Do you give your littles pocket money?
As parents, we must set our kiddies up to make good choices with their spending habits as life goes on. We've read a few books on this theme and it seems to us that there's no universally accepted 'right' way of awarding pocket money or a 'right way' to guide them in making good financial choices. That said, there seem to be two basic paths:
1. Earning money by doing chores
2. A weekly or monthly amount that's given to children regardless their 'work' about the house
Honestly, we're not very happy with either of these approaches. Here's why...
The first method (earning money by doing chores) conditions kids to expect payment for helping about the house. We believe helping out at home is natural and shouldn't be rewarded with more than a kind word or few. Conditioning kids to expect 50p for taking out the rubbish early-on sets us up for later conversations about 'how much will you pay me' whenever we ask for a little help. This isn't the sort of conversation we're really going to want to have. We believe our children should have responsibilities from early-on (setting the table, taking out the rubbish, folding their clothes, etc) with no expectation of payment. Helping out is part of being part of the family.
The second method (a weekly or monthly allowance) feels a bit like a hand-out and may set them up for disappointment later when they realise we all must work to provide for the life and level of comfort we crave.
So, as with most things, we've decided that perfect's the enemy of good. For about a year and half, we've been practicing the second method, albeit somewhat reluctantly. We have a little bank register sheet on the refrigerator and 'deposit' £1 in each child's 'account' on Sundays. When our children are saving up for something big, we parents may extend the option to go halves with them. If they save half, we'll pitch in. This halfsies approach seems to help our smalls to keep an interest in saving up for something big and worthwhile rather than dispensing their funds toward pointless pocket money toys.
Our kids can deposit funds from grandparents or birthdays into their 'accounts', but are also free to withdrawal their funds at any time.
We've discussed introducing interest on savings and other concepts like stocks--but, at 4 & 6, we feel our kiddos are still a bit young...best wait a year or few.
This system isn't perfect--we struggle with questions on whether we should still go halfsies when a large portion of the child's funds have been gifted by grandparents, etc...but, on the whole this system seems to work for us at this age and stage.
Have you found a magic way to tackle pocket money? If so, we'd love to hear about it...get in touch with us at k[@]bumblebox.co.uk.
Bumble Box kits are designed to bring families together. We catch animals' footprints in the sand, give the trees a shake to see what's living in there, host a Family Olympics, plant a fairy garden, race homemade boats in the stream...you get the drift. Together, we'll make it through your family-time bucket list.
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