Allowance or paid chores for kids?

Just wondering what your views were on this. And how much?

We have gone the allowance route. Want the kids to expect to do certain things just because they are part of the family. Don’t want them to have the option of saying “No”, cause they don’t need/want the money right then. And other than keeping their rooms clean and getting good grades, they don’t have a lot of specific chores. But they are expected to pitch in pleasantly and do a good job when we ask them to, whether folding laundry, walking the dog, setting/clearing the table, raking, etc.

If you pay for specific chores, which ones and how much?

We give rather low allowances because we feel like we buy the kids just about everything the need/want (within reason). My 9 and 10 year olds get $2 a week, and my 12 year old is in jr. high and gets $5. And their allowance is theirs to spend however they want. Being the original cheap ass polack, sometimes it bugs me when they blow a few bucks on some total piece of crap, but that was how we set it up. And they might learn something that way.

Occasionally if a kid wants something expensive and can’t wait for birthday (or x-mas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc. - doesn’t take much of a holiday for us to give out presents) we might try to identify some specific work out fo the ordinary for a few bucks, but that doesn’t happen often.

(And we won’t even touch the tooth fairy’s going rate. My kids long ago realised that the toothfairy that visited Casa Dinsdale is a cheapskate.)

One of these days I’ll post something that doesn’t have to do with kids. Oh yeah, that will be right after I GET A LIFE!

Sounds like you’ve got it about right.

Some cool things my parents did to teach me about money & saving:

–Half of all birthday money and money earned from after school jobs was put directly into savings accounts. No exceptions. My brothers and I could spend the rest on whatever cheap crap we wanted. Your instinct to not comment is good! The second half of that lesson is when they blow their money on cheap crap, but then want something else, you make them save for it.

–We were encouraged to save our dough for big things - foreign language class trip to France, musical instruments, etc. Parents would pay 1/2, we would pay the other 1/2. If we didn’t have enough saved by the time the thing came around, parents would pay and we’d pay them back later. I spent my entire childhood saving for one goal or another.

–We were encouraged to write down everything we spent to keep track. GREAT habit to develop.

>> GREAT habit to develop

Yup, good habits are learnt young

My sister and I never received an allowance that I can recall.

We were expected to help out around the house; when chores were done “points” were awarded. When the two of us had enough points, special things were done - a trip out to a favored restaurant, a trip to one of the local amusement parks (yes, those were a LOT of points; we had to work together to get them).

If there was something I wanted to buy, I had to either find extra things to do to earn money (bathing the dog was always good. :D) or justify the expense to my parents.

But I think the saving half of all birthday/allowance/chore/christmas/other holiday money is a good idea, and would probably have helped me learn how to handle money far better than I do now.

I got 5 dollars twice a month (in the 80s). I could buy lunches for 5 days or spend it on something else. Either way, I went without a midday meal most of the time.

When I started baby sitting and earning extra money by sewing and getting a summer job, I was then expected to pay for most of my clothes and all of my makeup and other optional personal items like hair barrets, art supplies etc. I learned early not to save either because my lazy ass brother would not work for money and sometimes i was forced to buy him stuff. It is only fair if you have something to share with the less fortunate.

That is nearly the worst system to have. Avoid it. It sounds like you are doing fine.

Dinsdale, I totally agree with your way of doing things.
My mother (and now me) don’t get paid to do housework … why should the kids?

I think the allowance should be low and not dependent of chores … however, other privileges should be linked. If you don’t uphold your responsibilities you don’t get the privileges. But the allowance should be weekly, and should be used to teach kids the value of money. One good way to do that is to make it a condition of the allowance that a set portion (10%?) is set aside for savings, each and every time. Some parents even encourage their kids to give some money to a charity of their choice.

I’m with Brunetter on this one.

People who live in a household are expected to contribute to it to the best of their ability. We don’t get paid to do this, it’s part of life and living with other people.

With occasional prompts, and on a regular basis, my eight (almost nine) year old daughter, M., does her own laundry, keeps her room cleam, generally picks up after herself, practices her voice lessons, and feeds the fish.

