What are the Benefits & Disadvantages of an Allowance for Kids?

In Family Matters | |

There are many important decisions for parents to make. One decision is whether to give your children an allowance. This decision covers both money and parenting so it is no wonder why so many parents struggle with the decision and want to be sure they make the right choice.

The benefits of an allowance can be numerous. It teaches your child how to budget and it teaches them how to save up for non-essential items that they want. Having an allowance tied to chores can also teach children the link between working and getting paid.

Having an allowance can also potentially teach children the wrong lessons about their contribution to the family. If your family gives allowance based on chores then it can also inadvertently teach children that chores can be optional if they don’t need money. Budgeting for chores can also be tricky on a small budget for parents.

Giving your children an allowance also comes with many other decisions and considerations. Nobody ever said that parenting and making money decisions is easy! The decisions that you make regarding an allowance can impact your child into adulthood, so it is important to weigh all of your options and make the right decisions for your family.     

Pros of an Allowance

Parents can decide to give their children an allowance for a variety of reasons. By giving an allowance there is a built-in way for their children to learn the importance of budgeting and saving money. Having an allowance can also teach children the value of getting paid for hard work.

Struggling with money is an issue that many adults have. Learning how to manage money from a young age can teach children the importance of budgeting and what saving money looks like. Especially when the allowance is presented with physical money. By setting the stage for budgeting early, this will likely be less of a problem as children grow up.

An allowance can also be a way to have children save for the games and toys that they want. This can accomplish two things, it can stop your children from asking you for things and it teaches children the importance of saving. Both of these can foster independence in your children and teach them lifelong lessons.

Many parents attach getting an allowance to completing chores. Doing this sets the premise that as adults we do jobs to get paid. Money doesn’t come for free. When children know what the expectations are for money, they will be less surprised when they grow up and have to work.

Cons of an Allowance

Some parents think that there are some problems with an allowance that should not be overlooked. By connecting chores to an allowance, it can teach your children the wrong lessons about their role in the family. It can also encourage laziness if the child doesn’t need more money and refuses to do chores. It can also be difficult to manage an allowance if the parents have a tight budget.

For many families, you do chores because it’s what you have to do. Parents don’t get paid to take care of the house, so why should children is the line of thinking. Some parents worry that by attaching an allowance to chores, their children will think that their role in the family is different and that they are not required to help keep the home clean.

Attaching an allowance to chores can also mean that children can see a way out of doing chores if they have saved up a lot of money. This lack of motivation is something that will need to be addressed in children if receiving an allowance is attached to chores. Some parents worry that their children may get lazy if they connect chores to money.

A bigger issue that can come with allowances is the parenting budget. Some parents do not have a big enough budget to give allowances to their children, regardless if they are attached to chores. This is especially true in large families running on tight budgets. Obviously, allowances can only be allocated if the parents can find the budget for it.

Other Considerations

When deciding to give an allowance, other factors have to be considered. Parents need to decide what age is best for receiving an allowance, how much money to get in their allowance and if there should be any limitations on what children can spend their allowance on.

Determining the right age to start giving an allowance can be tricky. You don’t want to give it too early and not have your children know what to do with it, but start too late and your children may overspend. When teaching your children the difference between wants and needs, giving an allowance can be a good way to continue teaching this lesson.

The amount of money in an allowance can also be difficult to maneuver. If you want to teach your child how to save you don’t want to give them too much so they never have to save, but giving them too little may make saving seem pointless. One way to manage this is to assign more money to more difficult chores, this way your children can learn to do more for more money.

Some parents may also be tempted to restrict what their children can buy with an allowance, so as to make sure that the children don’t buy anything against house rules or sneak too much junk food into the house. Monitoring what your children buy with their allowance may also be a factor in determining if your children get an allowance and how much they get.

Determining whether your children get an allowance and that they do all the ins and outs that getting an allowance will entail, is a major set of decisions. It is a set of decisions that blends parenting and financial decisions. Each family has a different set of values and priorities they want to teach their children. These values will be considered when deciding on allowances for children.