A View from the Other Side…Allowances


By Jayne Berkaw One of the big conundrums of parenthood is whether or not to give your kids an allowance.  A lot of it is based on your own experience, your view of its place in parenting, your financial situation, etc.

My husband and I agreed that giving our kids a regular “payment” they could slice and dice to cover their wants/needs was something we wanted to do.  He wanted it to include the purchase of their own clothing when they reached 12 years (as his family had done), as well as entertainment, toys and games, etc.  I wanted a say in clothing purchases, and was able to negotiate that out.  We agreed that they would be paid their age on a weekly basis with percentages broken out for cash, long-term savings and charity.  Those last two went into envelopes that eventually were deposited or mailed.

Was this the best way?  Doubtful. But we read about it somewhere and liked it, plus the kids enjoyed getting a “raise” every birthday.  However, were we constantly trying to remember if we had put the money in the envelopes? Yes!  Did we find ourselves searching for ones and fives and even end up putting IOUs in the envelopes when we had none?  Yes!  Should we have discussed what qualified for a longer-term goal?  Yes! Yes! Should we have better evaluated charitable causes that might have had enduring value to them?  Yes! Yes! Yes!

Obviously, there’s no simple answer, but today’s kids have more money and infinitely more product ads and activities luring them to part with it.  As parents, it’s important, even vital, that we give our kids the experience of figuring out what they want and how they’re going to pay for it.  As someone I know recently pointed out, we have to give them the opportunity to fail, and learn from it, while the amounts involved are still minimal.

The beauty of FamilyMint is that if you choose to give an allowance, the tools are there to: 1) Open the conversation first between the parents, and then between the parents and the children, and, 2) Once decisions are made, take the drudgery out of the process for the parents and make it a highly motivating learning experience for all.

If allowances are not for you, the FamilyMint tool still offers incredible ways to teach your kids to appreciate the value of money and how to use it.  Take advantage of it!