy) in Los Angeles; enough to pay for
everything EXCEPT school costs (we pay for tuition, fees,
room & board, books, flights home. He does not have a car)
Thhinking about allowance for highschool seniors and
college students. In some ways the answer depends on your
own family finances. You cannot give them more than you
can afford, but need to balance that with a reasonable
figure. So here is what we did.
For the high school senior, we gave our daughters $100 a
month beginning their freshman year. We knew it wasn't
much. They had to budget for everything. We paid for
shoes and coats as well as first of year school supplies.
They learned to budget, not to lend money to unreliable
people and set priorities. If I was to do it again, I
think I'd add another 25 to 50, but no more. We didn't ask
the kids to work in school, they were busy enough with
school and organized activities. If they had asked for
more money however, ''get a job'' would have been our reply.
As for the freshman, we also paid for everything and gave
her $200 a month for spending money. That was all we
could afford, and in retrospect another 100 wouldn't have
hurt her. But... She became a killer ''budgeter'' and
learned to set priorities. I didn't always agree with her
priorities, but she was at least clear on the coxt/benefit
of each decision. She did get a job after freshman year
because she did want more money. That was another
Bottom line, give them what you can, many kids have no
money, but don't be so generous that they do not learn to
set priorities and budget. Those are important life
lessons that you need them to know before they graduate.
We are preparing our budget for our daughter to go off to
San Jose State in the fall. Beyond books, what have
others put in for expenses for their freshman student.
Our college freshman gets $100/month spending money and we
also provide $75/month for his cell phone (he's in Canada,
so it's a little more pricey). This seems reasonable, since
all other expenses are covered. The only thing he has to
pay for are personal items and laundry. He's been informed
that the hand-out stops at the end of this academic year. I
hope against all evidence that this will motivate him to
work this summer and/or next year at college.
I also hope to have him take out a student loan so that he
feels some investment in his college education. Having
never filled out the FAFSA, I don't know whether he will
qualify, but I think it's a good experience for a college
kid to be responsible for at least a small portion of his
Mom of college freshman
Our son is in his Freshman year at Humboldt. For this
year we have paid for tuition & fees, dorm and meals at
the cafeteria (a plan), books, phone (cheap land line in
his room), plus $100 per month for allowance for him to
spend as he needs/wants on necessities, clothes, outings,
etc... If he wants/needs to spend more than that it comes
from his savings or he needs to get a job (hasn't so far).
He does not have his license yet so paying nothing for
I personally would like to have him contributing a little,
but my husband and I have agreed on this for this year (my
husband likes to cover more than I do).
We have said that gradually our son will need to start
contributing to his own education, but have not come up
with dollar amounts yet.
Also, when a friend gives him a ride back home to Berkeley
we give him $ to pay the friend for gas plus a little.
Hope this helps, and good luck.
mom of college student
My daughter will attend college in New York City this fall
and we're already wrangling over money issues. She has no
savings but is expected to get a job this summer to
supplement whatever we decided to contribute (she's already
pushing to increase our share). The big question for me is:
What's the best way/best tools to use to protect against
over-spending while giving the student financial
independence and responsibility?
I have several specific questions on this topic and welcome
any general advice/comments:
1) Do/did you give your college freshman an allowance for
discretionary spending? If so, how much and how did you
arrive at an amount?
2) Does your student use a credit card? Debit card? VISA
Bux (or whatever it's called) card?
3) What's worked and what hasn't?
Our son is completing his freshman year. We told him last
year that we would pay his tuition, housing (dorm +meal
plan), his books and supplies and his cell phone. He had
to supply all his spending money. He didn't work his
senior year but was expected to work over the summer. He
made enough money over the summer (plus he received almost
$700 in gift money)and had he budgeted he could have made
it last all year, but despite his having a plan and
generally always following a budget in the past, he went
through it all by winter break. He went a bit wild, spent
most of it shopping. We stayed clear, we were not going to
give him money. He had no money and was home a month over
Winter break, we did front him his tax return, he went
back second semester and got a job on campus which not
only pays him but he can study while working and he will
do it again next year. . The same will hold true for next
year, although he will be sharing an apt. He will get
roughly the same amount as we paid for the dorm, he will
need to use it for rent, utilities and it will leave him
about $300/month for food. I feel strongly that if we pay
all his school expenses, he should be able to cover his
spending money. I will buy things he needs, but not
another pair of shoes or another shirt when its not
needed. (That's also not to say that when he has come
home, I've been known to slip him movie money or give him
a bit when he leaves). New York is also an expensive city,
I don't know what her living arrangements will be, etc.
