Pocket Money - or 'should I pay my kid to live here?'

People are often confused about pocket money for children. To give or not.

On the one hand it can seem as if randomly throwing some cash at a child is spoiling them beyond reason and yet expecting them to have no money of their own and thus no power to buy their own things is controlling on a parent's part.

Many parents will suggest 'let them earn it by doing jobs around the house' but then the other side will counter with 'but they should help out anyway, no one pays me to mow the lawn'. And this is true but someone somewhere is paying you something...(unless you won the lottery, are an independently wealthy peer of the realm) You either get some sort of government payments if you don't or cannot work, or you get paid if you have a job. So it would seem reasonable to give your child the same life, albeit on a smaller scale. (and no you can't send them up chimneys anymore - and yes they can get 'a real job' but they must be 13 and can only work part time)

The thing about pocket money is that it can help a child to learn, it can let them understand waiting, budgeting, saving, the value of things and these are vital skills for later in life. Your 10 year old may moan he can't afford the latest transformer toy because he spent his money on a Dr Who comic, but this a good lesson to learn now, before he arrives at University and spends a month's book budget on beer (bad example I bet he does that anyway!)

So let's assume you do think that a child should be given pocket money - now the inevitable problem of 'how much?' rears it's head! How much is too much, what is enough? what should a child be expected to buy with that money?

Of course I cannot answer for you. You have different circumstances and a different child to me! But things to take into account ar the age of the child, will any money be saved and how (would a bank account be a good idea, many teens like the 'adult-ness' of this and they can manage their money with a bank card)? Will your child have to buy things out of the money or is it proper 'treat money' to spend on non-essentials and days out etc. Will your child be expected to buy Christmas gifts for the family out of it for example.

So here is what we did, and what we do now. DD has had pocket money since she started school and was old enough to understand what money was. Initially she was just given 50p a week and it was for sweets or a small toy or whatever she wanted, she would often save it for a few weeks to buy something she wanted.

As she got older we continued to give her the 50p but we added the chance to earn more, do good homework and get 5p, be polite 5p reward, keep your room clean 10p etc

So by about 10 she was earning a £1 or £2 a week.

She is now 15 and gets £2 a week for existing, She also earns money in £1 or 50p increments for doing chores, getting good grades, doing homework without fuss etc. She 'takes home' nearer to £5 a week. I also top up her phone (GiffGaff - bargain sim deals!!) with £5 a month. So sh'e is probably getting £25 or £30 a month. (oh and that's another thing, paying weekly or monthly? Some choose to pay a child monthly to encourage bugeting but that can be tricky if they earn bits and pieces as the month goes on, you may need a book to keep notes!)

She doesn't have to buy her own shoes or clothes, but if she wanted something extra she would. She does have to find money for birthday gifts for her school friends, but at Christmas I often match what she has saved for gifts for the family. She saves a fair bit and tends to have shopping sprees with her mates. She has a bank account and likes using her debit card. Maybe we are lucky, but so far she seems pretty good with money, she doesn't 'borrow' and she understands about waiting until you can afford things.

What do you do about pocket money? I'd love you to comment. Am I over generous or really mean?


  1. Anoop Singh - Best4/2/15

    I feel what we think is fair is determined by what we got. I got £5 a week all through high school and that was all mine. Our boys get £5 a week, they're 12&13. Eldest saves his for anything special he wants and youngest spends all his on sweets. They help with chores (unpaid) on an ad hoc basis and have everything else paid for, including phone.

  2. Tattooed Mummy4/2/15

    Hmm maybe but then if we take inflation into consideration DD should have £60 a month to match my £20 a month in the 80s!! (take a look at http://www.moneysorter.co.uk/calculator_inflation2.html#calculator )

  3. Karen Butcher5/2/15

    My son gets £7.50 per week - he's almost 17, so has things he buys for himself, like stationery for 6th form etc. it seems high, but he also plays a lot of online games, and out of this, he's expected to pay for all of them himself. I used to pay them direct anyway, so basically nothing has changed except he has responsibility for paying them now. He can buy his own oddments for his camera too.

    My daughter had more, because she (like TM and myself) has CMT and so we received disability living allowance for her - since this was technically "her" money anyhow, she had £100 out of that benefit per month, but with this, she paid for all her clothes, occasionally shoes, make up and other incidentals. As a 21 year old, now all I have to worry about with her, is what she's done with her debit card or purse this time, since she loses them for a hobby...!

    I got absolutely nothing in the way of pocket money - my parents didn't have any spare cash to give... It was up to my grandparents to provide any treats! Never bothered me!

  4. think I got 5 pound a week when I was younger J gets this now but has to work for it

  5. Campanula096/2/15

    I don't recall getting regular pocket money off my parents (I've just sent my mum a text to find out) however, I do know my grandmother gave me pocket money every week. It started off as 50p and climbed to the dizzy heights of £1! I also remember taking the empty Corona pop bottles back to the shop and getting 10p for every bottle returned. I never did chores as such, however, I loved cleaning the house when my mum and dad went out on a Saturday night, I also cleaned my sisters bedroom most weekends for £1 ... If you'd seen the state of her room, you'd realise that she was getting a bargain! I was in full time employment by the time I was 17.

    I now have 4 boys. My eldest now 25 had a paper round from the age of 13 and worked hard and so did I as he wasn't allowed to collect the money people owed on his own until he was 16! For this my eldest got to keep 10p for every paper he delivered, 24 customers x 10p = £2.40 x 6 days = £14.40 for 8 hours work. He did this for 3 years and we then decided it was less stressful (for us) to get him to help around the house and match what he was getting on his paper round. He took a year out before going to university and during that time he worked.

    Our second eldest son was and is very good at cleaning, particularly bathrooms! Like his elder brother we gave him £15 per week. After leaving comprehensive he took 2 years out before going to university one of which he was our childcare provider and cleaner (I work 3 days) and the other year was spent working in a food preparation factory.

    So now we get to our youngest two who are 6 and 14. At the moment neither receive pocket money and I admit it's a bit of a dilemma for me, to give or not to give? They rarely go without, if we are financially able and what they request isn't too extravagant or too regular we will treat them. However, my 14yo has started asking a bit too often for what in my day would have been a "Wait until your birthday" or "See what 'Santa' brings you" gift. Therefore, whilst I was poorly the other weekend a discussion took place between my hubby and 14yo and my generous hubby suggested a figure of £10 a week for our 14yo (the average UK pocket money for a 15yo being £12 http://aol.it/1tPgdJd) subject to a list of jobs he must do around the house, which sadly he has already miserably failed at ... so he's not even been paid yet!

    So the subject of pocket money is still very much up in the air in this household at the moment ... I'm thinking a typed up 'jobs to do' list for 14yo maybe a way forward ... but then should we be giving him a little something just because we love him?

    And the 6yo? Well he's none the wiser at the moment, so I'm going to keep mum until he is.

  6. Rafaela juno5/3/15

    Yes you should otherwise i will just run away

  7. This is one of those blog posts I need to get around to writing. No my son never had pocket money. Yes he was expected to help around the house. He had everything he wanted (including a car/driving lessons/insurance). But he also does well at school, leaves for school at 7:30 daily and has had a well paying part time job since he was 16 and pays us money to live here (well help pay back for some of the car insurance really. And I say we bought the car - he paid half (it was only £500) because it was all he had at the time and he has paid us back the rest since. I don't think there's a magic one formula fits all really.