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You know when I was young pocket money wasn’t such a big deal. I was one of 5 kids, and every week we got 50 cents each and the 50 cents went in our bank account.

Fast forward 30 years and there is a certain helplessness some parents feel at where and when to start.

For me it’s been about teaching our kids about the value of money. It can be difficult in the world we live in.

My kids know what to expect but they are surrounded by children who are given lots of money each day to get through their tuck-shop purchases, after school nibbles and a stop at Starbucks.

We’ve always taken our lunch to work and school. Tuck-shop is a birthday treat. If the kids want to save their money and spend it on food it’s up to them. So how do you keep it real for your kids? What do you say? And how do you decide what works best for you?

When to start

We started when the kids began to ask for money to do things. We figured that’s when we had to teach them that there wasn’t a never-ending supply and just because they want something, it doesn’t mean they should have it given to them.

How to start

We’ve tried a few different methods, my favourite, though somewhat time consuming was to have a green and red chart. If they did the things in green money got added and if they didn’t do the things in red money was subtracted.

For example:

Green – cook a meal $5, bake for snacks $2, hang out washing $1

Red – make your bed $1, clean your teeth $1, have an untidy room on Saturday morning $2

This worked wonderfully when they were younger, but now they are 15, 12 and 9 we have moved on.

The 15 year old doesn’t get pocket money.  She now babysits and teaches piano. She still needs to contribute to the family though, so does her own washing and cooks once a week amongst other things.

The 12 year old cooks once or twice a week at $5 a pop. He’s also expected to clean up the breakfast dishes each morning and hang out the odd load of washing as his contribution to family sanity.

The 9 year old asks for chores in line with what things she thinks she has to have. For example Anh Do’s latest book Weirdo 5 is in the school book club catalogue for $10. So if she gets through a list of chores before it’s due she can have it. Something like this – vacuum the car $2, vacuum the house $2, hang out washing $1, change her bed sheets $1, bake a cake $2. We give her the money as she goes, it becomes her decision whether she spends it at the tuck-shop or keeps it for the book.

We think it’s important that the kids learn to work in exchange for money or material goods.

We talk about money a lot, and they have some understanding of what contributes to high electricity bills, how much we spend on rent, groceries and other things.

They also know that if we want to go on a holiday we’re probably going to be careful about our money for a while.

So in regards to pocket money, I think do what’s right for you. But most importantly think about the values you want to teach your kids and the lessons that will help them in future when they are earning and spending their own money.

How do you handle pocket money in your house, any tips to share? Please comment below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • No money for my kids yet and I’m not sure when I’ll introduce it. They have small chores to do.

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  • At the moment she gets $2 a week. As she gets older, the base rate will go up a dollar a year, but she will have the opportunity to earn more. If she starts saving for something in particular, we will try to match her savings

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  • Once a month, I’ll put $1 in each of my kids school banking accounts, to earn the bonus interest the bank offers. Chores are expected, but no pocket money given. Every once in a while, I’ll take one of the kids with me when I get the groceries to choose a special dessert treat. We try and save up for a special treat on school holidays too, and thank the kids for their contribution to our household. Our kids have an understanding on some of our expenses, like fuel, water use, electricity use, etc. Yes, they see kids flush with money, but they know we aren’t and accept that we have to live within our means.

    Reply

  • I like my children to contribute to the household, managing their own lunch box, bags and rooms is part of this contribution. They don’t get paid for this, I would then have one boy who demand to be paid to get out of bed! Not a system that would work in this house.

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  • I expect a certain number of chores to be done independent of pocket money – they have to contribute to the family.

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  • I never received pocket money as a kid. But I resented still doing all the chores to avoid being grounded, while my friends were paid for much less.

    Fast forward to today… My kids get paid because it’s expected… How stupid.

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  • I expect my kids to help in the house without paying them pocket money for it, just because I think it’s part of life. We do give them pocket money, which they can safe or spend. We agreed that we don’t spend it on food and that I’ll make every day nice lunch boxes.

    Reply

  • I agree with children having to earn their pocket money and then learning either to save or spend, their choice. It will help them in later life when they are in the workforce.

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  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Reply

  • My kids think money grows on tress, and in our family thats far from happening, we offer jobs to them at a good price but most of the time they refuse, its got me buggered why there so lazy because we are very hard working people.

    Reply

  • Our son is now 14 so $15 a week is deposited into an account with a flexi card. Instead of asking us for money for things, our son now has to use this money and manage it for what he wants. Help is still expected at home and there are certain tasks he is required to do in exchange.

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  • Interesting article and in our household chores have a value – some money for saving and some for spending. Good habits start young.

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  • The green red system is great. I think I will try something similar once we hit pocket money age.

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  • Wish I knew this years ago. I think this system is excellent. This way they learn a work ethic which will help them so much when they become adults.

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  • that is a great idea! then they get a great reward for their efforts!

    Reply

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