Do your kids constantly ask for treats at the supermarket checkout?
Do your teens and tweens want, want, want? Do they ask for things you can’t afford?
Do you feel you’re depriving them if you say “no”?
Are you tired of dealing with their demands?
It’s time to give them an allowance!
Consider the following scenarios where kids are receiving allowances. There’s a simple step-by-step way to achieve similar results in your family:
At the checkout counter, Allan, 6, asked his mother to buy him some candy. “Do you have your money with you, Allan?” she asked. When he remembered he had his allowance money in his pocket, he carefully chose a treat and paid for it himself.
Sara, 13, badly wanted a special pair of shoes that were the latest, coolest footwear out there. Several of her friends had them. Sara received a regular allowance, some of which she saved each week. She counted up her savings and figured that she could afford the shoes in four more weeks if she didn’t spend her money on other things.
Ted, 16, was given responsibility to look after his financial needs. He’d been receiving an allowance since he was about 5 years old so had experience in handling money. His monthly allowance covered his school books, clothing, bus fare, and other living expenses as well as money he could spend for entertainment. Also, he was used to putting aside some of the allowance in his savings account so he could save up for bigger items he wanted.
WHAT, EXACTLY, IS AN ALLOWANCE?
- An amount of money calculated to cover expenses, treats, and an amount to save.
- An amount of money given regularly (weekly or monthly) as a child’s share of the family income. As the child matures, the allowance is increased after a conversation about needs, expenses and availability of funds.
- Money that is the child’s to count on. It is never withdrawn as punishment or threatened in anger.
- Money that is not tied to chores. Chores are dealt with outside of allowance-giving.
WHEN CAN YOU START GIVING AN ALLOWANCE?
When a child starts noticing money and asking for things at the store, you can discuss how she can begin to receive an allowance and how she will use it instead of asking you for treats. She can be reminded to bring it when you get ready to go shopping. Soon, she’ll remember it herself. She’ll soon learn what it can and cannot buy.
BENEFITS OF AN ALLOWANCE SYSTEM
- Kids learn the value of money
- They learn to budget, live within their means and save for special items
- They learn from experience to make wise choices (especially after making unwise ones!) Their self-esteem is increased as they handle their own money
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER
- Sit down with your child to discuss an allowance in a friendly manner.
- Point out that he or she will now use it at the store and you will not be asked to buy treats. Be consistent.
- In order to help children plan, give plenty of notice as to the date and time of a trip to the store.
- If they spend their money in one fell swoop and don’t have enough the next time you’re out, they’ll learn to be more careful in how they spend their allowance. They don’t need a lecture from a parent.
- Allowances are your kids’ money. Don’t tell them how to spend it. Their tastes are vastly different from yours. In my experience, young children usually buy candy but, as they get older, they’ll buy books, magazines etc. or save for something they want.
- If you want them to learn to save, part of the allowance must be set aside for saving right from the beginning.
- You’re teaching your kids a skill that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Avoid criticism around their purchases. They’ll learn from experience.
You’ll find that your family life is so much friendlier when your kids learn about the value of money and how to handle it. Shopping trips are much more fun when you don’t face a pressure-cooker situation at the checkout counter.
For help in setting up an allowance system in your home, please feel free to be in touch with me and I’ll be glad to help you.
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