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Whether or not to pay kids an allowance is one of those parenting things that generally puts people on one side of a fence or the other.
And trust me, I’ve seen both sides of the fence.
I mean, it wasn’t so long ago that I was not going to regularly pay my kids to do something that I could do faster (and for free). Because of that, we didn’t pay our kids an allowance. Occasionally there were extra jobs around home and the farm they could do for extra cash, but there was never a steady, dependable way for them to make money.
Recently, however, my husband and I decided it was time for this no allowance set-up to change—for a few reasons:
1. Our kids are older.
Our sons have entered teenagerhood. They’re at that in-between age of not being old enough to get a job, but having interests that require money.
2. We live in the country.
When my sons want to earn money, they can’t just wander from house to house asking to shovel driveways or do yard work. Houses in our area are quite spread out.
Living in a rural area also means—since our sons don’t yet drive—if someone does have work for them, I have to get them there. They can’t just walk. I’m happy to rearrange my schedule to provide transportation if possible—but sometimes it isn’t possible.
3. I am busier now and need their help.
Recently I’ve really bumped up my hours in my home office. In order for the house and farm to run efficiently with me working at the same time, I really need the boys to shoulder part of that load.
Could they just help out because they live here? Yeah. They could. (And oftentimes, they do.)
But my husband and I kept following up point #3 (me needing help) with points #1 (teens wanting money) and #2 (living rurally) and made the decision that a chore based allowance was the right choice for our household.
Giving our sons a weekly allowance has shown us a lot of things. There are five huge benefits we’ve seen.
By having a weekly allowance, they’re learning about real life money.
You don’t learn everything about how to spend and save money from a curriculum. I want them to have experience having real money buying real things. How else are they supposed to learn what happens when you blow all your money? How do they safely learn to deal with paying for things that “come up”? Why deny them the satisfaction that comes with saving for something expensive and finally getting to buy it?
By having a weekly allowance, they are learning budgeting.
When they know they get x amount of dollars a week, and the thing they are drooling over in the store is x+y amount of dollars, they can make an informed decision.
My sons now have a real financial reference point. Because of this, I’ve actually seen one of my sons stand in front of something he thought he wanted to buy and say, “That is not worth four weeks of allowance.”
By having a weekly allowance, they have motivation.
One of the main concerns I hear from parents about paying their kids an allowance is, if I pay them to do some work around the house, I’m afraid they will expect to be paid for everything they do around the house.
Well, I suppose that could be a thing. It hasn’t been an issue here. It might be because we started this when the kids were older. It might be the personalities of the kids involved. Or it might be because when one particular son was asked to assist with something above and beyond his regular jobs and joked, are you gonna pay me to help, I put into effect the mom look and nothing was ever mentioned of it again.
Honestly—since the ground rules were laid, my kids have been motivated to do the work. They have daily responsibilities which, in turn, allow them to make money to pay for the things they want.
Money is quite motivating. Let’s be honest—it’s why a great majority of adults go to their jobs.
Want to read more about motivation for kids to do chores? You may enjoy…6 Smart Strategies To Take Charge of Household Chores from Homeschool Your Boys
By having a weekly allowance, they have power.
Being able to walk into the grocery store and buy your own sushi is pretty empowering. Finding that super awesome shirt at the thrift store and still being able to buy it even though mom said she was totally not buying that shirt?
Yeah. There’s some power there.
How will someone ever learn to properly use their spending muscle if they never get a chance to flex it?
Looking for a different chore/allowance idea? You may also enjoy…Extra Chores, Extra Cash
By having a weekly allowance, I’m off the hook.
Paying my kids an allowance works out well for me, too, because I don’t have to buy them everything anymore. (Okay, maybe in a roundabout way I still do—if you consider I’m the one paying them the allowance—but hear me out.)
If someone is getting an allowance, it means they potentially have money. So if we are grocery shopping and my sons want a treat, it’s coming out of their pocket.
If they want a bag of almonds at the store or an ice cream cone at the fair, it doesn’t need to come from my wallet. If their earbuds break, it’s not necessarily my job to replace them. I’m buying what I’m buying at the store, if my sons want something different, well…reach deep, son. Reach d-e-e-p.
That’s not to say that I never buy them treats. That’s just to say that now if I buy them a little something while we’re out and about, it actually is a treat.
Watching kids learn more about money is an interesting journey as a parent. We’re glad our sons are able to have the experience of spending and saving while still at home so they can work out the kinks before they’re out on their own. For us, paying our kids an allowance is the best way we can help make that happen.
Do you pay your kids an allowance? Why or why not?