When did you make your kids start paying for things?

Our kids, 11 and 14, get an allowance. In addition, my son has a babysitting job a couple of mornings a week.

So he’s starting to get a little discretionary income. He’s too young to date, so he really only gets to spend it when we go places together.

Now, my son has lost the battery charger to his laptop, and I need to get him a new one. I’m considering making him repay me for it, if nothing else to teach him to be more responsible with his school things.

On the one hand, it is a school related item, and his father and I normally pick up the tab for such things.

But on the other, he lost it, and I have to replace it.

When did you make your children start repaying or purchasing things on their own? Ivylad and I are already telling the kids when they beg us to buy something, “Did you bring your money?” That generally ends the discussion, either they didn’t bring their money, or now that they have to pay for it, they are reconsidering the purchase.

I remember one time my daughter blew her entire allowance on craft items. I knew she was grabbing too much off the shelf, but I didn’t say anything until she got to the register and realized she had to start putting stuff back. It may have irritated the cashier, but I was teaching my daughter a lesson about money (oh, and having to factor in sales tax too!)

My kids (now 14 and 15) have been getting a pretty generous allowance each week for a couple of years, and they are expected to pay for any and all “extras” that they want. We’ll buy them clothes, food (but not junk food), school supplies and other necessities, but they have to pick up the tab for the movies, school dances, social activities, toys, games, etc.

I think that in your situation we would make the kid pay for at least part of the replacement cost, if not all.

I’m sixteen. I get some money from a Saturday job and some money from my parents (about £30 a month), and I pay for my lunch, my train tickets, any junk food, cinema tickets, most of that stuff. My mother buys (some of) my clothes, not because of the money but because she hates the clothes I pick out for myself, and my dad buys me any books I might want on principle. We’ve had this informal system a couple of years now, so yes, since I was fourteen.

As a slight hijack, ivylass, your story about your daughter’s brush with sales tax reminded me of something. No-one ever told me that in America, the sales tax is not included in the stated price! Whenever I’ve been in America and attempted to buy something, I’ve always forgotten this little fact. It’s most embarrassing.

My kids are 7 and 15, and they get an allowance, have generous grandparents, and my daughter has a regular babysitting job, so she usually has more cash than I do.

I pay for lunch if they want to buy it at school, and for school supplies and clothes and stuff like that, all the necessities, of course.

If we’re out, and my daughter (the 15 yo) wants a magazine or a lip gloss or a decaf coffee from Starbucks, she pays. I’m not paying for her Teen Peoples or that 6,000th LipSmacker.
Sometimes I’ll pop for a decaf for her if I’m getting one, and her attitude has been good.
If she goes to the mall with her friends, I make sure she has money, but she always has $20-30 of her own.
I do have final say over clothes, though, even if she buys them herself. She knows if it’s too slutty looking, it goes back. She went shopping with some friends over the summer and came home with a t-shirt (she claimed they all got them) that had a lacy see-thru back and glittery letters on the front that said “Try Me.” Back it went.
She wants to go on a Youth Group trip with our church, and we’re having her chip in half the money ($200 trip; she has to pay $100), so she’s trying so save up. The people she sits for pay very well, so she can save it easily. She went on a trip last year that was $400 and we paid it all, so this is no big deal for her.

My son (the 7 yo) currently has $60 in his bank. He’s pretty good about saving it up and spending it on something big. Sometimes he’ll take $15-20 and ask to go to Toys R Us and blow it all on Hot Wheels or a Nerf Football.

When we went to Georgia for Thanksgiving we told the kids we would match whatever they managed to save for the trip. The only stipulation I put was that they could only buy one piece of candy. My daughter would have blown it all on fudge if I’d let her.

I should have mentioned - the Youth Group trip: It’s not that we can’t afford the $200 trip, but we want to make her save for it. She tends to blow a lot of her money on magazines and CDs and makeup.
We thought this would give her a goal and teach her that sometimes it’s better to save up for something big rather than just constantly spending.

Around that age, it was just discretionary income for CDs, books, etc. that I wanted. Or I could save it to buy big stuff (video games).

My kids started paying for some things as soon as they started getting an allowance (age about 7), although there are still many things that we buy for them. However, if they break things through carelessness or temper, then I am adamant that they pay for those things, no matter how expensive. One child had his allowance halved for over six months to pay for something he broke in a fit of anger.

My 7 yo has been working with his grandparents at their restaurant for a year. He buys his own YuGiOh cards. He is oddly a penny pincher like his father, but is so kind hearted and has many a time offered to give us his money when his father and I discuss finances or major purchases.

That is soooo adorable! Wow I hope I have kids as kindhearted as yours, Nvme77

My 7 yo is much the same. He’s quite the saver, yet when I mention not having cash for something minor (even if I plan to whip out the debit card) he’s Johnny-on-the-spot with offering to pay for stuff.

We’re taking a vacation between Christmas and New Year’s, and my husband and I were trying to remember how much it cost last year to go snow tubing; just a casual conversation: “Was it $18? $20?” We just couldn’t remember the price.
My son piped up and said he wanted to pay for his own ticket.
It took quite a while to convince him he didn’t have to pay for that.

At about that age my kids started paying for their own stuff except for CDs and books which I think are too expensive for teens to buy as many as they should. I told the kids I consider music and books to be the same as food and within reason bought them what they wanted. School stuff and clothes were mostly parental responsibilities but sometimes a son flush with money will buy something they like.

