Pocket Money! Should we be giving it?
Do you give your children pocket money? This is an issue that we have been thinking about quite a bit recently. Lottie is definitely old enough to start learning about the true value of money. We have been wondering whether giving her a small amount of pocket money each week might be the right way to do this.
At the moment we give her a small amount of spending money if we go out somewhere. For example if we go to a carboot sale she gets £2.50 to spend however she wants but once it’s gone it’s gone. She has £5 a day when we go on holiday. We also buy her everything she needs but if she wants it then she has to either wait for her birthday or Christmas. Either that or she has to save any money she gets for it.
This has worked really well in the past. She wanted a TV in her room so we made her spend her birthday money on it. She was about £10 short so she had to earn the rest of the money. We wanted her to learn that she had to work for the nice things in life, just like we have to. We made her weed the front garden, help wash the car, put the food shopping away and help her daddy do some jobs around the house. I think the fact that she paid for it herself made her appreciate it more.
So…with that in mind do we start giving her pocket money? If we do should she be allowed to keep the whole amount or should she be made to save a bit of it? How much should we give her? What jobs should she be given to earn it? She has to earn it, that much we both agree on because she isn’t just being given it. Then what do we buy her? What do we make her buy for herself?
Are there benefits to giving pocket money?
I can see the benefits of giving a child their own money, It teaches them from an early age that they have to pay for things, and hopefully will make them more aware of the cost of things. By earning their pocket money it is instilled into children from the start that they have to work hard for money, and hopefully this work ethic will continue into adulthood. It’s good for them to realise young that they can’t get anything for nothing, as it will make their whole life a lot easier.
I think there are also a fair few downsides to pocket money as well. It is only natural that kids will compare with each other what they get given. It’s always a bit of a worry that they’ll be laughed at by their friends if they don’t get as much. Plus not every parent is going to be in a position to be able to afford to give a lot of pocket money, especially when they have more than one child who is going to want it.
I also worry that she’ll waste the money as well on yet more tat that will end up on her bedroom floor forgotten about within a day of coming into the house. I know I shouldn’t moan, as if it’s her money she should be able to spend it how she wants to. I just don’t want her to get into the habit of wasting her money buying things she doesn’t really need just because she has money in her purse.
So what is the right thing to do?
It seems to be a bit of a minefield out there. So many different families do different things. I guess what works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for another. I think we need to go and try a few different things and see what works for us a family. I do know that I want Lottie to know that she has to work hard to get the things she wants. I want her to know the value of money and Ben aware of how much things cost, and what she will have to do to save enough money for the things she wants.
There have been suggestions that the average amount of pocket money that a 14 year old is given is just under £10 a week, and apparently this is actually below the European average. In Austria a teenager of the same age could expect about £28 a week from their parents. I’m not sure how I feel about that. £10 seems acceptable but I’m not sure I would be happy with my teenager having as much leisure money as I do every week.