As a mom of 4 who admittedly has made financial mistakes as a young know-it-all, the one things I wanted my kids to learn is that money doesn’t grow on trees, you don’t get money for nothing, you have to earn it…legitimately. Having an allowance is fine but if you’re just giving them a set allowance no matter what they do, what are they learning from that. I made that mistake. I set an amount and that’s what they got every two weeks. They expected the money but didn’t want to do anything to earn it.
I read some books, finance for kids type stuff. For the summer I decided to try a different approach. I started this about 3 summers ago. I write chores down that need done for the day. Things I know they could handle like vacuum the living room, sweep and mop kitchen floor, dust furniture in the living room, etc. I assign an amount to each chore depending on how hard the chore is. One chore that no one likes to do is the dishes and there is always a mountain of them so I assign this one a bigger price tag than dusting the furniture. They are not REQUIRED to do any of the chores BUT they also don’t earn anything if they don’t do anything. IF they do a chore listed they initial it. I then record that days earning for each one in a notebook so when pay day comes, I know how much they earned. This worked so much better than a set allowance. This is more of a “pay for performance” approach. I explained to them that it has the potential to earn them a lot more than a set allowance but they could also get less if they choose not to do anything.
I have a separate list for my youngest son who just turned 5. He gets the chores like picking up the toys in the living room, gathering dirty dishes around the house, etc. You can assign what your budget allows for each chore. I usually do 25 cents for the easy chores that are usually first pick in our house like dusting. Chores that require more effort like sweep and mop the kitchen floor would be assigned 50 cents. Chores like the dishes that no one likes, and most likely won’t get done is assigned $2. There are stipulations. If it says “Sweep and mop” but they only sweep then they on get half of the assigned amount. I list about 5-6 chores the two older boys can choose from. If they finish them and they want more, I can always add more.
I use a chalkboard wall sticky for my list but things like regular chalkboards, dry erase boards, or even a paper taped somewhere would work for this. I found this to be a great way to teach my kids that they have to work if they want to earn money. If they want to be lazy, (they have the option) but they don’t get money.
How do you do allowance at your house? Do your kids get allowance?