M. gets $20.00 per month, in a single monthly installment. Up until last month she got $12.00 per month, but she’s started to appreciate music more and I wanted to ensure she could afford a new CD each month if she chooses. Usually, she saves a few bucks each month, but she went bongo this month with the $20 spot, and blew the whole thing.

If she takes a little extra initiative, I will sometimes give her some extra cash or, more often, take her for some sort of special treat - movie, ice cream, butterfly pavillion, lunch at her favorite place… I try to explain that she’s being rewarded for doing something simply because she saw that it needed to be done.Bonus rewards are usually larger tasks - cleaning the kitchen or vacuuming the house - that she wouldn’t normally be asked to do at this point.

She doesn’t get paid for grades. Personal satisfaction and copious amounts of praise and encouragement from the adults in her life are her only rewards for education performance.

If she asks for specific ways to earn money, we usually set up some out of the ordinary tasks for her to do.

My wife and I have decided to put children off until we become actual grownups, so I’ll just have to tell you how I was raised.

My parents employed a form of Enlightened Absolutism in our household. We were not equals - they loved us and cared for us and their word was law. We rarely argued (though we did shirk our duties occasionally) because they’re smart people and usually had good reasons for what they said.
We helped out around the house, without expecting anything in return. Our parents did a lot more chores than we did, so we couldn’t see anything unfair about that. We did because it was our responsability as members of the family.We also didn’t get paid for grades - we we expected to be smart enough to realize that grades we for us, not for them.

We did not recieve an allowance. If we needed something, they gave us money; if we wanted something, we’d have to tell them what. Usually, we got what we wanted, within reason: books (always), movies (if it wasn’t more than once a week), food and toys (within reason). Of course, if we had pissed them off lately, we would find their geerosity somewhat curtailed. Occasionally they would give us money just for the hell of it, or let us keep the change from large purchases. We did not recieve weekly payments; we were their children, not their employees.

I love my parents very much.

I was raised on the allowance by chore theory. I was not required to save money and could spent my allowance in any way. I did not do chores unless I wanted something and usually blew my money all at once.

My wife and I do about the same as Dinsdale. We give our children a lower allowance, saving 25% is required, and chores are just expected.

This seems to be working out better than the system my parents used.

Several of you mentioned saving a portion of allowance/birthday gifts, etc. My wife and I have become somewhat disillusioned about the value of savings accounts - they are so remote to my kids that they are almost invisible, and the passbook interest is so low, it doesn’t really encourage saving other than because mom and dad said so.

One of these days/years/lifetimes we intend to initiate a system modelled after an article we read in The Atlantic Monthly a year or so ago, and open The Bank of Mom and Dad. (Let me know if you can’t easily find it on-line and I’ll dig up a link.) We will keep the books, and give them regular statements they can easily understand. We will pay them a higher rate of interest compounded monthly, so they can see some definite benefits to savings. And we will impose some standards concerning how long the savings must stay in, the amount/percentage that can be withdrawn at any time, amounts requiring bank official’s approval, etc. More work for us, but should make it a more meaningful experience for the kids.

I agree, kids should not be paid for getting good grades, but we usually manage to tie a trip to the ice cream shop to the receipt of good report cards.

It is going to be interesting to see how my eldest daughter’s approach to money changes now that she has begun babysitting - with the right gig, she can pull in $25 a night, a sum previously unthought of to her.

Thanks for the input.

With the kids now being teenagers, but still in that awkward stage where they can’t get hired to work for real money, this gets even more awkward.

We’ve decided to pay for “necessary” expenses. This includes school lunches, school-sponsred activities, church youth group stuff, etc.

Anything else they want, they can do chores for us or for someone else. This still gives us the leverage, when they get all whiny, to ask “and what have you done for me?”

Our daughter, whose wants are few, babysits once a week and doesn’t even spend that. Our sons have come up with a variety of money-making schemes, from lawn-mowing to caddying, in an attempt to raise cash.

