Part Two of The Allowance Question
So – you have decided that you do want to give your child an allowance. And you have decided what allowance method works for you and your family. Of course, the big problem is remembering to give them said allowance…
And now for another big question…how much do you give them? It seems so complicated doesn’t it? I have heard that the best guideline is to give a child $1 each week corresponding to their age. A five year old would get $5 per week and a sixteen year old would get $16 per week. At this rate I can only hope that you don’t have very many children or that you have some sort of phenomenal job or that you bought a boatload of Google shares 15 years ago.
The truth is that even with only two children you could be paying out quite a bit of money every month in order to keep up the pace. Overall, I do think it’s a good guideline, but I also think it depends on where you live. A family living in New York City might be inclined, if able, to give their children more that someone like me who lives in an area with a much lower cost of living. Obviously your level of income will also factor heavily into your decision. When our kids were eight and five that would have meant a monthly cost of about $52. As a young couple living on a single income, that was simply not possible for us. Our kids got $5 a week for a really long time because it is what we could afford.
An alternative would be to give your child .50 cents per week corresponding to her age. A five year old would get $2.50 per week and so on. Or you could give a monthly allowance rather than doling out the cash every week. If you did this it would certainly teach your child about making their money last – and I’m not sure that would be well served with young children.
Whatever you decide, stick with your plan and be consistent. My biggest regret regarding allowances is that we were inconsistent much of the time. I would just plain forget to give the kids their money or simply not have the cash on me. What helped us most is when we moved to giving them their money every time my husband got his paycheck. I figure that every other week on a consistent basis is better than every week that is forgotten 75% of the time.
Remember, your children will be just fine if you are unable to give them an allowance or have to discontinue for a short time because of unexpected expenses. It’s just part of being a family, kinda like taking out the trash or sweeping the floors. Regardless of the method it’s important to be consistent and have a plan on how to teach your kids about money management early on. We will talk about strategies on how to use an allowance for this purpose next time.
How much money do you give your kids each week? How did you decide on that figure?