Allowances: Why We Don’t Give Them To Our Children

I’m just going to put this out there…

we do not give our children allowances.

Whew. I am glad that’s out in the open.

Several years ago my husband and I decided not to do the allowance thing with our children. Before you tell us how awful we are, let me tell you our reasons:

1. Household chores teach the children skills they’re eventually going to have to use on their own. How many people leave the nest and have no idea how to cook, sort laundry or properly load a dishwasher?

2. Some of the least favorite chores (cleaning up after the pets!) are directly related to something the children asked for and is something they promised they would do.

3. We don’t pay our children simply because they exist.

4. Here’s the kicker: we expect our children to help out around the house. We expect it. The kids know that and if they hate it they are free to raise their children differently.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t give our children money, however, because we do (boy, do we ever). We don’t give money away freely though, the children know they have to work for it.

We do provide our children with everything they NEED and more, we’re not unreasonable. Here are some real life examples of how we work:

1. Child #1 wants $30 to buy a concert ticket but only has $10. We will give her the extra $20 (and some money for food) but in return she must commit to babysitting her younger siblings for a total of 4 hours.

2. Child #3 wants to purchase a $5 book. This child doesn’t ask for stuff very often so I ordered the book for her without expecting anything in return.

3. Child #2 wanted some shorts to wear to her musical rehearsals. She has some shorts she could wear but she wanted a specific type that cost $18 at the store. I told her that I would buy her the shorts but that I wasn’t paying $18 for them. I told her we would look at Goodwill first, where we happened to find an almost identical pair for less than $2. If we hadn’t found the shorts at Goodwill we would have looked at other discount stores or asked for hand-me-downs.

4. Child #4 wants money to spend on souvenirs when we go on vacation. We told him that we would purchase one $5 souvenir for him but that he could earn more money by helping us with extra chores.

While some may argue that by not being an ATM for our children they will never learn money management skills. I argue that by not providing them with free money they are more aware of what they spend their money on, and more likely to save it.

What are your feelings on giving children an allowance?


3 thoughts on “Allowances: Why We Don’t Give Them To Our Children

  1. Love this! We don’t give our children allowances either for many of the same reasons you shared. We believe our children should be helping to make our family unit run smoothly. We disagree with paying them just to do things they should be doing to help out. We want our children to be independent and capable of handling themselves as they get older. Like you, we do provide what they need and often what they want, with some stipulations. They have also had the privilege of earning “extra” for doing “out of the ordinary” jobs. For example, when our oldest wanted to go on the Marching Band trip to NYC, he had to “work” to earn at least 1/2 of the $. He did odd jobs for people around and also went above and beyond at home – actually going beyond the amount we required of him. Kids appreciate more when they can take ownership of it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. No allowances at our house. The chores my kids do are chores needed to run the home. We are all family members and we all participate in running the home. I agree that children should know how to do basic chores and upkeep when they leave the nest. That is part of parenting. Right now #4 does not have a real job. She does get some babysitting work and often gets money at Christmas. She loves skinny jeans and they tend to be expensive. I make sure my girls have 3 to 4 pairs of jeans, but they are the inexpensive ones. So, I will pay for the amount I would have spent on jeans, and she has to come up with the rest. Child #3 is 20 and will be moving from home this summer. She has decided that the cheap 2 in 1 dollar general shampoo isn’t good enough for her hair. So, she buys her own Garnier. I provide the “household” brand and if you want something different, then it comes out of your pocket. It may sound harsh, but it has taught my children the value of money, the value of shopping for bargains, and the value that you don’t always need the “best” of everything!

  3. Pingback: Chores & Kids: How We Do It (including a sample chore chart!) |

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