Raising Prescott: Finding a solution for the allowance discussion
The current debate — or perhaps discussion is a better word to use — in the Bergner household recently has been: Should we give the children an allowance?
Of course I use the word “give” rather loosely, because after all, giving money to kids for no reason seems a bit anti-productive when it comes to raising good humans who will hopefully contribute to society one day.
Thus, we come to our current talking points …
One: What should the children have to do to earn allowance?
Two: How much money are we talking here? Nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars? They are ages 7 and 5, soon to be 8 and 6, after all.
Three: Are they allowed to spend it all? Shouldn’t they save some of it? What should they save it for, and where do we put it?
Four: How often should they receive this money?
And finally, five: Do we take it away, or “dock” them allowance when inappropriate behavior or uncooperative attitudes are surely in their future?
According to Ashley Chorpenning in a 2018 article on quickenloans.com called, “The pros and cons of giving an allowance,” there are plenty of reasons on both sides of the table.
- An allowance can teach kids about finances, responsibility and the consequences of poor financial decisions.
- If tied to chores, allowance can teach the kids the relationship between work and pay.
- Allowance can give your children spending money for non-essential items such as toys or video games.
- Allowance can be an incentive to get chores done or a reward for good grades, which could help them get into a better college or receive scholarships.
My favorite pro on Chorpenning’s list is having the kids use part of their allowance for donation, teaching them the importance of giving to those less fortunate.
- An allowance may undermine the importance of contributing to the family, getting a perception that duties deserve reward.
- Paying kids for chores teaches them that working for money isn’t always fun.
- Children may not be motivated to do chores if they don’t need the money or have saved enough.
- Challenges may arise if your family lives on a small budget.
- Kids will likely want to spend their allowance on things they don’t need, or want, and that could create poor financial decision making as an adult.
As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons for, and against, giving kids an allowance.
I think taking all of the aforementioned points and applying them correctly could be the best solution.
Keep the amount of money small, like a quarter for helping with the dishes or sweeping the floor. Or 50 cents for helping with the laundry and taking out the trash.
But things like making their bed, putting their clothes away and cleaning their room by putting toys away should not be assigned a dollar amount. Those are chores required of them for living in our household.
At the end of a two -week period, maybe on payday, hand children the allowance, but also sit down and have a discussion about what the money will be used for.
Should we save a certain amount? Certainly. Should we use some to donate? Absolutely. Then talk about what’s left and help the children make the best decision with their money moving forward.
If you have any tips or tricks to what you’ve done in the past, or are currently doing with the allowance discussion and would like to share, feel free to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier of the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email him at email@example.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.