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Paying Allowance for Chores

June 12, 2014

By Beth Wilson

$5 allowance, $4 for spending, $.50 for giving, $.50 for saving

Illustrated by Libby VanWhy

Should children be paid an allowance for doing chores? I posed this question to a few of my colleagues recently and all had a strong opinion against the practice, stating that it's part of being in a family. Yet they were just as likely to withhold money to go to a movie if things didn't get done around the house. Alternatively, it was not unheard of to give money to a teenager to wash and detail their car.

At the simplest level, both of these examples involve giving or not giving money for work that was either done or not done, which, to me, sounds a lot like paying an allowance for doing a chore.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to the question. Each person brings their experiences and opinions into their role as a parent, and each family situation is different. The important thing is to discuss with your parenting partner beforehand and agree upon the reward system.

My husband and I had different opinions on whether or not to base allowances on chores. After some discussion, we agreed on a reward-based chore system that took into account our budget and incorporated saving and giving. We strongly believed that teaching our children the value of money and how to handle it would help set them up for success in later life.

Rewards. We budgeted for allowances and included the extra incentive of "Daddy Bucks." Since not all chores are equal, the younger kids with the easier chores received a smaller portion of the overall allowance payout. We paid allowances based on the percentage of chores completed for the week.

In addition to the allowance, each child received a set amount of Daddy Bucks redeemable for activities that always involved their dad with options like a trip to the local convenience store for an ice cream treat or breakfast out before school.

Giving. We chose tithing as a way to incorporate giving in keeping with our belief in God and his ability to provide for all of our needs. On payday, each child put 10 percent of his or her earnings into an envelope for the Sunday church offering plate.

The practice of giving can also be applied to charitable causes. For instance, if your child loves animals, encourage him or her to donate 10 percent of the allowance to the local animal shelter. You will teach your child about sharing and charity while helping someone in need.

Savings. Learning to live on less and wait for something were disciplines that we wanted to establish early in the lives of our kids. Each payday, another 10 percent of their earnings went into their savings envelopes.

This article is part two of a three-part series. Read the first in the series, 4 Tips on Assigning Age-Appropriate Chores, and come back next month for the final article in the series.

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