A Cash Plan for Kids

Denise and the boys

My sons are asking, again, when they’ll get an allowance. I’m ambivalent. After all, I never got an allowance. My parents taught me the value of money; they just didn’t do it by actually giving me any. 


But my kids aren’t going to give up, so I might as well set some ground rules to get us off to a good start:


Rule #1: Treat cash with care. Kids have a way of treating money like a toy—hiding it, stuffing it into weird places. I’ll make sure they have a safe place to keep their cash, and help them keep track of it.


Rule #2: Save some. Allowance shouldn’t just be for spending. I’ll set up a low-tech system (e.g., labeled jars) to help them save up for the things they really want. 


Rule #3: Act the part. I refuse to “pay” my kids for chores (we all help out because we all live here). But if they’re mature enough to manage an allowance, then they’re also mature enough to empty the dishwasher, put their laundry away, and rake leaves.


Maybe this allowance thing isn’t such a bad idea after all… 


Son, meet my old friend, Toilet Brush.


Out of the Box
Experts recommend giving kids a weekly dollar amount that matches their age. About.com’s Allowance Calculator lets you factor in your own experience with allowance to arrive at an amount.


Denise Schipani blogs at Confessions of a Mean Mommy. Her new book, “Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later” (Sourcebooks, 2012) is now available on Amazon.

Cha-ching! Did you get an allowance growing up?