children's allowance

It’s about that time around here. Simone and Nadia need to earn money so that they can learn how to spend it. They empty the trash in their bathroom, wipe the counter, help load the washer and dryer. How much is that worth?

A national survey for the American Institute of CPAs says children receive about $65 a month for allowance. That’s about $15 a week. That’s a lot of money for a 7- and 5-year-old.

If Simone and Nadia get that much I know I’ll be borrowing some of it back. Really. Mommy needs a new blouse. Can I have just a few of your dollars?

I’m not sure they need that much purchasing power. Most of the things they like costs $20 or less. Lately, they have gravitated to a boutique in the mall that specializes in accessories for girls. They look and look at the make-up, jewelry, and hair bobs.

Maybe $20 is more in order. Any suggestions?

5 thoughts to “Allowance

  • Abby

    We got the amount of money in dollars that we were old each month (so $5/month at 5 and so on).  It wasn’t very much, but it did mean that we had to save up for several months for items in the $20 range.  The long time saving usually meant that we REALLY wanted the thing when we eventually bought it, having waited so long, or decided to save our money for something else.

  • KC in Russia

    Your instincts are right to aim lower than the ‘average’.

    We give our kids $1 an hour for chores. (A quarter per 15 min is the usual measure of the regular chores.) But we cap the amount for our 10 year old at $10 a week. I still think it’s a lot. He works very hard, even getting up before anyone else so he can empty the dishwasher and make breakfast. That’s worth a lot to me! The toys he likes are usually over $100. And we don’t ever spend that much on gifts, so he has to save money for them.

    If I was starting again, I would cap it even lower, partially because of our own budget, and partially for his sake. How many lego ships can one really fit in our apartment? We do require that he donates 10%.

    When our younger ones catch the ‘its-worth-it-to-do-chores’ bug, we’ll have to lower the cap to fit them all in our budget!

  • Jen Marshall Duncan

    I also agree that you are right to aim lower than the average. Honestly, with what the media reports as median income, I wonder who can afford to pay their kids that much in allowance! 

    In our house we have two kinds of chores: the daily and the weekly. The daily things: pick up your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper, put your dishes in the sink, put clean clothes away, and just generally clean up after yourself. These are things that my children struggle with every day, and that help the upkeep of our house immensely since they have 2 working parents and lots of extracurricular stuff. The weekly chores involve deep cleaning. 3 kids rotate through a list of chores: vacuuming upstairs/downstairs/on the stairs; cleaning the bathroom;  dusting/polishing woodwork and cleaning mirrors/glass. They each earn $5/week or $20/month for that. We don’t differentiate by age, and if they don’t do the work for a day we deduct from their earnings. They can choose not to do chores and not get paid. If  one of them neglects their weekend chores, someone else can pick them up for extra funds. It’s an imperfect system (sometimes they all choose not to do their chores! Drives me nuts!) but then they don’t have money for anything extra they want, so I think they learn the lesson. Let us know how you work out chores/allowance for your girls!

  • Blanc2

    We gave about $5/week to our kids, but when our son got into high school we increased it to about $20, then $40, because he uses it for things like extra food in the cafeteria, etc.  Plus, as a boy, he’s expected to foot the tab when he goes out with his girlfriend.

  • Claudia

    My kids also have daily and weekly jobs. I pay them at the end of the month. My 7 yr old gets $10/month, my 10 yr old gets $15/month and my 13 yr old gets $25/month plus another $25 clothing allowance. All of my children have managed to save their money for things that they really want. My son is currently saving for an ipod and my youngest likes to buy coloring/drawing supplies. 
    My oldest buys all of her clothing with her clothing allowance. I agreed to buy her one pair of tennis shoes for gym class, one pair of dress shoes, winter coat, boots, hat and mittens, and any sports equipment. Of course I buy her clothes now and then as a little gift but it’s expected that she purchases the rest. 
    I don’t think that $65 is really the norm for any elementary school kids. That sounds like something a high schooler might get. Right now my oldest gets more allowance than my younger kids because she has some baby-sitting responsibilities a few days a week. It sounds like you already have an idea of what you think is reasonable for you children. 

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