Kids and allowance: Should you do it or not?

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To dole out allowance or not, that is the question for many parents!

Around our house, the kids do get an allowance. I think it’s a great way for kids to begin to learn to manage money — and a way to redirect them when they see something at Target that they HAVE to have. Also, because it’s tied directly to their chores, it’s proven to be much more effective than nagging (which of course I have tried).

One mom’s perspective

I know that there are some wonderful arguments for not having allowance correlate to chores, among them that helping around the house should simply be part of the responsibilities of belonging to the household. In reality, though, nothing speaks like cold, hard cash. You want extra money for spring break? Scrub those baseboards, sister.

Read more: 7 surprising results when you pay your kids for chores

Watching how the three kids manage their money is pretty fascinating, too. It turns out that it speaks a lot to how indulgent we parents are, when they can manage to save $100+ relatively easily because mom and dad paid for the movie tickets, the books, the clothes. Learning where to draw the line on such incidentals is an ongoing process for all of us. Among other things, it should probably involve more conversations about our family money and how it’s spent. As of right now, it still doesn’t grow on trees.

If you do choose to start giving an allowance, I highly recommend one of the many free or inexpensive apps to track it. For one thing, I rarely have cash on me, which meant I was constantly in a state of ‘IOU’ to one or all of them, and trying to recall if I had paid them for a certain week. And, when you are out and about and they decide to spend some money, it doesn’t devolve into a ‘I didn’t bring my money, so I’ll pay you back when I get home’ scenario. With something like Buckaroo or Kids Allowance Bank, the allowance is automatically distributed on a weekly basis (or however you choose to distribute it), and you can deduct expenditures on the spot using your phone.

Ultimately, I’m not sure my children will really understand the importance of money, and budgeting it, until they are on their own, paying for fun things like electricity. But I also can’t imagine sending them out into the world without ever having managed any money at all. The sooner they learn to save for important things like wine, and that trips to Target are not always the best use of ‘me time,’ the better. See how much I learned from having an allowance, Mom and Dad?

Read more: Make these parenting mistakes and you’ll keep living paycheck to paycheck

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