Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Should I Give an Allowance?

By William Blake

Children start earning money from an allowance at home before they ever get a job. Not all parents, however, agree that giving children a regular allowance is a good idea. Consider some ways to decide whether or not to give an allowance to your children.

In times past, allowances were very low, being perhaps fifty cents each week. This is no longer the case, with many parents providing children with a weekly allowance of five to ten dollars. This can quickly add up, though, if your family includes several children.

Money that children earn because of completing household chores is different from the money they receive as part of a weekly allowance. An allowance should be used primarily in an effort to teach financial responsibility. Children will soon find that saving or putting together their money will allow them to purchase more, even if they choose to spend their allowance on candy and food.

A child's age and the income of the parents are the most important determining factors when it comes to the amount the child will receive as an allowance. Parents who are experiencing financial difficulties may need to keep their child's allowance low at first or just wait until their situation stabilizes and they are able to give their children more each week. You can explain to the children that they are being given an allowance because it is an honor for you to be their parent.

Wait to give an allowance to children until they are able to comprehend the concept of money and how it is to be used. You might choose to wait until their school discusses money and then use an allowance in conjunction with what they have been learning in their class.

Even if kids really don't show a desire to buy anything in particular, providing them with an allowance will help get them accustomed to using money. Use the allowance you give to teach kids the importance of saving. You can also take advantage of opportunities that arise to explain the prices of things they want and how saving up will let them be able to buy what they want.

If children decide they want to save their money in order to buy something, they will be excited to get their allowance and add to their savings until they have enough. They may even decide to just continue saving instead of purchasing the item. Either way, they will have learned a very important life lesson about delayed gratification and its benefits.

An allowance is helpful for kids to develop a healthy attitude about money. They didn't earn the money, but that doesn't mean that they should squander it either. When they start doing odd jobs around the house for more money, they will already know how to save what they earn.

There is nothing wrong with giving a child an allowance each week or each month. The money is theirs, but it is the parents' job to help them handle it with care. They will make mistakes, but there is time to correct these before they become responsible for themselves.

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