Giving Your Child an Allowance

Should You Give Kids an Allowance?Giving Your Child an Allowance

Is anything in the world of finance and parenting more debated than this – should you give your kid an allowance? Will it turn them into lifelong moochers or teach them valuable budgeting skills. In the Rich Mama’s humble opinion an allowance is a good tool for younger kids, when used as a way to regulate the “I want that’s…” Since children this small really do have a hard time doing jobs to earn money, an allowance can be a great way for them to learn to save up for that pack of gum or special toy.

According to some financial experts, giving your child an allowance is one of the best ways to instill solid financial skills in their young brains. Compared with a “pay as you go” policy, where you pay for what your child wants when he or she wants it, a weekly allowance can help your child better understand that money must be earned before it can be spent. This is a lesson your child certainly needs as an adult.

In addition, older kids are more influenced by their peers, especially where spending habits are concerned. Don’t forget you also have to contend with television commercials, radio ads, and other forms of media selling, selling, and selling. Managing an allowance at a young age will help your child more quickly grow accustomed to spending limits and restrictions.

What’s important if you’re going to give an allowance is to discuss what’s covered by the allowance. In other words you might not expect your kids to pay for their whole back to school wardrobe with their allowance, but if they want to go to the movies with friends, this might be an allowance item. Just make sure you and your partner sit down and discuss what you think you should be paying for versus what your kids should pay for with their allowance.  And then when you and your spouse are on the same page, then go start to negotiate with your kids.

Chores, Smores

With older kids, there are some families who have them do chores in exchange for an allowance. On the one hand this teaches the principle of now worky…no pay-ey…On the other hand moms and dads do a lot of crap around the house without any expectation of allowance, and if you’re teaching your kids that if they make their bed and get a dollar, then what happens when they’re on their own – and no one is giving them a dollar.

With older kids I favor the approach of chores that need to get done no matter what, plus a base allowance, plus an opportunity for kids to earn money doing extra jobs around the house. For instance if there is a job you would outsource, then consider paying your child for it. It could even be cooking a meal a week if it stops you from ordering takeout.


How Much is Too Much

So, how much allowance should you give your child? You can determine the amount in a variety of ways. Some parents and financial experts suggest one dollar for every year of age. Others say to set the amount based on how you expect your child to use the allowance, providing enough money to put in a savings account, give to charity, and to spend. Still others suggest giving your child an amount based on what other kids receive around the same age.

Whatever you choose, give it some thought, talk to your spouse and your child about a realistic amount, and start low rather than high. It’s always easier to increase a child’s allowance than to give him less because you started out giving too much.

As your child grows and matures, an allowance will help teach money management skills and develop responsible spending habits. Simply buying what your child needs and wants doesn’t allow the same learning opportunity. Giving an allowance may be a trial and error process for your family, but it’s one that is well worth the effort and learning curve. It will teach lifelong skills that your child will need—and thank you for—when your child becomes an adult.

Your Questions About Best Tacky Christmas Gifts

Michael asks…

What’s the best gift you ever got for Christmas?

I guess mine was a PS2 when those were big. Either that or just being with my family. Sorry if that sounds a little tacky.

richmama answers:

As a kid, some of the best were an NES, Donkey Kong Country for the SNES, various toys like He-Man, G.I. Joe or Transformers.

As I get older though, the best gift is really just being able to celebrate with family while I still can before we all drift away.

Though having a great big blizzard on Christmas would also be a nice gift. I love having a White Christmas.

Donna asks…

What is a really good gift for christmas to get for my parents?

So i am really stumped. What do parents love? They don’t need any more glasses, costers…. recipe books… i want something unique and special that they could share or not. I just need some really good ideas? So thanks. My dad doesnt wear hats so that wont work. Id like to try and keep it under 45. Unless if theyre seperate gifts. Dont say anything tacky or lame. I need some of the best ideas. !!

richmama answers:

I’m a parent and I love things my kids made themselves, no matter how ‘unprofessional’ it turned out. If you have the time and energy, get a personalized photo album and fill it with photos of them – that is my favorite idea of the moment.. Otherwise, surprise them.. Have some flowers or food (chocolates, sausage, etc..) delivered. Take them out to somewhere they used to take you (restaurant, museum, etc..) Things with memories are the best. If you don’t want to take the time to relive and document the past though, just make some new memories! I’ve put together a page on gift giving if you’d like a look at some other suggestions. There are plenty of ideas for under $45. I’ve put my site in the sources.

Sandra asks…

Is it tacky to send a picture of your boyfriend you and two children out in a few christmas cards?

Since it is all of us in the picture this year. The one that I ushally send it just the girls and frame and hand out as gifts but the youngest was having a tough time and the best picture we got was the family.

richmama answers:

No it is not tacky, as long as your girls are okay with it and your boyfriend………….

Mark asks…

Christmas gift idea using memories and photos?

I want to make my best friend something I can put together with many of our inside jokes written on it, but I can’t really think of anything. First I though of making a scrapbook with pictures on some pages and memories and inside jokes written on a page of another, but I feel like this will look tacky or a little kiddish. Any ideas?

richmama answers:

I think my all time favorite gift was a photo collage (poster size) made and framed by my daughter when she was about 16-17. She gathered photos from throughout my life then had each of her siblings and her Dad (my husband) write “something special from their heart” on a colored piece of paper. She incorporated the photos (probably near 100) and notes into the collage. I cried (happy tears) for a few hours that day. I have it proudly displayed in my home office where I still look at it often. I’m hoping she’ll make me another one someday updating my life in photos.

You could incorporate the same idea into photos of you and your friend (including other friends, trips, pets, etc.) and then write little notes with “memories”, “inside jokes”, etc. And scatter them throughout the collage.

Good Luck!

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Your Questions About Internet Safety Videos

Mandy asks…

is it safe to include my full name on a youtube video?? INTERNET SAFETY?

ok well i made this video and i havn’t put it up on youtube yet but basically its me giving a message to J.B nd the only thing i’m worried about is that it includes my twitter name which includes my first and last name. is it ok to put it up on the internet??? thank you, all answers will be taken on board xxx

richmama answers:

If you don’t want people knowing who you are, then I wouldn’t suggest that you include your full name in a YouTube video.

However, if your name is already on your Twitter profile and it isn’t private, your full name is already on the Internet.

Daniel asks…

Where can I find free funny video clips about safety on the internet?

richmama answers:


Charles asks…

On “The Safe Side: Internet Safety” DVD, did the actor playing the dad lose part of a finger during production?

I figure no one will know this but I was watching it with my kids and at the end of the music video I noticed the actor (David Born) has a short first finger on his left hand. I looked back through the rest of the video and he first finger is normal length (on both hands too just to make sure the film wasn’t flipped) throughout the rest of the show. I can’t find anything about it online. Just curious.

richmama answers:


Nancy asks…

whats a good video to show 9 and 10 years olds about Internet safety?

richmama answers:

Any of these…


Personally the second was my favourite.

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