To Give or Not to Give – Why Allowance makes Cents!
Last week my 13-year-old hit me up again for money to buy games on iTunes. I told him it’s time for him to start shelling out for his love of online music. His reply? “With what money?” He’s right, I have been scattered to say the least when it comes to allowance. He gets about five dollars a week, when I remember to put it into his online account. That means he has very little money for things he wants to buy. I end up paying for almost everything, from music to movies.
At some point in our lives we all have to learn the basics about money. One of the easiest ways for kids to learn the cold hard facts about cash is to actually give them some! Many parenting experts believe allowances can help children understand the concept of a budget; how to save, and how to spend. Julie Freedman Smith of parentingpower.ca says kids as young as kindergarten or grade one can benefit from a regular allowance, “That is when they are aware about things in stores they want to buy. Then if they have their own money system they can be considering, ‘Well do I want to spend money on this or don’t I’.”
Opinions are divided over whether allowances should be tied to chores. Some parents think chores are simply part of being a family and shouldn’t be rewarded. Others say going above and beyond every day chores should result in a bit of a financial boost.
For families who feel strongly about teaching the value of helping others, some of a child’s allowance can be allotted to a charity of their choice. That is how it works in Freedman Smith’s household. A portion of allowance is for savings, some goes to charity, and some is for spending right away.
As for how much to pay, there is no right answer, though some parents use the dollar per year of age yardstick for their kids allowance. Whatever the amount, ponying up for a regular allowance can really pay off helping your child understand the importance of managing money.