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Allowance: Too Much or Too Little?

February 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 173

How much money to give children for allowance has been an age old question that probably started when hard currency began changing hands.

The right answer is that there is no "One" rule that works for everyone. What is important is that you and your child have a discussion around allowance so that you have the same understanding as to why they receive allowance and the guidelines that surround it.

Allowance teaches a child financial responsibility and the power of choice. Our role as a parent is to guide them along the path.

My exploration of allowance began when my daughter was 4. I was uncertain when I should start, how much and what my expectations of her should be. I also realized I needed to take the long term view of allowance as far as how much, and when she should get increases over the years.

My decision was to begin her allowance on her fifth birthday. The amount I decided on is fifty cents for every year she was. So when she turned 5, I started paying her $2.50 every Sunday. She knows every birthday she gets a fifty cent increase. She also knows she can count on receiving her allowance every Sunday. With guidelines in place and regularly communicating we rarely have a discussion on allowance amount.

I also decided that my daughter does not have to do chores to earn her allowance. It is given to her for just being a member of the household. This assists in me not having to police her every week. However; she also understands that as a member of the house she is expected to do certain chores. Privileges such as being able to go out and play with her friends for an extra hour is tied to whether or not homework and household chores are complete, allowance is separate.

I also made the decision that when I give her allowance it is hers to spend in any manner in which she wants. I can honestly say it was much easier when she was younger for me to hold my tongue on her purchases. As a teenager, the only rule is that she can't spend her money on things that are against the house rules... such as dying her hair, body piercings (isn't one ear piercing enough?) or inappropriate sayings/slogans on t-shirts.

In elementary school she discovered that some of her friends received a higher weekly allowance than what she was getting and brought that to my attention. I do find it amusing that I never hear about those who earned less! This is when she learned that what other parents decide is their business; not ours. We have house guidelines on allowance and they will not be changed.

However; this did open the opportunity for the discussion on ways for her to earn additional money. She'll occasionally wash my car or clean windows for a fixed amount. She quickly determined these weren't very fun; and that in turn led to her entrepreneurship.

One summer she came up with the idea of running a lemonade stand. She was thrilled when she made $7 for working the stand for 3 hours. I was pleased she had initiative to start it, put in the labor and received a fair wage for a cup of refreshing lemonade.

Her enthusiasm on being an entrepreneur was such a positive experience. I always hear of new plans her and her friends dream up to earn additional money. It has led to nice discussions on ensuring that they set pricing correctly to cover the cost of their materials (lemonade mix isn't free!). Also, if they are offering to do snow removal, to ensure they set a dollar value appropriate to the amount of time involved.

After a recent conversation with my daughter on her big plans this summer for selling baked goods along with lemonade, I couldn't help but think that I met my personal goal for her on allowance. She has enough money to fund her shopping sprees and entrepreneur endeavors. She also understands the value of her time.

She has learned financial responsibility and more importantly, self worth.

About the Author

Debbi Dickinson coaches divorced women to move past their divorce and create a new life for themselves mixing spiritual strategy with time tested proven tools. Debbi invites you to take advantage a Free 5-Day Video Guide that outlines some of these tools.

Source: EzineArticles
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