Allowance question

Avatar for suzyk2118
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Registered: 07-30-1997
Allowance question
Wed, 01-28-2004 - 4:47pm
How do you deal with your child when s/he finds out s/he gets WAY LESS allowance than friends? This is a big stickler here, as we live in an affluent area, but only 'made it in' because we got a major fixer-upper to get into the school district. Some of these parents - I tell you. One kid has 3 personal flat screened tvs. Others easily get $20+/week. I've set a new 'rule' on ds that he's not thrilled with too; he must have a 'reserve' of $50, and THEN can spend money. Otherwise it'd burn a hole in his pocket.

I guess I was just not nearly as materialistic as he and his friends are (so-and-so just got this gamecube game, and that one, etc.). Nor were the usual pasttimes as expensive as now.



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Registered: 05-02-2003
Thu, 01-29-2004 - 1:39am

Ooo, that's a tough one.

Sherrie Rainbow

Avatar for cl_janetlh
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Registered: 03-19-2003
Thu, 01-29-2004 - 12:44pm

This is a tough question. I've approached this whole issue as a family values decision. No matter how much you have, your kids will know others whose parents give them more! I just explain that our values are that kids don't need as much spending money as some parents give. I tell them that it's not that we can't afford to put TVs in their rooms, we choose not to.

You could explain that your values directed you to buy a house in a particular school district, but that you have to make other sacrifices to provide him with this quality education. If there are specific things he wants to save money for, or has other money needs, you can talk to him about how he could earn extra money. Does a neighbor need plants watered or a pet looked after while they are away? Could he walk an older neighbor's dog in lousy weather? Could he shovel snow? (I don't remember where you live ;-) As our kids approach 11 and beyond, there are definitely ways they can earn a little bit of money.


Jewish Family Life

Avatar for suzyk2118
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Registered: 07-30-1997
Thu, 01-29-2004 - 1:06pm
Good points. I think what I want to be sure of is that he's NOT the kind like a number of adults I know that once he gets a 'real' job, he spends (or overspends) it all. His best friend's mom still has a college loan; she's 39 this year. I don't want him strapped like that. I do want him to learn to spend wisely, but also to save as well. Tough thing to learn, I guess, if it's not what you see friends doing.

Sue, in very cold St. Louis area, hoping the inch of snow they're predicting today comes!

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Registered: 04-06-2003
Sat, 02-07-2004 - 3:04pm
I bought a book by Mary Hunt called How to Debt Proof Your Kids. I heard her being interviewed on the radio and ran out and bought the book right away. YOu can find it on or Amazon. We use her advice with my nephew. In a nut shell... and I won't do her system justice... We give Travis $50 per month. He has to save 10% and tithe 10%. That leaves him with $40 to spend. On whatever he wants. This money has to last him throught out the entire month. When it's gone, it's gone. If he wants something, he has to buy it out of his allowance. I will pack his lunch for school. If he wants what the school is serving, he has to buy it. He has only bought the school lunch once. If he wants a bag of chips/candy that is not on my grocery list, he has to buy it. This actually saves us money. We don't buy candy/soda/cd's/toys any more. One time he couln't go to a roller skating party at school because he had already spent his allowance. The book is really awesome. I highly recommend it.


Mom's in Need

Mom's mentoring Mom's (and Dad's too!)

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Registered: 04-11-2004
Sun, 04-18-2004 - 11:28am
Sally, I'm gonna buy that book on debt-proofing your kids. And I like the idea about $50 per month, 10% to savings, 10% to God, and the rest can be spent -- but when it's gone, it's gone.

My dd went to private school her first two years. Athough I make good money, we were the "poor" family in that group -- huge houses (often on the waterfront), vacation homes in Tahoe, Lexuses and Mercedes, off to Hawaii or Mexico at the drop of a hat, too many toys and electronic goodies to count. There was no way that this single mom's income could keep up with the Joneses, and frankly, I didn't want to try.

I told my dd about "The Millionaire Next Door." The author did research, and many of those families with the conspicuous consumption don't have any net worth -- they're in debt up to their ears. The REAL millionaires, in terms of net worth, typically lived in modest homes and drove older cars, and lived well BELOW their means. I tell my dd that we don't make as much as some of those families, but I'm trying to sock away what I can for my retirement and her college, which is more important. Remember all those toys (I specify) that you were DYING for and then ignored once you got 'em?

Now that my dd's after-school childcare provider is a neighbor who's in a huge money crunch, she's had her eyes open to all the things that we CAN do. She sees that we have vacations and toys and outings to San Francisco or Sacramento or Tahoe that our neighbors simply can't provide for their kids at present.

I think our kids need to know what our monetary values and limits are, with no apologies. Good luck to all on this question.

-- Stephanie

Stephanie, CL of the Dating as a Single Parent board:

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Registered: 02-12-1998
Mon, 04-19-2004 - 2:46pm
I just love that book, "The Millionaire Next Door". It's really an eye-opener. It made me feel better, and sometimes bad. I did the little "test". We are neither a PAW or a UAW, we are exactly in the middle. Our net worth is just about where the test says we should be. I know we could do better, though. We put back the maximum in our 401Ks, have a college savings plan, have a 15 year mortgage and play the stock market a little. Besides that, we spend the rest. I hate that we do that. After reading this book, it makes me want to do better!!!! It makes me THINK before I drop $40 at I REALLY need that new lipgloss, magazine, new pajamas, etc.

As far as allowance, we just started giving the kids allowance again. Both my 7 and 10 year olds get $5/week. They are very good savers. The oldest wants to save for a Playstation 2 and is trying to talk the 7 year old into combining their money. I guess I'm just too lazy, but I don't make them tithe or "save". I won't pay for all the extras anymore though. If they are pestering to go to a movie, they have to pay their own way and snack. If they want to rent a movie, they have to pay, etc. They do their fair share of chores, also.