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.

How to Look Fabulous while Being Frugal

Hey RichMamas – think you need to spend a lot of money to look good? Think again! It’s entirely possible to look fabulous while being frugal. Here are some tips on how you can look great without breaking the bank. Here are some great ideas.

Go Shopping…in Your Closet

If you’re like a lot of people, you probably have stuff hidden in your closet and bureau that you forgot you had. Go shopping – pull everything out and take a look. Include shoes (even those dusty ones from the back of the closet). Put together outfits by creating new combinations.

For example, if you have a skirt and top outfit but the top is stained or damaged, look for another one that works with the skirt. Twin sets are another place to look – maybe the cardigan or top is too worn to wear, but you can take one or the other and put together another set. It won’t be monochrome, but it will be uniquely fabulous!

Clean It Up

Remember those dusty shoes we mentioned? Go ahead and pull them out, along with stained clothes. Give shoes and clothing a second chance. Treat clothing stains with a commercial, oxygen-based treatment and run them through the washing machine.

Shoe stains can often be lifted with store-bought cleaners or baking soda and a brush (baking soda helps odor, too). Use shoe polish on leather shoes. Suede shoes can be brushed with a stiff brush. Water stains, ironically, can be washed out with water. Brush on the water in a thin coat, paying special attention to the edges of the water stains, and allow to dry.

Give clothing a new life with ironing and stitching up small rips and tears. If you can’t do that, look into iron-on patches.
The point is to take a little time and clean up your clothes rather than just giving them away and buying new ones.

Don’t Shun Used

Some people get all kinds of compliments on yard-sale outfits and consignment shop finds. Don’t forget your existing wardrobe as you shop for used clothes – you may find the perfect shirt to go with a skirt, or a top that will look great with one of your existing pairs of pants.

Don’t forget about online options, too. The internet offers an enormous selection of used clothing on eBay and other online venues. You can often find name-brand items for a fraction of the price, and sometimes they have not even been worn or worn only once.

Hair and Accessories

Save money by coloring your hair at home (if you color it). Put styling aids like curling irons and hot rollers to use rather than paying for a salon job. When you get your hair trimmed, see if you can get just a trim, nothing else. It costs a lot less. Experiment with styling your hair yourself, or with various up-dos.

Antique stores and yard sales are great places to find used but beautiful jewelry. You can often find unique pieces that will get you lots of positive attention. Think outside the department store!


Beyond Basic Black for the Working Moms Wardrobe

Kids back to school, mom heading back to work?  Well the RichMama has your back to work wardrobe issues solved.

Corporate black – for many of us, the workplace dress code always meant black, black, and more black. Today, though, it doesn’t have to be that way. More and more workplaces are embracing color. Here are some ways to add color to your work wardrobe.

Solid Tops

Colorful knit tops or a jewel-tone silk blouse can add a splash of color to a blazer or suit. It’s considered a good idea to go with solid colors here; jazzy patterns may not work too well.

Say It with Shoes

There are so many options for colorful shoes these days, and when you’re talking color, the cheap ones are not necessarily more or less colorful than the expensive ones. Go for a pair of colorful pumps or jazzy flats, or even dress sandals (wear colorful toenail polish!). Unlike boots, pumps, flats, and sandals can be colorful without being distracting.

Necklaces and Jewelry

Put some sparkling color around your neck with necklaces. There are so many possibilities here, from polished glass beads to rhinestones on colorful cords. Stay away from tacky or heavy necklaces, but choosing something with a nice pop of color can dress up even a drab outfit.

Bracelets and earrings can be worn for the same reasons, adding a splash of color to business attire.


Handbags are where you can bring a bit of whimsy and jazz into the workplace without catching a lot of flak. Patterns and colors can spice up a plain suit and show a bit of your personality. If you like, start small – carry a little handbag with pretty colors. Then, depending on your workplace atmosphere, maybe you can work up to a large, patterned handbag.


Scarves were a workplace stand-by not too long ago, but you can bring them back in all kinds of ways. Folded scarves can work as a headband for your hair, or you can find various ways to tie them around your neck. You can also use them as a creative alternative to a belt. Solid colors might be a good place to start, or subtle patterns that match your work outfit.


