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Whatcha Know About Kids Allowances These Days?

by J. Money on Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baby J's piggy bank.I don’t have kids yet, but for some reason I’ve been thinking about them lately. At the moment I’m only practicing having them (aww yeahh!) but when it’s game time, I’d like to be prepared. Or at least have an idea of what I’m doing. And this apparently includes setting up the proper allowance ;)

From what I’ve heard, there are about a billion and a half strategies that can do the trick here – and people swear by each of them. For me, growing up with an allowance always meant one thing and one thing only. If I do my chores, I get paid. It didn’t matter which chores these were (they differed as I got older and/or faster at doing them) but as long as I completed them on time I could bank on that hefty deposit each week.

And by “hefty” I unfortunately mean “$1 a week”.
At first it was awesome! One hole George Washington just for ME? It didn’t get any sweeter than that as a 5 year old. As I got older though, I started seeing my friends whipping out the elusive $5′ers and $10 spots all over town. Where the hell were they getting those? There was NO WAY those fools were saving up more than I was, that’s for sure. Looking back, I just assumed they’re parents were “nicer” and thus gave them bigger allowances. I feel pretty bad thinking about that now – my parents were awesome! – but you know how kids can get…

At any rate, that was then and this is now. One of favorite pieces written on kids finance was an article by Janet Bodnar, the new editor of Kiplinger Mag, who recently suggested giving kids weekly allowances equal to half their age (where were you 20 years ago Janet?!) – I love it! And in return, she recommends giving the kids more responsibilities and having them pay for more stuff as well. Even better! Not only does this teach them how to budget better, but it also gives them more control at an earlier age. Not to mention helping them avoid that “jealous factor” from day one ;)

What do you all think? Have you found some interesting allowance plans? There’s still plenty of time ’till we have to get down to business here, but I’m thinking Janet’s route is the way to go. We’ll get a lot of stuff done around the house, and our kiddies will learn the value of the hard earned dollar & how to prioritize. I’ll just have to remind them of the cut off age before they start gouging us @ 25! You better believe they’re gonna be sneaky little devils if they take after their father.


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