You may need to give her an allowance or pay for a monthly
transit card, determine a set amount for certain things.
I asked a similar question about college student allowances here last fall and
didn't get much response, so good luck. For our freshman son living on
campus, we've given him $100 a month; he thinks it's way too little, but we
give him lots of opportunities to earn money when he's home. He uses a
debit card that we replenish at the beginning of each month. We reimburse
his textbook expenses and some other items that seem pretty important. We
buy most of his clothes. He's still paying $40 a month for a cell phone that
we think is unnecessary and don't want to subsidize.
My daughter is finishing her freshman year at UC Davis (a
far cry from NYC) so I don't know how helpful this will be.
We are a work in progress but I'll share our experience.
I transfer $150 a month into an account we share. She
transfers money from it to hers (so I don't see her detail
activity.) (I use Wells Fargo. You might look into
Citibank.) $150 for her seems to be just under "enough but
she makes it work and scrimps at the end of the month. She
HAS learned how much a coffee or a Jamba juice costs, and
doesn't buy those luxuries very often! She spends most of
it on costs related to her club sports team. She does give
some away - I know she gave some to support the AIDS walk and
some to tsunami relief. She has bought very few articles
of clothing and is much more "sale conscious than she ever
was when I was paying.
She has a debit card only. No credit card yet. (My son, a
senior at UCSC still only uses a Visa debit card.) They
both understand the concept of a debit card and watch
carefully so that they don't overspend. Both have checking
accounts that link to these debit cards. (Actually, I take
that back. They both have an American Express card - my
husband's account - that they can use with his permission in
case of an emergency.)
My husband was not very happy with the monthly $150 (my
daughter and I left him out of the discussion---I wish that
we had all talked about it so you're ahead of the game
there.) He felt it totally eliminated any incentive to work
but it seems that isn't quite true (she jumped at the chance
to earn some money last weekend by doing heavy yardwork for
me and babysitting for a family she babysat for in high school.)
Good luck. I think we're all muddling through this process.
Maybe someone who has it all figured out will write in and
share with all of us!
Because they were only two replies, I thought I'd add
mine, for what it's worth. My husband and I have two kids
who've now graduated, one from a UC last year, and one
from an incredibly expensive private college in NY this
year. They had different deals with us because the private
school cost about $20K per year more than the UC. For the
UC student, we paid tuition, room, board, books,
transportation to and from home as often as he wanted, and
cell phone. He is a thrifty person, which is great, but
this also led to a problem that with us paying all of the
basics, he had little or no incentive to work. So we told
him we'd get him a car if he got a job, and he did. For
the private college student, we paid tuition, room and
board, and required her to be responsible for books,
transportation to and from school, and all personal
expenses. She also had to take out $3K in loans per year
towards tuition. (Our expenses for her were still far
more than for the UC Davis student.) No allowance, for
sure, although I did make a point of giving her as many
earning opportunities as I could. She worked 10 hours a
week during school (in the library, so she could study)
and more during vacations. She did a lot, including going
abroad for her junior year, so it seemed to work out
fine. It seems to me to be very important that kids learn
independence and financial responsibility, and that part
of the college experience is, frankly, being poor. I
worked during college, except for freshman year, and the
more hours I worked, the better grades I got. Having more
time on my hands just made me waste more of it.
Some of our teens are starting college this fall. Most will still need help from their parents for living expenses. I'd like parents to comment anonymously on how much they think a college kid needs per month for expenses other than tuition, room and board, and books. Please specify whether or not this includes clothes or any other major category I haven't mentioned.
thanks from an anonymous mom
Last year I gave my college freshman daughter $200 per
month for expenses. She used the money for food outside
the cafeteria, movies, clothes and supplies. This year,
she is starting off with money she earned working full
time during the summer, and I don't plan to give her any
spending money until she has exhausted her own.
mother of a college student
Thanks for bringing up this topic -- I didn't realize I
needed the advice!
When my kids are/were in high school, I switched to a
monthly allowance of $150 for non-necessities, including
clothes. It immediately stopped my son from being a
clothes-horse, but my daughter works at finding ways
to ''save'' her money and use mine.
Now that one is in college, I'll continue the practice --
perhaps increasing it to $175. What do you think?
I have two kids in college - one lives at home and one lives
out of state. The one who lives out of state has a Visa card
for "allowance" and keeps it to about $150-200/month. This is
for things like CDs, toiletries, socks, and the occasional meal
out. Any big expenditures like clothes, a weekend trip, etc.
get cleared with mom first. My child who lives at home gets
$150/month which includes lunches, BART tickets, and minor
entertainment expenses. Both kids have part-time seasonal jobs
and end up stockpiling a little money.
