The allowance dilemma

The birthday gift money has been spent, but new Lego sets beckon from the store shelves. When a kid is too young for a job, where does spending money come from?

At our house we’ve tried an allowance, then let it slide. Perhaps it’s time to revive it. But how much, and should it be tied to chores? It depends on how old your kids are, and very much on who you ask.

In a piece recently posted by The Seattle Times, writer Jeanne Tepper lays out how to talk to your kids about money by age group and says most families introduce an allowance by age 6 to 10.

Some experts suggest $1 a week for half the child’s age (an 8-year-old gets $4 a week), while others say $1 per week per age (the same 8-year-old gets $8 a week).

There’s apparently a great divide over whether it should be tied to household chores.

I like Ron Lieber’s post on Slate about how to handle this, including splitting money into three containers to spend, save and give.

“Most parents link chores and allowance,” he writes. “If you do, there will come a point when your kids have enough money and decline to do chores. What are you going to do then?” His suggestion: “Far better to take privileges away than money when kids neglect their tasks.”

And no matter the amount, most writers emphasize letting your kids own their spending decisions, failures and all, so the money lessons aren’t lost.

What’s your allowance solution? Share it in the comments below.

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