Children:The ABCs of Allowances

Q. What, if anything, should my child be required to pay for with an allowance?

A. If you expect your child to pay for necessities, such as school clothes, sports gear, or other things you would normally pay for, the allowance will have to be fairly large. These items should be reflected in the budget you draw up together.

Q. A couple of times a year, one of my kids will tell me they haven't gotten their allowance in weeks and would like back pay now. I can't remember if I paid them or not. Do you have any suggestions?

A. In a busy household, keeping track of cash disbursements isn't always easy, so why not formalize the procedure a bit? At the beginning of the year, give each of your kids a notebook or calendar containing 52 IOUs, one for each week. Then pick a day (Friday and Sunday are popular) to give each child an allowance in exchange for one IOU. In that way, you know your children are not double dipping, and it will be easier for you (and your kids) to keep track of the money coming in and going out.

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