I didn’t get any allowance and very little for chores opptunities. I was encouraged to seek outside funds. I had a paper route then the pennysaver. the pennysaver was once a week and less (but more /hr) then I figured it out. Since I was delivering the pennysaver anyway, why not include my own ad. so I did to blacktop driveways and made much . I started to only deliver the pennysaver and my ad and ignore anyother flyer that was suppose to be included.
here is where i believe my parents (mainly my father) went wrong, he never would let me save any of the money, he would widdle away at it till all was gone. It wouldn’t seem like that much, he wanted 10% then wanted me to pay for my expences then when he saw I still had some made me pay for occational bills like auto insurance BEFORE i drove. in his mind he was getting 10% + some expenses but in reality he was getting almost all.
I went to him and tried to make a deal I would give him 50% of what I made, I would take 10% for my spending $ and put 40% into savings - he wouldn’t go for it.

We had an allowance based on our chores being done. If I remember right it was like 2.00 a week. But that was a long time ago!

I don’t have children but I do hire some kids in the neighborhood to do stuff around the yard. If I had kids I’d expect a certain amount of help just because they live here too but I’d want them to also have access to earning money and saving it up for things they really want.

I think chores and/or an allowance allows kids a certain measure of responsibility and also instills in them that the things they want cost money. I can’t remember a better feeling than working my butt off all summer in order to buy some skates. I don’t think I would have treasured them nearly as much if my parents had just given them to me.

My opinion…

If you want to teach kids how to handle money, then you just give them a straight allowance.

If you want your kids to associate money with earning it, then you base their allowance on chores.

When I finally got tired of grounding my boys for not doing chores, I made it most of it money based. When they saw the cash advantage, they picked the pace very well. I think either way works well, depending on your goals and your kids personality. My own views tend toward money should be earned and not given, so I do pay for most chores. However, I also think that as a part of this family, they do have to contribute a certain amount without expectations of payment, so certain chores are just required.

My folks were rather draconian about money when I was younger. I hit the age where money was starting to be important to me right about the time when my folks were in pretty dire straits financially.

So, as a result, I got no allowance, didn’t get paid for normal chores or anything like that.

BUT… and this is where my friends universally envied me, any money I did earn/save/whatever, was totally and absolutely mine with no strings. They figured that I earned it, so it’s my money. I had carte blanche to buy as many knives, playboys, firecrackers, etc… that I could afford. Of course, if I got caught with those things, I’d get in trouble for having them, not for how I got them.

Mom and Dad paid for normal “necessary” expenses & things that I absolutely could not afford. For example, most clothing(although expensive “cool” clothes were my problem), Boy Scout camp, anything needed for school, etc…

I paid entirely for any snacks, fast food, movies, video games, bicycle parts, computer parts, etc… that I wanted. So I worked like a dog mowing yards, babysitting, etc… as well as saved my money like a miser in order to get the stuff I wanted.

I will admit that I did resent a couple of my best friends whose parents seemed loaded at the time & bought them pretty much what they wanted, and always better versions than I could afford. Seemed to me that I just couldn’t try hard enough to get what I wanted.

Of course it’s kind of weird now- of that group, I’m the one with the money.

Both my sons were given ‘straight’ allowances NOT tied to chores. HOWEVER, they were ‘punished’ if I had to remind them more than twice to finish their ‘chore charts’ (they both had set jobs they were expected to do and they got to rent a video at the end of the week if they did their jobs particulary well, or had looked for other things to do) I would subtract amounts. It never happened more than once or twice.

Ten percent of their allowance was always put aside into savings account, and now both have sizable bank books. I didn’t give them extra money for anything. If they ran out, it was ‘sorry, you should plan better next week.’

As for making them more responsible with money, it can still just depend. DJ, my oldest son, is wonderful with money, Billy, my youngest, but still sixteen, is horrid with money. Not that he spends voraciously, he’s just careless. If asked how much he has at any given time, I get a shrug. I’m HOPING he outgrows this, but who knows?

I got 5 bucks a week around 1969, what on earth can you buy for 5 bucks a week these days??

Im for having them do work for the money. That’s how real life is later. They must learn what the real world is like. When they turn 18 they should pay rent. Keep the money, give it back to them some day in the future. Unless you don’t have a lot of money, you could ask for rent sooner.