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Kids and Money: Allowance


I’ve written several times about my kids and money. One of my main goals is to teach them all about money everything from managing their own checking and savings accounts to monthly budgets and even on to credit scores. I didn’t have an inkling about what a credit score was until I went to purchase my first home with my husband back in 2003. Way too late for me to have done anything about it if I had screwed up. My kids will go in to ‘adulting’ and managing their own money with their eyes wide open to the good and the bad.

I think I mentioned in a recent post about Sea Cadet remaining in VA for the summer and working at the same summer camp he worked at last year. He loved it! He was required to save 50% of every paycheck, and he did very well with that. When he officially moved down to GA in August, he and I had a sit down about how that money should be handled. This is what we agreed on:

  • $400 was put into a joint savings account.  It will be used towards car repairs as needed.
  • The remainder will be doled out to him $20 a week as spending money.
  • I am giving him another $20 per week as spending money.
  • At this time, I am paying all his monthly bills: gas, insurance and phone.

With the younger two, they are given $20 a week as allowance. It’s not earned, it’s given.

With their own monies, they all are responsible for any activities they want to do, personal hygiene purchases and Gymnast must pay for hair cuts if he wants more than 1 per month (I pay for one per month.)  They are able to earn extra money with odd jobs, but when they earn money they must save 50% of it in their savings accounts.

Sea Cadet it not working at this time. I wanted him to focus on his college classes.  He is completing his senior year of high school as a college student at the local technical school.  He is taking 11 hours, and thusfar doing really well.  I imagine I will encourage him to seek a part time job beginning the next semester, but I wanted to give him every opportunity to be successful as he begins the EMS program and wasn’t sure how challenging it would be for him.

Princess has started cleaning houses (family to start) to earn some money after the opportunity presented itself.  And Gymnast almost daily asks for paid jobs from everyone he knows.  Little does he know how busy he will get as these leaves start coming off the trees.

All of my kids pitch in around the house, everyone cooks one night a week, cleans the kitchen after themselves, takes care of their own laundry and so on.  These are not paid jobs, it’s just expected that we take care of our home and our belongings.  We are to that age and that expectation level that I do not have to push them or schedule ‘chores’ anymore, they just do it.  I couldn’t be more proud, and frankly our home has never been cleaner.


  • Reply Jax |

    I think it’s great that your kids are given an allowance that is no strings and then given opportunities to earn extra money. My partner gives his kid “lunch money” every week that he can do what he likes with-can use it for lunch or pocket it and make his lunch from home. Then there are things he’s expected to do at our house because he is a member of the household. Kid’s mom makes kid earn his allowance, but it’s gotten to the point where what she pays isn’t worth what she’s asking of him so he has been saying “no thanks.” That annoys her because things still need to get done, but she’s set up this system and it’s hard to move past. Your hybrid approach is going to help your kids manage their own money, but also teach them important life skills that need to be learned! Good job setting them up for success!

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Jax. It has definitely worked out as I hoped, not that the early years were easy. But I think we are at a good place now with their expectations and my expectations are balanced and fair.

  • Reply Sarah |

    So nice to have you back Hope!

    I about spit out my water when I read that your son might want his haircut more than once a month. When our kids were young, it was difficult to get them to get their haircut more than once a quarter. I know he is a gymnast so I’m sure it has something to do with that!

    As for allowance, there are two camps. Paying for jobs around the house or giving them money and expecting them to do the work on a regular basis. I’m in your camp. We gave our kids allowance and had expectations that they would do certain things on a regular basis. I didn’t want them to have the opportunity to say “NO” when I asked them to clear the table :-).

    • Reply Hope |

      I think the multi-hair cuts are because of his bi-racial hair. He tends to keep a “fresh prince of bel-aire’ hairstyle, tall on top and short on the sides, it grows really fast. He is very fastidious about his appearance. He did not get that from me. Princess and I are a bit more laid back and cut each other’s hair for the most part.
      I am all about not giving them the opportunity to say to “no” to maintaining our home and belongings. And because we have been so consistent, it is not a bone of contention any longer. I am so grateful for that. They all work hard to keep our home clean.

  • Reply Lisa |

    Agree that it is great to have you back! It sounds like you are teaching your kids great lessons. One question, did you mention where History Buff is? I looked back in other posts and couldn’t tell. No worries, if you don’t want to answer.

    • Reply Hope |

      History Buff decided to stay in VA last December when we moved up our timeline to move to GA. He is currently living with his bio mom and working full time in sales (which is a gift of his for sure.) Out of respect for him, I will say no more. We hope to see him over the holidays this year. Sea Cadet saw him regularly over the summer while working at the summer camp in VA.

  • Reply Angie |

    Wow I wish my parents had taught me the basics of money before sending me off to college. I love that you never thought they were too young to learn the responsibility of planning.

    As an aside, you said your children with jobs are required to save 50%. I think it would be awesome if you introduced them to Roth IRA’s with a portion of that money. It’s never too early to start saving and it would be a good introduction to compound interest. The bonus about Roth IRA’s is you can withdraw the contributions at anytime. So if they do actually need the money for anything in particular (car, apt deposits, tuition, etc.) they can withdraw it. I’m not 100% positive but I believe Roth IRA’s are protected from being considered assets in a student’s FAFSA too.

    • Reply Hope |

      Angie, I love the idea of an ROTH IRA for them. I will have to look into minimums and college asset repercussions. Anyone know anything about this?

      • Reply Sarah |

        I’m 99% sure that retirement assets are not counted towards financial aid.

        Vanguard has some funds that only require $1000 minimum. They are low fee so would be a great place to start.

So, what do you think ?