Parenting: Pros and Cons of Allowance

July 26, 2010

I'm really not opposed to it, but I wasn't really sure what kinds of parameters to set. What age do you start? How much money should you give? Do you let them decide completely how to spend or save it?

I do struggle with the idea of an allowance. I think my children should do chores because they are part of a family. I don't want to give them the impression they only have to do what their told if they want the 5 dollars at the end of the week.

However, an allowance is a good way to teach them the value of a dollar and the importance of budgeting and saving.

I felt a little better when I went to Familycorner.com and learned that most parents don't know when to start an allowance or how much to give. Eileen Gallo, Ph.D., and Jon Gallo, J.D. wrote in detail on the subject. It helped me a lot. I'll give you the "Reader's Digest version".

The average age to begin an allowance is 6-years-old. Most children with older siblings start a bit younger. You might want to get a piggy bank with different slots for savings, spending, investing and donating. I love this idea! I went online to find one. Here's the link: http://www.parents-choice.org/product.cfm?product_id=10467&award=xx

How much do you give? There's no magic answer for the age you start an allowance or the amount you give. Dr. Gallo had an interesting idea. She suggested you pick something that you currently buy for your child and give your child the responsibility of saving and purchasing the item. Then add a little extra so they have enough money to donate and save.

The goal is to teach your child not to make impulse decisions. They need to decide if it's worth it to buy the silly bands this week or wait until the end of the month and buy something more elaborate.

Frankly, I think these are lessons we all could learn!

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