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giving allowance

Do I need to give my children an allowance?

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What is allowance?

Typically, an allowance is money given in exchange for a specific purpose. The whole point of giving money is teaching our children responsibility for money.

What if your budget doesn’t allow it right now? There are seasons of financial struggle in many families. Sometimes, allowance isn’t an option. As adults, we sometimes have to step back and wait to buy something we want. Our children need to learn the same thing. Be creative. Teach your children the responsibility of “money” by using earned screen time or play instead of money at this time. The same basic concept is there. You get paid to work hard, and you don’t earn as much if you don’t work hard.


Taking responsibility of our finances

 “ A penny saved is a penny earned.”… what does that mean?

The more you save as you earn, the more you have. We are taking responsibility for our money. 

We must take responsibility for our finances before teaching our kids about money.

I know it’s a touchy subject sometimes. 


Reality check! If we don’t have our finances in order, we can’t show our kids how to take responsibility for their own money. 

The goal here is for the whole family to live within their means. You can’t spend what you don’t have. I won’t go into budgeting, but I will say that budgeting is vital and can be done with any salary.  A budget will also save you from a long road of financial stress. 

The ugly truth is that sometimes, we must give up on a few luxuries to get ahead. And that is ok. It is better than ok because we teach our children they won’t always get what they want when they want it. We don’t want to raise entitled children. We want to teach them they have to work to earn money. And I don’t mean they have only to do labor work; I am talking about any job. They can follow their dreams, earn a living, and be happy. That is what matters, right? 

If we can’t go out and buy something right away, we then learn to appreciate things that we get when we can get them.  If we have to wait a while and save up our money before we buy something we want, then that something is precious to us, and we will take care of it better.



Let’s get down to chores and allowance

We want to teach our children that you don’t get paid for maintaining a household, but we also want to teach them about work and money. Basic everyday chores like making the bed, folding laundry, or wiping down the countertops are just part of life’s responsibilities. As a family, we are a team, and we all pitch in. Extra work, like mowing the lawn or babysitting, is a way to earn allowances. Be creative, and divide chores into two categories: family chores or everyday chores and work-for-allowance chores. 

Family chores or everyday chores help our children how to run a home and give them a sense of participation, accomplishment, ownership, and responsibility. 

Work-for-allowance teaches our children a work ethic and gives a more significant appreciation for money. 

You can effectively teach your kids to be responsible for their money by helping them start separate money “accounts.” This could mean they have different spending and savings accounts in the bank or the envelope system, where they have a savings and spending envelope. 

When they want to buy something fun or go somewhere fun, they can use their spending envelope, BUT whatever is in that envelope, that is it. This way, allowances don’t become a handout or “down payment.” This also helps teach the value of delayed gratification. They are weighing the value of one item or activity over another, just like we chatted about earlier. We are also eliminating the “I want this, or can I have this” issue at the store.

kid mowing lawn

Let's talk about giving or donating

Some families want to have a three-system plan: spending, giving, and saving. Typically, you put 10% of your allowance into giving, 10% into saving, and the rest for spending. This can teach your children to help others out. 

Let’s go back to the budgeting issue, though, if you are hardly getting by and are just down to paying bills and getting essentials. Be creative. Yes, try to save as much as you can. When it comes to giving, donate items—clothes, toys, canned food, etc. 

When it comes down to it, money isn’t the only option. You can still help others. 


How much should I pay my children?

As mentioned before, it all depends on your family’s budget. Typically, you can go with the $1 per year rule. For example, if your son is seven, he would earn $7 a week. The older they are, the more responsibility they have. Just like working as an adult, more responsibility, more pay. 

Let’s be creative again; maybe your budget only allows you to pay $4 a week for your seven-year-old, then incorporate screen time or play time into it.


Rewards for other things

This may cause me to step on some toes, but participation trophies have gone too far. Yes, we want to encourage our children to participate and do things, but we also don’t want to teach them if they only show up, they get first prize. They need to put effort into something. Just bear with me for a second. Reward systems are great; they teach that excellent behavior or work goes a long way. Giving your all is how you can reach the top. 

Earning can be more than just chores. What if your child works hard at school, especially in a subject they hate? Then, they deserve that trophy when the report card comes home, and there is an A or B for that challenging subject. 

Reward the good only.


What about consequences?

Let’s be honest; sometimes, especially when our children are in their teenage years, they can be snots. They only do half the work or nothing at all. If the job isn’t done right, you don’t get paid or have to pay back some of the wages. Allowance isn’t given if the job isn’t done correctly. Just like in real life, you don’t work; you don’t get paid. Period.

teach responsibility

Our goal is to encourage good behavior and hard work. Give allowance when earned, and teach our children responsibility so they can have a bright future.


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I am Leah. Welcome to The Loving Cedar LLC. Here is where you will find parenting tips and tricks to help you simplify life.


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