Amanda Amanda is a married 30-something with three kids. She previously worked full-time as a clinical social worker in a homeless shelter for young mothers. She earned her masters degree while commuting to school and learned to share parenting and conflicting parenting styles with her husband. Now she is learning to manage her career, marriage, kids, and personal time. Amanda is also a writer, a continuously-trying-to-start-again runner, reader, cook, novice pianist, terrible housekeeper, and amateur juggler. She hates laundry. Contact Amanda by emailing

I’m used to babies. I rocked the baby stage. Diapers, bottles, breastfeeding, crawling, putting away everything nice and breakable. I had it down. But now the bottles are long gone, diapers are a thing of the past (thank God), and I’ve started pulling out breakable things and nice things with the slight hope they’ll survive being around three happy, rambunctious children.¬†One feature of childhood I remember fondly is an allowance. So I started to think about allowances for kids and how it could help ours.

Photo via Images of Money

Allowances for Kids

We’ve toyed with having allowances in our home but so far my children don’t seem to grasp the handling of money. I’ve found my son’s wallet laying around, coins used in play littering my children’s rooms. I regularly make a few bucks when I clean their rooms because they don’t seem to respect cash and I find it stuffed in corners of their rooms or toy boxes. (Mama claims all found money as unwanted and buys herself a latte with her haul after cleaning rooms!)

That said, my children are still quite young, 4, 5, and 7. The 7-year-old is starting to get the concept of money, and while they all can identify coins and dollars, we’re going slow with expectations.

We do have a plan for allowances and chores, however, that I stole/borrowed from my older sister. First, her kids don’t get money for doing regular chores. Everyone in the family is expected to contribute to keeping the house looking and feeling nice and her children don’t get an allowance for meeting those basic expectations. She does, however, give out payment for extra chores. My plan is to print out these extra chores, with the billable amount, on index cards and laminate them and then put magnets on them for our fridge. The kids will get to pick what and when they do these extra chores and we all get lessons on responsibility and choice.

Another idea I’m borrowing is giving an allowance but then immediately breaking that money up into savings, fun, and donation. If my kids get a $10-a-month allowance, $2 would go in savings, $2 would go into donations to a charity of their choice, and they would have $6 to save or spend as they please. If they want to buy something bigger, they’ll need to have self-control and some discipline in order to save up for it.

These ideas are still fluid but they’re where we’re starting. I’ve been slowly cutting down on how much we as parents buy them in extras beyond food and clothes. I’m letting them know they’ll have to save up. This summer, this idea brought a beautiful moment when my oldest bought himself and his sisters ice cream from the ice cream truck with his own Tooth Fairy money! It meant he couldn’t buy himself the toy he’d been wanting, but his generosity bought him the love and adoration of his sisters, at least until they finished their ice cream cones.

What are some ideas you have for giving allowances for kids?

Category: Family Finances

Tags: allowances