Allowance Philosophies

To give allowance or not give allowance? It’s a tricky question and one I’ve thought about off and on since I thought about the possibility that one day I might be a mom. Now that I am a mom, and have been for six+ years, I still haven’t landed on a great answer, and I’m running out of time.

Okay, running out of time is dramatic. But, according to everything I read, even Maddie is now at the age that she should be learning about money. The experts say that as soon as they start thinking about the concept is the right time to start. That was definitely at least this year for Maddie and a few years ago for Riley. Time is of the essence!

My problem with allowance is that I just can’t figure out how to do it. I didn’t have an allowance growing up and was paid pennies, okay quarters, for doing unreasonable manual labor. I’m exaggerating again, but it was only 50 cents for vacuuming the whole house or mowing the lawn, both of which can only be done once or twice a week. Needless to say, I never had money. Still, I learned a great deal about money management from the way my parents behaved with it. Now that I’m an adult, I have a good idea about how to save my money properly, although I tend to break sometimes and go on shopping sprees. Would I do that if I had had an allowance and was able to spend money growing up? I don’t know. Can I do as good of a job teaching my kids about money as my parents did without letting them practice with it? Again, I don’t know.

As of right now, I’m leaning toward the idea that they should be practicing with actual money now. They should know the disappointment of spending their own money on a toy and watching the dog chew it up or the reward of saving a long time for that one special toy and finally having enough for it. They should also know that paying yourself first (putting a percentage of your money in savings first) has even bigger, long-term payoffs. Maybe they’ll be able to retired by 50!

So, I know I need to do it, but again, how? All of the research I’ve done says that you are not supposed to link the allowance to chores. The thought is that chores are a fundamental part of being part of a family. The allowance is just for, well, that I can’t seem to figure out. What are they getting paid for? I can’t reconcile it. How are they learning about money if they aren’t earning it? Will they ever leave my house if I’m just handing out money to them every week? It’s a frightening thought.

Chances are, I’ll land somewhere in the middle, and I know for sure there will be a piggybank involved. Let me know your thoughts and how you do it! I’d love to have some insight.


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