You parents out there, where do you stand on allowances and paying for chores? I’m all for it, but my wife refuses to pay me. She said something about “it’s not call babysitting when you’re the dad.” Whatever.

When I was a kid, I never got an allowance for doing chores around the house. My parents didn’t believe in allowances. They grew up in rural China in a time when kids were expected to do chores around the hut for free. When my dad was a kid, it was his duty to milk the chickens and run 26.2 miles to sell the chicken milk at the nearest village. According to dad, he had to run uphill in monsoon-like conditions…sometimes there was also ten feet of snow.

Even though my parents didn’t believe in allowances, my mom did offer to pay me five cents to vacuum the house. My mom thought five cents was fair because we lived in a small house (our house was so small that if you took two steps through the front door, you’ll end up in the back yard). I, on the other hand, thought five cents wasn’t enough and I insisted on twenty-five cents. Bad move on my part — I ended up vacuuming the house weekly for the right to live in it.

Recently we started letting our kids spend the money they received as presents. In the past, we made a note of what they wanted and shopped around for the best price. However, when the kids are in charge of their money, they have to get the toy or book when they see it at the store. They don’t want to shop around or wait for it to go on sale. Even when you tell the kids they could get an extra toy or book if they wait, they still insist on buying it right then and there.

I like the idea of telling my kids they can buy something they want with their money. I no longer have to be the bad guy when they ask me to buy something for them. But I still feel bad when I have to tell them they don’t have enough money saved up for the toy they want. You should see their sad little faces when I tell them that.

Even though I like giving my kids a little money management responsibility, I’m still not sure if I want to pay my kids for doing chores. That’s just not how I was raised. Here’s a question for my readers: Do you give your kids an allowance or pay them for doing chores?

allowance poll


26 thoughts on “Allowances

  1. We have just started trying this with our oldest. We did something a bit different where we made a number of cards with chores on them with money values (very minimal amounts). If she does her chores and gives us her cards, at the end of the week she will get paid for the them. If she forgets to give us her cards she won’t get paid. We find that this is helping her learn some aspects of responsibility as well as giving her a little bit of money for her savings.
    .-= Dad of Divas´s last blog ..Project 365 (249/365) – Electric Shrimp =-.

  2. I wish I could discipline myself to give allowances. It would be cheaper than the alternative – buying them whatever they want. When I do make my oldest use her money to buy things, she is much more discriminating with her money than mine!
    .-= jenx67´s last blog ..i see sally =-.

  3. Your children are still young. It might take a while for them to learn the bargain-hunting aspect of things. We also make the children tithe on their earnings. I know that the money is truly given sacrificially once the money gets bigger and the children realize what they COULD have bought with the money instead of putting it into the church pot, or giving an extra offering to a missionary. :]
    .-= Mrs. C´s last blog ..GO Harry C. Alford! =-.

  4. Like you I grew up without allowance. My parents tried it a couple times but it never lasted. Once my dad said he was going to give us our allowance money to budget our lunches by ourselves, he talked it up but it never actually happened. My mom paid me for a few odd jobs – really yucky ones like picking potato bugs off the plants in the garden but when she saw how many I collected the contract changed from 5 cents each to 1 cent. I don’t think my parents had any strong feelings of for or against allowance, there just wasn’t the follow through.

    As a parent now, we’ve set up allowances for our kids. I don’t do a per job thing, for me they have to do all the basics I expect like make their beds, keep their floors clean, help when asked etc. It’s not rigid but it is realistic. If they do well they get to put their daily allowance magnet in that day of the week on our fridge chart. At week’s end the total they earned is deposited into their savings account. When they want something their money is pulled from their account. The good part of this is my daughter (11 1/2 now) doesn’t like to spend her money, she likes hearing how it’s accumulating in savings. I should add that when we started the program a few years ago I had cash to show/pay the kids each week making it very real for them. That was a lot of work and it only happens consistently now because we can electronically transfer funds to their savings. Although letting them see that process is real too. Seeing is important, it’s why putting it on the fridge for tracking progress works for us too.

    I’m writing an epistle here, but in short I think parents have so much to teach their kids that there’s no right or wrong for just one thing. In my opinion just being a member of the family means you have a level of service required and my kids hear that from me all the time. But there’s something to be said for behavior, attitude and motivation in all this too. How they do things is as important as what they do. For me I find the marble jar is a great behavior/attitude motivation system and allowance has become a good training ground for getting paid for work and budgeting your money.

