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Kids & Money

Should I Give My Kids an Allowance?

Question: What do you think about giving kids an allowance?

Answer: I suggest giving your teens a commission, not an allowance. When they get older, they will find out that life doesn’t make allowances. Life can be difficult sometimes, and waiting around for a handout or an “allowance” isn’t the best way to live.

So if life doesn’t make allowances, neither should parents! Kids need to make the connection between work and money: If they work, they’ll get paid. If they don’t work, they don’t get paid. If they’re sleeping in until noon every day during the summer, then no allowance! If they are out taking care of their chores and the things you asked them to do, then a commission makes perfect sense.

The amount you pay in commissions might vary based on your teen’s age and your income. Obviously, the older your teenager is, the more you might consider paying him or her. Keep the task in mind as well. Mowing the grass for two hours should be worth much more than pushing the trash to the street.

Regardless of what you pay them or what they are getting paid for, the most important thing is that they make the connection between work and money. Help them see that now, and they’ll thank you later in life.

Learning how to teach kids about these important money principles is exactly what you can expect from Smart Money Smart Kids. Pre-order your copy today!


  • Teancum

    Do you feel that their are some household jobs to be done as contributing to the general upkeep of the house as a household member and others that may be concidered extra jobs to be paid for? How would you determine which is which?

    • Laura4777

      I feel picking up their room or washing their clothes are their job. Even keeping up their bathroom and washing their dishes are part of their job.

    • Ember1

      I wanted to ask a similar question. On one hand, it makes the connection between pay/work. On the other hand, it makes housework a job (which we do for pay) rather than part of living in a home. How do you construct things to both give them a taste of work/individualism and instill the sense of respect for communal obligations (such as basic housework)?

      • Katie

        Ya know, my parents paid me an allowance from a young age. Chores were expected, not something you could do to get paid. Except for the occasional BIG project, I.e. Power washing house or decks, painting and staining, etc. And even through high school, I was not expected to have a job because my “job” was school, sports and helping with younger siblings. Now, as an adult, with a college degree, with a family of my own I have ZERO debt and had a great career before I stayed home with my daughter. I don’t think giving your children and allowance will teach them that life has handouts and that hard work is required. Teach them to set goals, work their ass off and reach those goals (sports, academics and such) and the rest will take care of itself.

        • Danielle Rayoum

          I agree to an extent. I never had an allowance and was expected to work around the house. I dont really ever remember asking for money either. But my parents just bought me the necesseties. Nothing more. Then I got my first job in 8th grade. I Was lucky to get scholorships to get me through college debt free and held jobs throughout. I dont know how I made it through College without ever getting a credit card but I never did. Then my first job out of college was a financial position. I learned about mortgages, amortization tables and saw peoples credit reports of horrendous debt. I vowed never to be that person and I have never had an ounce of credit card or vehicle debt and just paid off my house last April. So I wasnt really taught about money. I just had an innate desire not to spend my parents money because it wasnt mine. I bought more stupid junk as a teenager with my own job and money because i felt like it was mine and was okay. So I can see this going either way. The kid has to want to save money and not be greedy wanting the latest and greatest of everything. I think thats just as important to teach.

          • Danielle Rayoum

            We also teach of you want to buy something. You have to try to find it used somewhere first or borrow it and make sure its what you want. Usually they are over it in just a few days so they just saved thay money they would have spent on something new.

      • Debbie

        As a stay-at-home mom, I think it is good to teach them that the work nthey do at home is of value. I get spending money out of my husband’s npaycheck even though I don’t make any money directly. Most kids aren’t ngoing to see the little rewards of chores such as a clean space – money nis a great motivation and the side effect is that they build up these habits of working for when they are older. nnI never got an allowance but we were sometimes offered money for “extra” jobs – and to be honest we didn’t usually take our parents up on those offers because we weren’t accustomed to working and really had no reward for even keeping our own spaces clean (we got yelled at for it every so often but it was never very enforced). So I like the idea of commission even for regular chores.

    • mmloves4

      We have household jobs for the kids and parents. Dishes, laundry etc. $10 a week goes into the family jar for a family night. Extra chores mowing lawns, cleaning cars etc. are paid individually.

    • sarato

      One way to do it is pay them for the tasks you actually consider optional– that you wouldn’t nag them to do if you saw them unfinished.nnnKeeping their room clean, doing their share of dishes, those are all household tasks they should be expected to do for free. They can get paid for doing something above and beyond: mowing the lawn, painting a room, trimming a hedge, etc.

      • Ember1

        But only if the foundational chores were done?