I'm having $150/mo put into my daughter's account
and it's worked really well (probably because it's a large enough sum (for her) that she feels she can make it work, and a large enough sum (for me) that I'm clear that that's all I'm going to give her in a month.
Allowance for High School Students
I have a 15 year old son who is a sophmore at Berkeley High and I
am interested in what kind of allowance other parents give their 15
year olds, especially boys. At present I am not giving him an
allowance, just lunch money a once or twice each week,(he eats in
the cafeteria on the other days), and a little bit of spending money
on the weekends. But I feel that I should give him a set amount of
money, so that he will learn to manage his own finances. I have
another son who is in 6th grade, almost 12 yrs old, and he would
like an allowance also, but we haven't come up with an amount yet.
Do any parents require that their kids do a certain number of chores
each week or day to earn their allowance? Any advice other parents
want to share would be helpful.
My two teenage girls (15 & 16) earn $25.00 each week by cleaning our
entire house, save for my bedroom and bathroom. They are responsible
for purchasing their own bus passes from this money, and if the chores
are not done properly (within reason) they will get money deducted
from their monthly total.
They are paid on the first of each month, and the money is
transferred into their own bank accounts; my being co-signer on each
one. They can then use their debit cards to access their money as they
This system seems to be the only one that I have ever gotten to work,
and the girls seem to enjoy it, and the fiscal education themselves.
You're right that having an allowance will help teach kids to manage
their money. You have to be willing to let them make mistakes.
We gave our children weekly dollars equivalent to their age,
although sometimes their allowance was allocated to other things--
one-third to savings, for instance. But then, we were willing to
track it in a notebook. In high school, we decided to give one very
responsible child a monthly allowance, equivalent to what we had
been spending on her, from which she could buy her own clothes and
presents for friends.
ABSOLUTELY require your kids to do chores! Apart from YOU needing
them to learn to be good roommates, THEY need housekeeping skills.
Anyone who goes away to college should know how to clean a bathroom,
bedroom, and kitchen; use the dishwasher and scrub pots; take out
garbage, change a bed, do laundry; and shop for and cook at least
one inexpensive meal like spaghetti. Younger kids can put away clean
dishes and sweep the steps/patio/garage, and feed and exercise pets,
water plants? You can think of other things. Our kids did more
chores before high school, when homework and activities became
It's probably better not to tie the allowance directly to the
chores, although it makes for a tempting consequence to withhold
allowance if chores aren't completed. Better to teach a moral
obligation to contribute to the family as they are able, and for
them to understand that they get an allowance as a member of the
family, according to the family's resources.
Hang In There
My son is 14, a freshman in high school. He gets $20.00 a week which
sounds like a lot but he can use it to buy lunch at school if he
chooses and to buy gifts for his two sisters and me - he is very
generous. If he wants a big ticket item he has to buy it for himself,
such as expensive video games or an IPOD.
Hello. I have a 15 yr old and she can earn money by doing certain
chores at home. I also give her $20/wk for clothes. I buy her
jackets, shoes, bras. Otherwise I do not give her money except for $8
once a week for lunch. I have all the materials for lunches at home
and she can make her own the rest of the time. She is finally
learning to budget her money and has managed to save quite a bit and
is proud of herself for doing so. Good luck, it's a difficult issue
My kids are in college now, but when they were in junior high and
high school, I gave them a weekly allowance equal to their age in
dollars; so my 15-year-old got $15 a week. I also told them there
would be all the ''fixings'' for school lunch in the house, so they
could make their own (or cajole me to make it) and use their money
for other things, or spend it on food at school, their choice. They
took a ''cut in pay'' of a dollar or two a week to help defray the
cost of cell phone text msg plan, and/or car insurance. We did also
give them money for occasional special outings, and paid for
clothes, within reason. So they definitely had enough to get by,
but were also motivated to get part time jobs for a little extra
cash. With my daughter, we set up a joint checking account at the
Mechanics Bank where I had a personal savings account, and set up
the weekly electronic $$ transfer so I didn't have to remember to
have the cash on hand for allowances. Even though my name was on
the acct with hers, it's really her account, and she used her ATM
card quite comfortably to get cash or make purchases. Same setup is
continuing to work well in college, so I can easily reimburse her
for textbooks, etc, right from my computer.