    Sorry for the novel!
    .-= Holly Schwendiman´s last blog ..Potter Time Warp =-.

  5. Yes, my kids get allowances for doing their regular chores; we also expect that there are some things they’ll do just because they live here. Also, they have taken on more responsibility because of my illness.

    They don’t receive large allowances; we pretty much help them make large purchases if they’ve earned it. Regardless, every week’s allowance is divvied up three ways: one third to charity, one third for their college fund, one third to spend as they wish.
    .-= Desert Songbird´s last blog .."I Love Summer" Photo Contest – VOTING IS OPEN! =-.

  6. My parents didn’t believe in paying kids to do things around the house which was all well and good, but I left home with no clue as to how to handle money and it took a fair amount of my early adulthood to get a handle on it. Part of the problem was a lack of familiarity with the decision-making process associated with spending. My husband was in a similar boat. It made for a rocky beginning.

    We do not believe in allowances in our house. You don’t get paid in real life for just showing up. We don’t believe that regular chores should be paid for either–those are the things we do to aid in caring for ourselves and in contributing to the daily running of a household. However our approach has been to give our kids access to small amounts of money by way of doing “extra” chores -like washing the car and cleaning out the fridge. We’re hoping regular access to money and lots of coaching with respect to decision-making will help them transition to handling their own money better as young adults. This way they get to learn the important lessons of instant gratification vs saving for what you want. They also begin to associate work with earning and saving.

    1. Money management was a problem for me in college too. I had to sign over my paychecks in high school and my dad deposited them for me. So by the time college came around, I had a lot of money saved up but no experience with managing money. As a result, I spent a lot of money on text books for classes that I was not taking. The books were interesting, but they cost about $100 each and I bought a lot of extra text books. Now, as an adult, I check out most of my books from the library.

  7. We don’t believe in paying our kids for doing chores. We try to teach them that everyone in the family has to do their part to keep the household running along all nice and neat and smoothly. We also do not give allowances.

    As far as money that they receive as gifts, it gets a little tricky. My husband and I disagree over this issue. Our kids are older (8, 11, 13, 16) so I feel like they need to be allowed to make some of their own decisions on how to spend or save their money. If they spend $50 on a video game that they get bored with after a few weeks, then they learn that maybe next time they will think twice about how they spend their money. My husband, on the other hand, thinks that we should hold their money for them and make the decision on whether they can or can’t buy something they want. He almost always tells them “no” if they ask to buy something with their own money. He feels like he is teaching them to save rather than spend. It’s definitely a touchy subject in our house, as we try to find a way to compromise about this topic.
    .-= Kari´s last blog ..A Quick Note =-.

    1. I agree, it’s very tricky. We’re still trying to figure out what works best for us. It was so much easier when we held their gift money for them and shopped around for the stuff they wanted.

  8. I voted no, but there’s a catch. We pay our kids allowances, but they are not tied to chores, because we believe that chores are what everyone does to pitch in in a family. When you’re part of our family, you get allowance. Now, my kids have never refused a single chore, so it’ s never been tested, but if they did, I would probably say, “Chores are part of being in our family. If you don’t do chores, you’re saying you aren’t a full member, Therefore, no allowance for you!
    .-= Mrs4444´s last blog ..One Good Turn =-.

  9. We initially tied allowance in with specific chores, but then decided against it. Instead, we wanted the kids to do those things around the house that needed to be done without any expectation of money. So, they get a weekly allowance ($2 for my 11-year-old, $1 for my 8-year-old) no matter what. If they don’t do their chores, then they miss out on other things, like movie night.

    If there are one-time jobs, like helping move rocks in the backyard, I’ll pay them a little bit, like 50 cents. But we don’t do that very often.

  10. I dont give my kids money as such, but a few of my friends give a dollar for each year (ie 10 dollars for a 10 year old), and make the kids bank 10% a week….way too much organisation for me lol….
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..Hum Drum…. =-.

  11. Shouldn’t my kids give me an allowance for taking care of them, then? Chores are simply a contribution to the family. If they wish to earn spending money, they can ask for EXTRA jobs around the house at a negotiated rate.
    .-= Arjun Sen´s last blog ..{Magic Happens} =-.

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