Tucked-in shirts and elaborate belt buckles were popular in the 80s, but you can still dress up an outfit with a solid band of color around your waist. Belts can add color to pants or skirt outfits, and you can add a matching handbag for color coordination.

Colored Suits

If you want to really go for it, wear a solid-colored suit. To create the least controversy (if you have that kind of workplace), choose one where the style is fairly conservative and traditional, just colorful.

Your Questions About How To Clean House Faster

Maria asks…

how can i get faster in home?

I am so slow in cleaning and you know those works around the house.I am fast walker and fast in problem solving ..
but in home it takes me hours cleaning house and washing dishes.
gloves make me slower so i do with my bare can imagin how does my hands look like.
i wish i was faster
i know that i am perfectionist and obsessive but that is the thing that i am and noway out of it.
i just wanted to learn how can i be faster.
not be slow housekeeper

richmama answers:

First remove all the clutter. Carry a trash bag with you anything you have to think about put in a box or drawer so that you can just get on with it. Start in one room and work from top to bottom. Dust first vaccuum last. Finish one room before you move onto the next. Carry cleaning supplies in a tote or bucket so that you don’t have to start and stop to go get them. Also set a time limit to get it all done. To keep up with it do a 15 minute power clean every day and race through just to keep up the appearance. If you have a spouse or kids or a roommate and both of you move quickly for 15 or 30 minutes then it’s like one person doing 30 minutes to an hour of work.

Michael asks…

How do i clean gutters faster?

i have to clean my houses gutters today…. any suggestions on how to clean them faster?

richmama answers:

If you have a leaf blower, haul that puppy up to the roof strapped on your back and blow the leaves right out of the gutters.

Carol asks…

My house is a mess, tips to clean faster?

i need to:
wash dishes
clean the living room
organize my wardrobe (i hate taking care of clothes and organizing stuff!)

i’m so lazy! how do you do housekeeping? (in a fast a less boring way?)
ty 😛
unfortunately i do not have a dishwasher
(yeah, it would make it much easier!)

richmama answers:

Invite someone over you like or has a good impression of you

it always motivates me to clean

Susan asks…

Clean freak house wives… how do you do it!?

I’m 21 and my boyfriend is 25. We’ve been together for two years and live together in a cute little house. Our relationship is great, and we’re getting married in 2010 or 2011 [[depending on finances]]. We both work full time, and we have an indoor pet.

However, our house always seems to get messy… faster than it should, I think. I don’t think we are messy people, but our house is just “cluttery.” I don’t like it. I hate having to spend hours cleaning up before company comes, and even if we aren’t expecting company we still spend hours and hours every week just CLEANING. But it seems like it can just get back to the the messy clutter in no time at all.

I can blame some of this on the small design of our 1960’s-built home we are renting, that has significantly less storage space than other homes. And we can’t buy furniture because the house came furnished… we have no room for new furniture right now. We’re hopefully buying a home this summer, but for now we are here and I need to make it work.

I want to be like the working housewives who always seem to have a clean house all the time. I’m not expecting “perfection” from myself. But I really admire all of you tidy women who just seem to always keep it together. I want to be a good house wife to my future husband, and good role model to my kids one day. I want to be able to open the door an invite someone in without being embarrassed if someone stops by unexpectedly.

Do you have any tips for me? Thanks so much.
P.S. – I don’t want you think our house is like one of those you see on TV where it’s just ridiculous. And we aren’t pack rats either. We just want to be a little neater.

richmama answers:

Make sure everything has a home and that things are put away rather than tossed down. Decide where things belong and put them there. It takes less time to do that than have to face a pile or piles later. I don’t allow anything on furniture that doesn’t belong there. I have a box on the wall inside the door that handles keys and ingoing and outgoing mail and stamps. No clothes on the floor or tossed onto furniture at any time. I clean something every day whether it’s dusting a room or rooms, vacuuming, sweeping, or cleaning bathrooms. I do the laundry twice a week (there are only two of us) and put it away immediately. I am definitely neatnik but anyone can come to my house unannounced and I wouldn’t be embarrassed. It’s all about setting a routine and following it. Clutter can only happen if you let it. Start now to maintain it and when you have kids you will be happier for it.

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