Chores & Allowance: A Money Lesson For Children

As a mother of four, I love paying my children an allowance.  While this may sound crazy to you, it is actually a huge help in my household.

In our house, an allowance needs to be earned. They don’t get money just for being alive, or for doing their regular chores around the house.

The whole family should help with cleaning up after dinner, making beds, and picking up after themselves.  This shapes what kind of adult a child becomes.  I pay my children an allowance for doing extra things around the house, in the yard, or in the community that are helpful to me, and my community.

You can begin teaching financial lessons to a child as young as three years old (depending upon the maturity and abilities of the child, of course).  My daughter is three years old, and we have been teaching her to do chores from the time she could understand the instructions of a task.  At three she can pull the cover up on her bed, and clean up behind herself (for which she does not get paid) and she can also do extra chores, and those are the jobs where she can earn money.  For example, I give my three year old, three paid jobs per day.  Her jobs may include emptying the small trash cans into the large can, putting a trash bag into the large can when I have emptied it, cleaning her baby sister’s toys up, wiping down the tables and counters, and helping clean out the van.  There are many extra jobs she can do daily, and she earns around .25 per job.  She gets paid every Friday and splits her money between three banks. She puts 10% in the giving bank, 10% in the savings bank and the other 80% in the spending bank.  As she gets older and understands more about spending and saving, her budgeting system will become more advanced.

For older children I recommend assigning a weekly schedule of extra chores so they also learn about routines, and getting work done in a timely manner.  I’ve recently begun using the HomeLife™ calendar to help my boys stay organized with their paid and non-paid chores.

I make a To-Do list for each child, and if it’s a task that repeats daily or weekly, I assign that to the tasks profile.  Now my boys can print their To-Do list off daily and cross it off as they go.  I can also assign a due date to the chore; a great for helping them stay on task.  Having the whole family’s list in front of me is a great way to remind myself of what needs to be done, and helps me to supervise without stressing about forgetting something.

Every child and family is different, but an allowance is a great tool that can teach so many valuable lessons, and can easily be adjusted to work within your family’s budget.



Editor’s note: This post was written by Shasta Walton, author of the Faithfully Free blog.

Posted on July 25, 2011, in Family, Mom Tips, Planning. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I love your suggestions on organizing their paid and unpaid chores. Any parent with more than on child knows how hard it can be by the end of the week to remember who did what when……..If you get my drift……..

  2. Excellent ideas for chores and earnings for children!

  3. We found a responsibility chart that you can use magnets to track what his extras are. Like you, we don’t give money for the standard chores like picking up his toys but for things like helping give the dog a bath.

    We also do the 3 banks. I love the idea of teaching them from a young age that 20% of whatever you make should not be counted on for spending. Form the habit now and when they are adults, they won’t even have to think about it.

    • That chart sounds like a great idea (assuming I could keep the magnets out of the babies reach lol). You also make a great point about habit forming…it’s never to early to form good habits!

  4. You do have some good suggestions here. I love that you even pay the 3 year old for extra chores. When my kids turned 12, I opened a student chekcing account for them at the bank, and we deposited their allowance and their school lunch money in that account. They were then responsible for making sure they did not bounce any checks. They could buy whatever they wanted for their lunches, or pay for the lunchroom lunches if they would rather do that. If they wanted more expensive shampoo than I was buying for the family, they bought it out of their money, etc. It helped them learn to budget and make decisions about spending money. And if they ever bounced a check, I closed the account. Only one of the three ever did that.

  5. Great idea as a teaching tool!


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