    • Heather Heddleson

      This is from one of Suze Orman’s books and she said there are certain things kids just have to do as part of the team and are not given an allowance. The benefit of doing the dishes is having a fork to use at dinner. She goes on to say for older children make a list of chores and give each item a value and they must start at the bottom and work up to the big ticket items. Example-a bottom of the list category might be cleaning the windows in the house $3 and a top of the list chores mowing the yard $15. She says your child should have to do the $3 chore first instead of just skipping to the $15 chore, getting money and taking off to the movies. Suze also suggests weekly payments for young children and bi-weekly to monthly payments for older kids so they are forced to budget for the month. Sorry for using all Suze Orman examples. I am new to the Ramsey ways.

    • Chari Hurley

      My girls have a chore chart. They are expected to do everything on their chart because the are part of the family, but there is a spot on there that says PICK ONE from the “pick one” list, that they have to do everyday. They have to pick a different one each day of a week. Then, if they CHOOSE to, they can do extra chores off of the “pick one” list and they can earn money for the extra chores. We have a family “meeting” once a week, in which we go over their charts for the week. At this meeting, they get the extra money they earned! With that money, they get to put 50% in their purses, and 50% goes into savings.

      • Vanessa Leal

        Similar here. 10% mandatory to saving 10% to giving. And the rest they choose which bank- spending, saving, giving. They actually often put extra in the giving and saving bank or disperse their money equally.

      • shortysusice

        Would you be willing to share your chart??

    • Misty Severs

      Dave actually has spoke about this on the show. Some is bc you live there. It’s above and beyond you get paid commission on.

    • DrandMrs Stewart

      I was just thinking about that myself. As with “real life” after Mommy and Daddy’s house, there are some things you will have to do without being paid. I have a list of things that have to be done regardless (taking out trash, washing dishes, etc.), and it’s more the project-oriented chores that help with improving our home and yard that I would think “qualify” for pay. It’s logical enough, in my eyes, that if you don’t want your kids to be slobs, you help them learn small tasks make a big difference- and there is no pay when they leave your nest for these tasks, but again, they won’t be slobs. Confession: Though logical, and what we intend to do with our children, I can not say we have done this- because our first is only on her way, but this is the plan. To put it bluntly, we wish to help them learn to choose the right, simply because it’s right, and not for any incentive. (CTR, Teancum!) Mrs. Stewart

    • Cassie

      We seperated the work that needed to be done in our home into two different categories: chores and duties. Chores you can draw commission on and came at a varied price. Duties were done with no paid commission and consisted of cleaning your room, dinner dishes and other items I felt were completed as being a part of the home team.

  • Emily

    Yes, I agree with the “commission” or “allowance for doing chores.” You don’t get something for nothing–you have to earn it. Right now we are working on something like that with our 3-year-old. If he does what he’s told and behaves and helps around the house to the extent that he can, he gets a sticker on the calendar in his room. We plan to reward him if he gets a certain number of stickers. We do something similar at the school where I teach: The kids can collect “Bearcat Bucks” (play money) for good behavior or for doing something nice or helpful. Then they can use the “bucks” to “buy” prizes or special privileges. When Aaron is a little older, we might pay him to help us keep the house clean. $1 per room that he helps clean up or something.

  • Anwingert

    My view on this as a stay at home mother I do not get paid to do laundry, cook supper or do basic things to keep the house clean. So why pay my child to do it. That is why with my child I found magnetic stones that I put stuff like “take out trash-0.50″ ” making bed-0.50″ ” cleaning bathroom-1.00″. At the end of the day I add it up and return it to the frig. At the end of the 2 week period the things that they did added up and that is what they get paid for. I also have big things such as ” vaccum house-10.00″ ” mow the back yard-15.00″. So if they are wanting something that is a want not a need they can get the money for it.

  • Dave

    Try encouraging kids to be entrepreneurs by negotiating prices for chores. They can identify tasks and negotiate a wage. This helps later in life when they need to buy a car or negotiate a salary. n

  • Mom_of_3

    I was paying for chores…a certain amount based on each chore on each day…with a max of $5 per week that could be earned if all chores were done. But I changed it after about 6 months. I think chores are part of being a member of the household. nSchool…that is the equivalent of work for kids. So instead of chores, I’m paying for grades. The chores still have to be done…they are not optional. But the extra effort that I’m looking for my child to put forth really is in the area of schoolwork. That is what will benefit her most as she heads into high school…where grades count towards scholarship dollars. I sat down and pulled up the college scholarship webpage (for where she plans to attend) and showed her exactly what grades she needs in high school to be guaranteed a certain amount of scholarship funding at the state university.