Posted by: Kate | May 15, 2008

kids and money

Everyone has their own way of teaching children about money. I’m not sure what is the right way, I just know the way we are trying for now. Our son receives an allowance that matches his age. So right now he gets $8 a month. This is not money he has to do anything for, in that it isn’t tied to chores. That leads down the path of “I don’t care if you don’t pay me, so I’m not going to set the table, feed the dog, etc.” Not acceptable in our house where you do your jobs because you are a member of this household, not because we pay you.

My husband, who was fed up with son’s messy bedroom, offered a deal when our son was looking for more money. Keep your bedroom clean (not inspection clean, mind you) for the month and we’ll add $5 to the allowance. (I don’t consider cleaning his room an essential chore.) He’s done it two of the last four months. He has until a certain date (before the middle of the month) to get the room clean, and after then it is too late. Sometimes he wants the money, sometimes he really doesn’t want to clean his room. (I think we have established that we are a messy house. As long as his laundry is in his hamper and he doesn’t wreck things, I tend to ignore his room.)

We do allow him to earn money in other ways as well. The past three months he has been saving for another light sabre, in keeping with his Star Wars obsession. He was constantly looking for ways to earn some extra money, so he helped me a great deal in getting the garden ready for spring. I don’t pay a lot, but enough to keep him happy. And I sure appreciated the help!

Today he had enough in the piggy bank to buy his light sabre. Good money lesson, and really nice to see him work to save for what he wanted.

(It takes him longer than you’d think, as we also require that $2 of that $8 goes into his long-term bank account. The one I assure him he will thank us for when he is 18 :) Also the one that I match 50 cents on the dollar for all deposits.)




  1. It sounds like you have a great system! And I like that you don’t make your son clean his room. I think it’s important for a child to have his/her own space. As long as I can close the door, I don’t care what it looks like in there!

  2. I could have written the beginning of this post almost word for word. We also don’t attach money to jobs. I love the book “Kids are Worth It”. The author says, “I don’t get paid for doing the dishes, why should my son.” But we also have a messy room from my daughter. It must be one of the most difficult things to teach a child. We have had this ongoing battle for 8 years now. I do love your idea about a bonus. That might work.

  3. We are very interested in hearing more about your efforts to bring financial literacy to children, and help them be aware and secure their futures.

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Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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