How much should you give your child for allowance? Should you give them an allowance in the first place? You may be surprised that an amazing benefit of giving your child an allowance is the reduction of clutter in your home! Read on to see how! Then download my handy allowance chart to use in your own family!
“Wait, you’re telling me that you just give your kids an allowance without making them do any work?”
I was incredulous. I was talking to a friend I greatly admired who had an amazing family and extremely well-behaved children. It was the kind of family I wanted to have, and so I was always asking this friend for her secrets.
I never had an allowance growing up. In my mind, the only kids who got allowances were rich kids whose parents had tons of money to spare and wanted to spoil their children.
If you look on the internet, you can find many varying opinions about allowance. This article from Psychology Today explores different types of allowance and comes to the basic conclusion that it can be a good thing.
This article from Dave Ramsey called “Why Kids Shouldn’t Get an Allowance” explains the opposing viewpoint. Until speaking with my friend, I agreed with Dave Ramsey.
It never occurred to me that allowance could be a way to teach responsibility, and that an amazing side effect would be the reduction of clutter in my home! And it had never occurred to me to include such an idea in my own Home Organization Made Easy Program.
This was all before I know how my friend’s allowance plan worked. Let me explain it to you.
How a Good Allowance Plan Works
Each child got an allowance–no strings attached, and no work required–based on their age. It started out really small when the children were young, and grew substantially as they aged.
However, their responsibilities also grew substantially as they aged.
Up until the 5th grade, they were just responsible for using their own money to buy themselves toys and treats. They were also encouraged to put money into savings, and to pay tithing. (Both of our families are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and tithing is a principle taught and lived from a very young age).
Once children hit the 6th grade, they were responsible for their own outside entertainment. That meant that if a friend invited them to a movie or to go rollerskating, they had to pay for that themselves.
In the 8th grade, they were responsible for buying gifts for their friends. (Birthdays and Christmas, for example).
When they hit the 9th grade, the real fun started. That’s when they became responsible for buying their own clothes. I must tell you, I looked forward to this so much for my second daughter, who is CONSTANTLY wanting clothes.
How can I get my child to declutter?
I found that as soon as my kids became responsible for buying their own clothes and own toys, the excess clutter being brought into our home greatly diminished. The best way to teach your kids to declutter is to teach them not to bring stuff home in the first place!
Let me tell you what happens when we go to the store now. My kids know that I am not going to buy toys or clothes for them. They bring their own money and look around for what they can afford. They are more aware of what things cost and look out for good deals. And they wrestle with the dilemma of what to buy.
I love to see them try to decide between two things, rather than just expecting that Mom or Dad will buy them both.
Let me tell you another wonderful way that this allowance plan has cut down on clutter.
We don’t police our children’s spending. Once they have that allowance, it is theirs to spend as unwisely as they like. In fact, I’m not dismayed when I see them wasting their money on something, because I know they are about to learn a valuable lesson.
That lesson comes when they get a last-minute invitation to go out with friends, or get invited to a birthday party, and they have no money.
Then we have the policy that they can do extra jobs around the house to earn money. One day, our second daughter needed money to go to an activity with friends. So she cleaned our entire bathroom (including the shower and shower doors), the bathtub, the van, and many other places around the house that needed attention.
This was the day I truly knew that the allowance plan was working.
(As a note, just because you give your kids allowance does not mean that they never have to work. My friend’s children were still required to work as part of the family to take care of the home. They did not receive any money for this. It was just expected. It is the same in our home, but our kids can do extra jobs when they need to earn more money).
How much should you give your child for allowance?
When I first saw how much my friend paid her kids for allowance, I was shocked! It seemed like a LOT, especially as they got into high school! But I have now come to realize that this is money that they would have spent on these kids anyway. But now the kids are responsible for spending the money themselves.
Since viewing the money this way, I have also required my daughter (yes, the same one) to pay me back when I felt she was wasting money I had already spent on her. For example, one day she didn’t want to go to gymnastics, but didn’t have a good reason for skipping class. I told her that if she wanted to miss class, she would need to pay me the $25 I had already paid for that class. To my surprise, she went right to her room, got the money, and handed it to me.
The amount you pay your children will vary on your circumstances and finances. We have decided to just pay our kids the same amount that our friends paid their kids. This started out as $1.00 a month for a preschooler, going to $8.00 a month by 6th grade.
By 12th grade, the kids are getting $100 a month, but are responsible for treats, toys, savings, tithing, outside entertainment, friends’ gifts, clothes, and gas for any car they are using.
If you’d like to get the entire allowance chart with details of how much money the children get each year, along with what they are responsible for, you can get it here.
Most of parenting is just experimenting to figure out what works with your family. I recommend you give the allowance plan a try! See how it cuts down on clutter in your home! (You may be surprised by how much you bought for your kids, and how much YOU might have actually contributed to the clutter problem! I know that was the case for me!)
Good luck, and I’d love to know if you try it! Leave a comment on this post with your experiences and ideas related to allowance for kids!
For more decluttering help, check out my post 4 Fatal Organizing Mistakes You’re Making (That Are Breeding Clutter).