We have a 17-yr old and have never given him an allowance. When he
started high school, we took him over to Wells Fargo, where he opened
a bank account, got a debit card, and started on his road to financial
freedom. During the school year, we transfer weekly lunch money into
his bank account at $6 per school day. He chooses to spend however
much of that he wishes. He banks his earnings from his summer job and
any other odd jobs (baby-sitting, yard work, etc.) he may get during
the year. (He also has a savings account at our credit union.) As for
chores around the house, we've never paid him for those, we just
expect him to help out with setting the table for dinner, mowing the
lawn, taking out the garbage, etc., which he's been agreeable to
doing. Extra expenses such as clothes for a special occasion,
transportation (bus passes, BART tickets, etc.) we take care of, but
he generally wants to handle his own personal expenses and has always
been within budget, no problems. The arrangement has worked well for
us and for him.
The amount of allowance depends on several factors: age, what you
expect the allowance to pay for and, of course, what your income is.
Prior to high school my daughter's allowance was for discretionary
spending only and was given to her weekly. When my daughter reached
high school I wanted her to have the experience of planning for
nondiscretionary spending (i.e., clothes, haircuts) so her allowance
was increased accordingly. She receives allowance twice a month and
has an ATM card so she can access funds herself. Part of her
allowance is automatically put into savings. Allowance has never been
tied to chores. My view is chores are a part of being a member of the
family. Tying chores to allowance can set you up for hearing, ''I'm
not going to do my chores, I'll just skip my allowance.''
Allowance for 15-year-old girl - $15/week - supposed to cover any
lunches she wants to buy during the week, movies, etc. Her allowance
money is supplemented by baby-sitting money. We make her lunch
whenever she wants it, usually 2x/week. 6th grade girl gets $5/week
and she spends almost none of it. Allowance isn't tied to chores,
but the girls are expected to handle dinner dishes on their own one
time per week and keep their rooms somewhat tidy, as well as help
with other household or gardening chores when asked.
I give my teen $100 per month. She has to budget in bus/BART fares to
and from school when necessary and eating out but not daily
lunches---she packs her own.
I want to ask people how they deal with their teens and the issue of
spending money. I have a 14 year old girl who is very responsible, has
many babysitting jobs, and trys to buy Old Navy or clothes on sale.
However, as she gets older her desire for things (mainly clothes) and new
experiences (movies, lunch at restaurants, bus and bart trips, skating)
increases. With a flurry of post school activities she is coming to me
daily saying "Can I have money for ....." I grew up in a rural area where
we biked, hung out on the town common, and bought clothes from the local
used clothing store. She has a different reality--this is a city, there
is so much more emphasis on material things, everyone around her seems to
spend more. I'm uncomfortable just handing her $10's and $20's for this
and that. I want her to work and pay for some of these things. She really
resists. What do others do? Do you pay for movies, meals, all or some
clothes. Do people still give an allowance at this age? If so (is this
okay to ask?) how much? How much do we give them so they are taken care
of, but not spoiled. I would appreciate hearing how others handle this.
I also have a 14yr old who will be entering HS, here is what I plan to
do, and again this has to be tested, I will give her $30 a week to
cover bus and lunch, however if she bags a lunch from home or sets up
a carpool, it's money in her pocket for movies, ice skating etc...she
also has pet-sitting jobs to supplement her income.
I don't like giving an allowance. I prefer to have more control over the
money and provide it for a choosen outfit or activity. As for how much to
give her, I would sit down with her and list all she wants and, separately,
all she needs. Compare the two amounts. See what you can work out that both
of you agree with.
You have my sympathy. I too got tired of my teen coming to me all the
time for money. I started giving me $100/month allowance, which was
to cover clothes (although occasionally I cheated and paid for a piece
of clothing), all entertainment expenses, etc. The system worked very
well. I kept my month shut about how the money was spent. When she
complained about needing clothes, I told her she had money and time.
If she wanted to buy CD's instead, so be it. Fortunately at Berkeley
High, particular clothes worn don't seem to be a major issue.
Naturally I paid for school expenses, although I decided that the
yearbook was an allowance expense. Best wishes. and P.S. they do
learn to budget.
I found the book "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees" to be helpful.
In the book, the author suggests $1/year of age (or half that if financially
it is more appropriate)
This offers money for savings, tithing/donation, spending money.
Beyond their work for pay jobs that comprise the allowance, they can earn
extra money depending on what my needs are (for example, washing the car).
For both of my sons it has worked for me to be clear, honest and consistent
and they have stepped up to being very responsible.
They have also commented on how they appreciate my placing the responsibility
For my two teens at Berkeley High, I got out of the 'human
ATM' role by opening a checking account for each of them.