As for the lost battery charger I’m sure he is already aware that it’s his fault and that it costs money to replace it. If it is a rare act of carelessness I’d put it down to bad luck and issue a “next time you will have to pay for sruff you lose” warning. I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking him to pay without him being aware of the consequences of carrying the thing around.

Well, he is a bit of a scatterbrain, so this wasn’t a “rare act of carelessness.” Maybe I’ll ask him to pay for half of it.

My son (13) gets a pretty good allowance. He pays for his lunches at school if he prefers to buy them - hey, I provide all the fixings here, so if he wants “restaurant style” food, he can pay for it. Otherwise, bring your lunch. I pay for clothes, necessary school supplies (he pays for extras he wants) and such - he wants something above and beyond, he pays for it. In your situation, I’d have made my son pay for the replacement.

IANA Parent, but this is how mine handled it:

My folks did not believe in an allowance. (Am I the only one?) From the time I was 12, I was told, “There are ways for kids your age to make money. Be creative, go solve your own problem and come up with your own money.” They were kind enough to offer suggestions: mowing lawns, shoveling snow, babysitting, paper routes, etc. I put up a poster at church and soon had a thriving babysitting business.

By the time I was 14, I not only paid for “fun” stuff, but school supplies, field trip fees, gym uniforms, school lunches, doctor and dentist appointments, glasses/contacts. Pretty much the only things I didn’t have to pay for were: the mortgage on the house, insurances (life, auto, home), utilties and groceries.

I put myself through college as well. YMMV. Now at the time, I totally resented my parent’s philosophy. (My StepMom’s Overall Parenting Strategy: “Ain’t no kid of yours getting any of MY money!”) As an adult, I am so glad they literally forced me into independence. By the time I was 18, I could handle all the little issues in life that caused my classmates to call home and ask for help. I haven’t asked my parents for a thing since I was about 22. It set me up for being single in my 30s and not feeling as though I have to rely on others to solve my own problems.

I’m not a parent either (I’m 17.), but I wasn’t given an allowance as a kid; the only times I ever got money from my parents was working in some form, usually house cleanup and that sort of thing (No, not my house clean-up, my dad buys and rents out houses, so after people leave, there’s always a lot to clean up.) Things around the house, I’m expected to do, like clean the house, mow the lawn, etc. I had to start paying for alll of my own stuff when I was 14, when I got a job. I got this job to pay for a $900 trip that I started saving up for when I was 12. My parents basically said “You’re of age. Go get a job.” And since, I’ve paid for everything imaginable. The only real contribution my parents have made has been buying my car. This is probably motivated by the fact that they 1) didn’t want to haul me around much longer, and 2)when my cousin was staying with us for around 3 months, they bought her a car. I’m expected to pay back half of it, which is a bit of a bad deal since I had nothing to do with the choosing of the car. Right now, I’m in debt to my parents >1500 dollars. Up to now, my parent (my mom rarely has money… my dad controls it all) is still hesitant to loan me 5 dollars for gas, and when he does, I’m expected to pay it back on pay day.
I assume that this will make me better in the long run, but boy does it suck right now.

My daughter has gotten an allowance for years - in exchange for doing chores. Even tho she has a job now, she still gets her allowance because she does the chores. She’s been buying stuff for herself since she was small.

I cover ordinary expenses for home and school. I’ll buy her shampoo and body wash, but if she wants some special fancy toiletries, it’s on her nickle. I buy groceries, but if she wants to eat out with her friends, it’s on her. She also pays her share of auto insurance, her fuel, and half of her cellphone (I do use the cell myself on occasion, and I got it for my own peace of mind) She pays her own auto maintenance, including an expensive repair when she did something particularly stupid with her car. Quite the learning experience.

She has 3 savings accounts, plus some savings bonds, and last year, she bought a $1000 CD. When she was between jobs and broke, entertainment was watching videos at home. When she’s working, she’ll go out to dinner and movies with friends. She’s become quite the discriminating consumer.

She even took her beloved parents out to dinner once. :smiley:

Same here. My parents said that they would take care of my needs and if I wanted anything else I could earn the money for it myself. Started babysitting when I was 12, found lots of odd jobs, had my first real job as a dishwasher when I was 15.

I lost my brothers waterski while waterskiing with some friends when I was 14. I have no idea how I lost that ski. I wiped out and when I came up we could not find that ski. We looked everywhere. To this day I have no idea what happened. But, since the ski was my responsibility I had to replace it. And when you are 14 earning enough money to buy a good quality slalom ski was hard.

Since money was never just given to me I think that it helped me to my feelings about money today. I’m not a tightwad. I splurge on occasion. But, I tend to only purchase things that I need or really really want. And when I do purchase something I usually do all the investigation and buy the best I can afford. I don’t buy just stuff, like crafts, nicknacks, souvenirs, etc… If I don’t have a use for something I don’t buy it. One thing my mom always asked me if I asked her to buy me something was, “what are you going to do with it?”, if I didn’t have a good anwer she said no. Just wanting something because it was cool or I liked it was not a good answer. Learned that quickly.

[slight hijack]

Do any of you pay your kids for doing chores in lieu of allowance? If so, what sort of rate do you go by?

[/slight hijack]

[kinda hijack]

Nvme77 your post reminded me of a sweet family story…

My youngest aunt is turning 40 this year. (I’m 25). In her childhood stuff, which my family rummaged through to find ammo to throw her a kick ass party, they found a list of stuff she wrote down when she was 6. It was a list of “self imposed” rules and moral guidelines she’d given herself. Item #9 on the list was:

Prêter de l’argent a papa quand il est cassé.

(Loan daddy some money when he’s broke)

It still cracks us all up. :wink: