Allowance in Our Family

Purple Fluffy Box

Why an Allowance?

We have always given our children offering for church; “money for Jesus” they have called it since they could first speak and tottle off to their toddler class. Usually it was a quarter – sometimes two.

One Sunday afternoon I found John playing with a quarter and questioned him as to where he had gotten it; turns out he had stolen it from his cousin. When I questioned the cousin, he told me Chloe had given it to him. When I questioned Chloe as to where she had gotten it, she explained that she had only given one quarter to Jesus that morning because she wanted to give one to her cousin.

We had a little chat about how the money that was given to her for offering is for Jesus and by not giving it to Him, she was stealing. This made her very sad. She didn’t want to steal from Jesus but she had really wanted a quarter for her cousin. She had just turned four.

That was when I realized that perhaps it might be a good idea for my girl to have a little of her own money to do with as she wished, and for her to learn a little bit about money.

Is it Payment for Chores?

No! When we decided to start with an allowance, we both agreed that we didn’t want the children to have the mentality they had to get paid for their chores or that we had to pay them for any work they do around home. I was concerned that every time I would ask a child to do something, they would expect to be paid. On the other hand, DH wouldn’t go to work if they weren’t going to pay for him. All of these things went through minds as we debate on giving our four year old an allowance.

So what did we come up with?

  • We do our {age-appropriate} chores because we are a part of the family.
  • Each week, daddy gets a paycheck for working. We share in that paycheck because we are a family. So you get an allowance.
  • Extra special jobs can be requested if someone wants to earn money.

How Much?

We started Chloe with 4 coins: one for Jesus, one for saving in her bank account and two for her to do with as she wished (spend, save, giveaway – whichever).

Chloe did (and is doing!) surprisingly well. She happily gave the Lord her first fruits, she happily handed over her coin for saving and then she carefully placed the remaining two coins in her purple fluffy box.

Currently Chloe is 6 and receives 4 quarters each Saturday while John has just turned 5 and receives 4 nickels each week. Chloe carefully saves her two coins each week and has then deposited it in her account when it adds up, or has purchased treats and/or toys.  John carries his two nickels  around in his pocket each week and frequently loses them. John will not graduate from nickels until he does a little better in the care of his two coins each week.

Trading Shop!

One of the most looked-forward to days during the month is Trading Shop. Mama has a silver cash box. In it is filled with all the coins and some lower denomination paper money. We start with the lowest, if anyone has 5 pennies, they can choose to trade them in for a nickel or keep the 5 pennies. I emphasize that there is no right answer as both are equal in value. Then we move up the value chain. If someone has two nickels then they can trade them in for a dime. We talk about how they have the choice since both are equal in value. They love trading up and work towards the goal of that first paper money – a five dollar bill. Last year Chloe was actually able to save her coins, extra change she was given and her birthday money and through several months of trading, she finally was able to trade for a fifty dollar bill – wow! She then deposited it in her bank account. I was so proud and so was she.

They enjoy it and wow, they are learning quite a bit about the value of coins.

Do your children receive an allowance? At what age did you start?

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