How Much Allowance is Enough for My Kids?

Right Amount and Way to Pay Kids' Allowance

You want the right amount for kids' allowance? How does $23.87 per week sound. Probably not the amount that works for everyone. Unfortunately there is no perfect number. Kids allowance can be a controversial subject. Some parents may give way too much money to their kids, while others don't give their kids any allowance at all. How much allowance should kids have is the big question. What amount is just right? These questions are more complicated than simply answering the questions.

This hub will discuss some of the variables that go into setting an appropriate allowance for kids. Ultimately, you want to teach your kids about money and how to use money responsibly, and if you keep this goal in mind you will have the motivation to determine kids' allowance.

Kids Allowance Factors To Consider

  • Age of the kid
  • Your own means
  • Your goals of instilling values
  • Contingent on chores vs. freely given
  • Covers necessities or separate

Kids Allowance: How Old is Old Enough?

The question arises, "How old is old enough to give a kid an allowance?"  The best answer may not be what you would expect.  Some would like to think the magic age is at the point when the kid is responsible enough to handle money.  This may be once the kid is seven or eight years of age.  The problem with this kind of thinking as with most child rearing strategies is that once kids are seven or eight, it may be too late to make early impressions. 

Listen to your kids and notice the comments they make about material items.  "I really need those Transformers Shoes...  I gotta get the princess shirt."  These are the type of comments that should let you know that your kids is ready to be taught a lesson about handling money.  Instead of saying, "That costs too much" or "You already have shoes" you can ask "Do you have enough allowance money?"  You always have the option to buy the necessity items for the child anyway, but this allows the kid the opportunity to spend allowance money on what they want.  They can learn from making poor choices and learn how to save money for things they want.

How Much Allowance Can You Save?

To spend, or not spend allowance.  That is the question for your kid to answer for himself or herself.
To spend, or not spend allowance. That is the question for your kid to answer for himself or herself.

Kids Allowance: How Will Your Child Spend Allowance Money?

Ask yourself the simple question, "How will your child spend his or her allowance money?" This will help you determine the correct amount. If your child will be using the money for lunch at school, to buy necessary clothing, or other needs, then you should take this into account. Some people suggest keeping these necessity items separate from allowance spending.

As your kid ages you can begin to give him or her a growing allowance that he or she will use to budget these items. This will teach your child how to choose the most important things to buy. If you want, you can make simple categorical allowances like adults should do. For example, $80.00 for shoes in the Spring and Fall. Then if your kids want to buy more than one pair, or on expensive pair, he or she has the option to add gift money or stretch two lower priced pairs into the $80.00.

Allowance, Chores, and Lunch Money

Some parents build allowance into lunch money, but I can remember classmates skipping lunch to keep their extra allowance money.  You don't want to motivate your kid to go without necessities in order to save allowance.  This will teach your kids to skip meals to buy a nice pair of shoes.  Priorities should be set by you until your kids are appropriate age to make decisions like this.

Other parents may give their kids allowance money as a reward for completing chores around the house. Although this may sound like a great idea at first, in the long run the child may become motivated to only do the chores for money. Or the child will eventually grow older and begin getting money from a part time job or gift money. That child may not like the rate and refuse to be motivated by the "allowance" money you are giving for completion of chores.

Kids' Allowance Rules of Thumb

When thinking of a surplus amount, or amount left over after your kid buys necessities, think of them buying one item per two weeks that is age appropriate. Here is a rule of thumb list of things to give you an idea. These are bi-weekly figures, giving the kids two items per month.

  • 3-5 years old ($5.00 toys)
  • 6-9 years old ($10.00 toys)
  • 10-15 years old ($25.00 movies, video games, cd's, admission to movies)
  • 16-17 years old ($30.00 gas, eating out with friends, concerts, electronics)

Standard of Living and Kids' Allowance

Ask yourself, "What is our family's standard of living?" If you are in middle class, then you would likely not give the same allowance as someone living below poverty. At middle class and beyond, you will send a message to your kids with the amount you choose. Some say that if you give kids too much, you will make them unmotivated to earn their own money. You spoil them by handing money for nothing. Keep this in mind. Whether your household income is $40,000.00 per year or $120,000.00 a year, you might have similar allowance amounts. Encourage your child to make good decisions with what you give him or her.

Extra chores and jobs should be encouraged as ways for kids to make money beyond allowance. The real question to answer is probably, what amount would still motivate them to work hard. That same amount should be high enough also to motivate saving. In other words, if the amount is too low, then the kid will basically say, "What's the point." Which may encourage work ethic, but not teach sense of saving.

Talk about Allowance with Kids

The single most important thing you can do as a parent is to ask your child questions about allowance spending.  For example, "Are you sure you want to buy that item, or would you rather save it for something nicer?"  Watch your kid's spending habits with allowance money to get a tast of how he or she will handle money in the future.  Have conversations about what you notice.  "I noticed that you are having trouble buying things you want by the end of the two week period.  What could you do to fix that?"  These questions come across much better than simply yelling and telling the kid what to do.  Get him to think for himself and you will be giving him the things he needs and wants the rest of his life.

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Comments 3 comments

Shirley11280 5 years ago

I too have 3 kids and I always have a question of how much allowance to pay to my kids. I want to teach them to manage money. I used to assign my kids chores and pay allowance when chores were done. So one of my friends turned me on to this allowance tracking tool online called http://www.threejars.com .It’s really fun-looking for kids—shows money in spend, save, and share jars—so my kids has fun with saving money.


Daniel 3 years ago

Im 16 only child and i get 1000 a week. My parents make like 9000 each. And thats if i been good


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music love 3 years ago from United States Author

Daniel, I hope you mean Pesos, because I'm a little worried for your well-being if you are getting that kind of money each week. There's a lot of good you could be doing with that money, but there's also a lot of bad.

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