Ask any kid whether he should get an allowance or not and they almost will always answer yes. I took a poll during my last kingdom kids class of how many of the students get an allowance. I was surprised to find out that most did not get anything. My first thought was that parents probably are fairly tight in their household finances and giving an allowance did not make good sense from that perspective. I am not judging anyone one on that decision but would rather appeal to the idea that you consider an allowance for your child as a valuable teaching tool.
In our household, our kids get a “just because your you” allowance. I am happy to share the wealth (so to speak) bit I do instill an expectation. That expectation is that you do your chore list and help out around the house. This instills a family value (that usually does not manifest itself until they are older) and gets the kids started on having some money in their pocket. What they do with that money is a great foundation for all kinds of lessons. One of the first should be giving back to God. The sooner we start teaching this lesson the better off our kids will be about giving. Giving should be natural and automatic and its a timeless topic for family meetings as well as discipline. In order to give on Sundays, kids have to have something to give, an that is where one aspect of having the allowance comes in.
The second aspect is money management. I vividly remember my four year old son and his personal stash of fifty cents. He got to go a garage sale with his mom and sister. There was a certain toy that he really wanted but was somewhat conflicted over buying. It cost twenty five cents. I could see him thinking and asked him if he was going to get it or not. “If I do dad, then I wont have much money left after” he replied. Even at four years old, the decision making process is priceless and a great foundation for later in life.
The third aspect is learning to budget. Unfortunately, kids today do not learn anything about personal finances or investing in high school. In my opinion they are not prepared for a huge part of being on their own. This can easily be taught at home by starting with an allowance. For me personally its so important that I feel its not an optional part of the budget. Surely when our kids are small we can find a small amount of cash to set aside for allowance. We do really well finding extra cash for a Starbucks coffee, we can easily make an adjustment. When they get older we can start teaching them how to budget their money. When they get old enough for their first job is when it gets really fun and rewarding. There are so many lessons to teach about finances once kids get a steady supply of cash coming in, but it all starts at an early age.
Take the time to create the “just because your you” allowance, it does not have to be more than a dollar or two to start. It will give your kids a great head start into their own responsible lives.