So, pocket money. I never knew before I had kids what an emotional topic it could be! “To pay or not to pay” is the question often followed by what to pay for and how much?
There are parents firmly in the camp of paying a regular amount each week either in exchange for chores or not and there are parents who don’t believe children should earn money for any reason at all.
And then there are parents, like me, who have a foot in each camp. As a seasoned fence-sitter, I see the merits of both arguments but certainly, as my children get older, I can see the importance of teaching sensible and healthy financial behaviours. Though I’m not quite convinced that this isn’t the case of the blind leading blind… if catch my drift!
My kids already do school banking, just like I did growing up. Each week they are both given a five dollar note [taken from their Christening money they never knew they had…. Shhhh!] and they watch their balance grow. They know they’re not allowed access to this ‘nest egg’ until after they leave school and they’re totally cool with that but they’re getting to the age where they have a far better understanding of the value of real dollars.
In the past I was reluctant to pay my kids for anything. I believe that kids should help out around the house just for being part of the family so I don’t reckon they should get paid for every day chores and I don’t believe they should just receive money for nothing … hardly behaviour we’d want to be encouraging now, is it? Plus, they live a good life. There’s nothing they need to buy for themselves. We cover their outings, their necessities, most of their fun stuff too. Anything over and above that is where birthdays and Christmas step in.
Having said all that, I do believe they are of the age that they can negotiate earning money for chores above and beyond what is expected from them on a daily, family basis though. And what can they spend their well-earned money on?
According to Australian Government Statistics:
Children of different age groups spend this money in different ways. A study on pocket money for 5 to 12 year olds found that, while the majority of children throughout this age group saved some or all of their pocket money, the next most common uses of pocket money for 5 to 7 year olds were buying lollies and toys. For 8 to 10 year olds, the most common uses for pocket money, after savings, were buying lollies, cards and toys. For 11 to 12 year olds, the most common uses, after savings, were lollies, snacks, drinks, cards, outings, magazines and ice cream and video-games.
Looks like lollies wins in all age groups! Surprise!
When should kids get start to earn pocket money?
The short answer is when you’re ready to pay them. I’ve managed to make it through ten years so far without forking out a cent, #justsaying. But be warned! In my experience, if you have more than one child… the youngest will always start earlier than the oldest! Otherwise you’ll hear “that’s not fair Mum!” often – if you don’t already.
How much pocket money should kids get?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. It largely comes down to your own financial circumstances and which pocket money path you’ve decided to head down.
The amount could be directly related to what they earn by doing chores around the house or it may be a set amount each week. Or your kids may guide you by telling you what THEIR friends get at home. DO NOT fall for this. It’s a trap. Some parents use the ‘dollar per year’ model so my eight year old would get $8 and my ten year old would get $10 [and then my eight year old will repeatedly tell me “that’s not fair Mum!” and there’s a strong chance that I will cave and then that whole model is out the window. But I’m sure you’ll stand your ground better than I would. REMINDER: These amounts would increase each year as they get older. Hopefully they will have moved out and started earning their own money before the age of fifty or it could get expensive!
What chores should children earn money for?
Again, that is entirely at your discretion but we’ve put together a great list of age appropriate chores for kids. Some things that missed the list but you could totally try on include – neck massages and making Mummy a cafe latte…
Our friends at BankSA are passionate about helping all South Australian kids learn how to save – and of course spend – responsibly.
Open a BankSA LittleSavers Incentive Saver Account for your child or grandchild, and they’ll receive a $10 credit to help them reach their saving goal sooner.
Your child will also receive a LittleSaver Welcome Pack, including a free money box, calculator, banking wallet and library bag.