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?

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