We’ve recently introduced pocket money. My boys are 6 and 7 years old.
This is Pocket Money – Part 2. I’ll be covering: how we introduced pocket money, how much pocket money to give, and how it works for us.
How we introduced pocket money
Some people give their kids pocket money with no strings attached and some save it for good marks at school. We decided we would introduce it by attaching it to household chores.
My kids have been used to getting up each morning and looking at a list on the fridge. When they started school it reminded them what they needed to do each morning e.g. get dressed, eat breakfast, wash, brush teeth, and pack school bag (lunchbox, water-bottle, book bag). Only when they had ticked everything off the list were they were allowed to watch tv. Then I could get myself washed and dressed in peace!
These daily tasks have become routine, so it seemed like a great idea to ‘upgrade’ the jobs board. I have explained that to earn pocket money my kids need to help by doing family jobs. The jobs are age-appropriate such as making their beds, feeding the cats, tidying their toys away, emptying the compost and putting sellotape/paper rubbish in the bin etc. When it comes to deciding on chores, only you know what your kid is capable of!
At the end of the week, we praise them enormously for their help and give them their pocket money in coins. Then we update the jobs board, swap the chores for a new week and it all starts again.
How much pocket money should you give?
My kids are only little and I see pocket money as being more about giving them a little bit of money for treats. So they only get $1 a week. They do get an opportunity to earn more if they help with other jobs like washing the car, raking up leaves, cleaning etc. I do not expect their pocket money to cover school costs, activities, sports, holiday programmes etc.
How much money you decide to give your kids is up to you. It will depend on how old they are, your personal circumstances and what you expect your kids to do with their money.
Some people suggest $1 for every year of age – whether that’s weekly or monthly is up to you. If you want your kids to use it to cover their lunch, their after-school activities and they are old enough to buy their own clothes, you will obviously need to give them more!
How it works for us
Pocket money is a great introduction and my little monkeys are learning to contribute at home. My kids feel good about helping and earning money. It’s not just about waiting for the tooth fairy or for birthday money.
My 7-year-old sometimes takes the initiative and sweeps up, wipes the table or tidies up his bedroom without being asked so he can earn extra dollars. Most of the time he’d rather play than do chores, so we haven’t needed to set a weekly limit yet!
Why I give my kids cash
At this age, my boys want to see and touch their money and enjoy deciding whether they spend or save it. Plus, counting their coins over and over again provides hours of entertainment!
With high-street banks offering money boxes for digital accounts, like ASB’s cashless money box, I did consider giving them a digital money box. But, when I explained it to them they just looked at me like I was crazy! “How can it be real, if I can’t see the money?” I was asked.
I took this to mean they just didn’t get it. I’ll look at Clever Kash (or something like it) again when they are old enough to get more pocket money and they will put their trust in the bank! ASB have got an awesome chore chart and a few fun activities on their website.
In the meantime, making money boxes, shopping for purses, wallets, and buying lollies has kept the excitement going.
Spend or Save?
When you’re little, it’s a hard concept to understand that once you’ve spent your money it’s gone! My boys usually buy lollies, but sometimes they surprise me and save their money. Ironically, my 7-year-old has bought himself a safe! He’s talking about bars of gold now.