Kids and Money

What’s the Right Age to Start an Allowance?

What does that look like?

When I was a kid, we had a list of chores to do, and if we got them done we would get an allowance.  When I turned 10 I got my first job — a paperboy.  My brother also had a route and between my brother, my father and I we would deliver almost 300 papers every day.  We would get up early, fold them deliver them and then find time during the weekend to collect money.  I delivered papers until I was about 17 years old  then I got a “real” job.  It was nice, I felt in general I worked less and made more money, but I was not my own “boss” anymore.  I learned a lot as a paperboy and I am glad that I did it.  I got a lot out of it, not only in material possessions but confidence when it comes to money.

My son CheeseWiz turned six earlier this year, and he finished his first year of kindergarten.  He learned so much during his year in kindergarten, and one of the things he learned about was about money.  The older he gets the more interested he is in money.  He wants it, he knows the difference between a nickel, dime, quarter and dollar.   He has a basic understanding that things cost different amounts of money and he wants to do whatever it takes to have more money.

The downside to this is that (like his father) when he gets certain things in his head he obsesses over them.

We have decided that we are not going to give him a weekly allowance but we are going to give him “extra” chores around the house to earn money.  There is always something to do around the house and after he gets his “regular” chores done then he will have an opportunity to do the “extra” ones.

This works to a point, but he always wants to do extra chores and as soon as he earns a dollar he wants to spend it.  So what is one to do?

We are teaching him the difference between giving, spending and saving which I think is important.  He gets it… a certain point.  I think the one thing that has changed since we have started this whole process.  He is thinking about his money, he is deciding what he wants to do with his money.

Our hope in doing this is not only to teach him about spending, saving, and giving, but to start good money habits early.  As we progress in this process we will share our successes and failures.

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One thought on “Kids and Money

  1. My friends daughter is your son’s age and he’s been getting an allowance, but she has certain chores she has to do in order to get it. For Christmas I bought her a piggy bank that is divided into a number of categories. My friend gives her the allowance in bills and coins so that she can deposit the appropriate percentage into each category – spend, save, invest and donate. Not sure what percentages they use, but I think it is a great idea to give kids the idea that the dollar you have today needs to go far.

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