I fund the account at the beginning of the month with a
set amount ($150), and it is their responsibility to
budget and make it last. The accounts have ATM cards so
they can get cash or pay for things via EFT. If they run
out of money, they have to bring lunch, walk, skip movies,
etc. I am a co-owner of the accounts so I can go online
and see where they're spending their money, transfer
funds, etc. This is also extremely handy for my daughter's
clothes shopping trips, where she'd rather go with her
friends than with me, but I worry about her carrying a lot
of cash. She pays with the ATM, and I transfer funds to
cover her purchases.
From: WR (7/99)
Some thoughts on allowance: Some parents give their kids a lot of money
and that must be used for clothing, bus passes, lunch, movies, CD's,
etc. My kids were never into "stuff" so allowance has always been more
a pocket money issue. In season, they also worked as soccer referees
which paid $10-15 per game. One did some babysitting as well. In my
mind the purpose of allowance is to teach the value of money, bugeting,
how to save for a big item, how to deal with financial mistakes and how
to avoid weekly bankruptcy. So any allowance plan that keeps this sort
of thing in mind is a good one. I never wanted to link chores to
allowance- I think chores are a necessary part of family/community life
and are non-negotiable. No one pays me to cook and they shouldn't be
paid to empty the dishwasher, unload groceries or take out the trash.
So allowance was a perk that increased with age. My 9th grader got $8 a
week and will get $10 this year. If he needs more he can babysit or ref
more. If he adds a girlfriend this year I suspect he might come and
negotiate for a raise! My college age child actually doesn't get any
money from us at this point beyond clothes and school expenses: books,
room and board, tuition and plane tickets to and from school. He has an
on campus job that pays well and covers his pizza and pinball habit and
anything else he needs.
Another thing to consider is what your child wants and why, beyond
"that's what my friends get". -WR
I think no allowance is best. I only give my kids money if I feel okay
about what they want to buy. If they want to choose what to spend money
on, they have to earn it themselves.
And about all of us who do housework for free. Maybe we should all go
next door to do it. Then we could get a salary, social security and
Re: allowance. Our 13 year old son receives $35/month.(Our 11 year old
$20/month). He must pay for all his independent social activities, yearbook,
hanging out money, etc. About once a year he complains that other kids get
more, but we say tough, other kids get less.
We re-evaluate every year, based on growing independence and social
requirements. Next year, when our son is in high school we will decide
together how much extra he will need for bus money, lunches, school functions
We do not attach any responsibilities to allowance because we decided that we
wanted allowance to be about learning financial management. He began to
receive allowance at age 4, with the requirement that 1/2 go into long term
savings (at that age, for something that cost more than $10) and some go to
charity. We no longer have these guidelines, because the habits have been
This process has worked with both our children. They have savings accounts,
they contribute to charities, and they seem to enjoy having money to spend on
themselves. They have made the transition from a weekly allowance to a
monthly allowance with no problem. We feel that they will make smooth
transitions to checking accounts and charge cards by high school and will not
be in credit card debt on their own in college.
We do not require that they buy clothing with their own money, but we set
limits. If they want shoes, etc. that cost more than we feel is reasonable,
they can pay the difference, choose something in our price range, or go
without. When they ask us to buy them something we do not want to purchase,
they know not to ask again if we say "you can use your own money."
Hope this helps.
My kids have always received as many dollars as their grade in school, so a
7th grader receives $7 per week. No chores attached. All funds are
discretionary, so if she wants expensive sneakers, she can pay the
difference. If she wants to buy lunch instead of taking it, that's her
choice. Or buy candy, or save up for extra clothes. If I intended for her
to buy lunch regularly, I'd add that to her allowance.
By the time my son was in high school, he drove me nuts asking for clothes,
shoes, yearbooks, fancy pens, etc etc etc etc, so now I write him a check
every month which he can put into a checking account and take care of his
own "needs" and make the choices. This does include clothes, lunches,
school supplies and haircuts. (Most of it is going to comic books and junk
food, which is hard for me to accept, but at least he doesn't ask me for
clothes. I figure this is how he'll learn.)
The 17-year-old presented an itemized proposal for a monthly allowance
that includes lunch money, bus fare, and clothing including long-term
purchases like shoes and jackets. We give him $130 on the first of
every month to cover these expenses and he does a good job of managing
his money. His allowance does not include money for movies, games,
junk food, or other entertainment. He's expected to earn money for
those doing heavier chores, and also gets money bonuses for A's and
B's. The 15-year-old does not get allowance because repeated trials
have shown that he spends whatever is in his pocket at once. So he
gets money daily for lunch and transportation, and is given bigger
chunks for (supervised) clothes shopping trips. He also is expected
to earn money for entertainment. For both kids though, we pay for
books, concerts, and music (including CDs we don't even like) because
we think the arts are important.
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