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Cold, Hard Cash

We were visiting with friends a couple weeks ago, and their five year old was excited to show us what she bought with her allowance. They start giving their kids allowance at age five, with no strings attached (ie: they don't have to actually do their chores to get it--everyone gets paid regardless...kind of like the lazy guy at the office who still gets paid...but I digress). So, what do you do/plan to do about allowances? What's the going rate nowadays? (I'm guessing the quarter a week that I got might not cut it anymore. In retrospect, that was pretty cheap even when I was little, but I was still extremely excited to get real money!) Do they have to meet certain expectations to get paid? How often will they get their allowance?

We don't really know what we'll do. I'm thinking we'll wait to start giving allowances until they ask for it, thus buying myself as much time as possible. We definitely want to teach the tithing/saving/spending breakdown from the beginning. And I think it should be contingent on fulfilling some sort of obligation, be it chores or lessons completed. And we'd probably pay them when Brian gets paid, so we can all fill out tithing slips and talk about money we want to save together. However, since this is all theoretical, I'd love your input!


The Paynes said...

We don't do allowances yet, and my boys are 6. Sometimes, I'll buy them something they want if they do something for me/us, but usually, I just expect them to help regardless of payment. Or, I'll make them cookies if they clean the playroom/play nicely/rake leaves... I like the idea of them earning and saving, but I am worried they'll only help to get something from me. I think, being paid for a job has to be above and beyond the things I normally ask of them. I use the adage, "I don't get paid a dime and I cook/clean/do everything in this house, why should you make more money than me?" That works.

The Mortensens said...

This is a great question. I'm interested to see what people say because we never got allowances. I'm not the most frugile person either, I think my parents figured that being the 8th child of 8, with an institute teacher dad would teach me some frugality, with or without an allowance. I wish they would have done a bit more to help me out!

Janalee said...

I'm so glad you asked about allowances! I was just thinking about it this week. Growing up we generally did not get a monitary allowance just for being born to my mom and dad. As members of our family we were expected to contribute to the regular routine of family responsibilities. We were "rewarded" with the regular family blessings that are to be expected when a family works together. If we wanted to eat we had to contribute to meal time (setting table, washing dishes, cooking for the older kids). If we wanted clean clothes we were expected to help with the laundry. If our assigned contributions were not completed we could not participate in that blessing (we would have to eat by ourselves after everyone else ate dinner and usually we had to eat leftovers from a previous night-whatever my mom didn't want to keep in her fridge anymore). Numerous times I was left home while my family when somewhere fun because I hadn't fulfilled my responsibilities. My parents provided us with everything we were in need of (food, clothes, transportation, lessons, etc.). But if we wanted money to purchase something we wanted my dad always had a list of extra jobs that needed to be done (usually seasonal chores) and a coresponding maximum amount of money we could earn for that chore. He would pay us after "inspecting our work" according to how well we did. It was also expected that we were to pay tithing on the money we earned. My poor brothers ended up depending on this list once all the girls were old enough to babysit! However, once we were babysitting regularly (or had a part-time job) we were expected to ease some of the financial burden a big family puts on dad by funding our own necessities (clothes, gas, school expenses and fees, etc).
I am a firm believer in the "you're part if this family and by such you have to contribute to this family" idea. And like in the last comment, my mom used the "I do everything for this family and I don't get paid" argument when we tried to persuade her to give us allowances for simply existing.
I'm very grateful for the work my parents taught me to enjoy. As a store manager I saw so many teens that had not been taught the value of work and as a consequence had the attitude that they just had to show up and get paid for it. Their employment never lasted long. Whereas with my circumstances I had only worked there for a year before being promoted to management and I owe it to my parents for teaching me how to work.

Laura said...

I'm loving these comments. Honestly, it was starting to seem like every article or blog I read deemed allowances as absolutely necessary now. And I'm pretty clueless, as even my quarter a week allowance only lasted for a couple months when I was maybe eight or so. I do agree with Kara, though--even though my parents didn't really give us an allowance, I wish they'd taught me more about money management while I was at home, rather than letting me sink or swim once I hit college. Fortunately, my financial analyst of a husband has taught me quite a bit over the years!

Cassi said...

I really like Janalee's comment. My family tried to separate helping around the house from allowance too but didn't do it quite as well. We had chores that we were expected to do and we weren't allowed to go out or have friends over until they were done.
Allowance was not connected with the chores. We simply got an allowance, and used this allowance on any extra clothes, food, and activities that we wanted. My parents provided the clothes and food that we needed, so this was for anything beyond that. Then when we were old enough to get jobs we didn't get allowance anymore.
I like the idea of having extra jobs that you do to earn that extra money though! Because in the end we just expected our dad to give us money. I think it's all about organization and consistency. You have to be consistent with whatever plan you chose to follow and you have to be organized so the kids know what to expect and what they have to do to earn money. They have to have some way to earn some spending money before they can get a job.
I think it also depends a lot on the kids. With me I think I could have done more to earn money, I had a lot of free time. But one if my sisters is a perfectionist and takes hours upon hours doing her homework. She's never had time for friends or anything in addition to school work really. For her it would have been impossible to expect her to do extra jobs to earn extra money. So if she had been expected to do extra things beyond her normal chores she just would have never had money. So I think there are a lot of factors to consider.

One thing my parents did that I really liked was forcing us to put 10 percent of everything we earned towards savings. Right when we'd get our money we'd take out the tithing and savings before putting the rest in our bank/wallet. This was awesome when I got married and I already had a little money stashed away.

Ok sorry for the super long comment.

Shalee said...

My parents were like my own personal unlimited ATM. Somehow my mom managed the house, the meals and everything else entirely on her own...there was never an expectation or reward to help. She's amazing! We never had an allowance but from a very young age they would give us money every week and it went straight into a savings account. They also invested in stocks for us which I think is even better than a weekly allowance. More than anything they taught me to SAVE. It helped tremendously when I got married. More than anything I think they taught me this from their example. They were always saving and always looking for the best deals so they could be frugal. They never ran out and got something immediately-like so many people do today-to keep up with The Jones'.

Thankfully my husband was also taught to save money. His parents would give a weekly allowance and then whatever they put in savings their dad would double it. This gave them incentive to save some of their allowance.

I like the idea of rewarding with cash simply because you can teach your children valuable lessons in paying tithing. I think 7-8 sounds like a good age to really start going with that since they are approaching baptism.

Kathy P said...

Hi, Just found your blog...

This is a great topic. We have tried both ways. GIving an allowance inspite of jobs done (results:lazy, demanding kids)and paying them based off of their effort in their jobs (result: fighting, not fair, headaches)

Our going rate was half the child's age per week -- so if the child was 5 he got 2.50 a week. We would pay in small bills and enough coins to make it easier to pay tithing, but that was really hard to stay on top of.

Now, we use a token economy... the kids, all of them, get one ticket each time they do something they are supposed to. If mom has to do their jobs, they get one ticket taken away. We don't use them as bribes or punishments. On saturdays, the kids can go through a treasure box of pre purchased things (webkinz, pokemon cards, video games, small walmart toys and a bunch of little stuff from Oriental Trading) They can then use their tickets to buy one of these items. Costs us about the same as allowance, and seems to be working MUCH better. We even put things in there like coupons for a late night with a friend or 1 week of no jobs...

kids like it.

Love your blog,
stop on by to mine sometime.