Thoughtful Investor

The Case Against Giving Children Allowance

I’m going to tell it straight: I am against allowance for children. Raising a child as a single parent worried about paying the rent, daycare, gas, et cetera, didn’t leave room for extra cash to dole out at will. Even a few dollars a week would have been a stretch.

Beyond the fact that I didn’t have extra cash, I don’t think that going to school and helping with chores means you should receive an allowance.

Doing well in school is an expectation of the family. It is your responsibility to be accountable for your schoolwork.

In the same vein, everyone does chores to help the household run smoothly. Again, it is not your job, so you don’t get paid.

Everyone has a duty to the family and each other.

There are so many traps when it comes to paying your child to do what they should do anyway. What if they stop thinking it’s worth it? After a while, the allure of getting paid to take out the garbage fades, and you end up doing it yourself- along with all the other household chores. Chores are given to help the household run efficiently, not as an avenue to “award”. It is their responsibility.

Now, there is the argument that an allowance teaches children to be financial responsible. But even without an allowance, my daughter has grown to be a fiscally responsible individual. How, you ask? Honesty.

I have always been up front about how much things cost. I have no problem telling my daughter that the cell phone bill is “this much”, or we only have “x” amount to spend on groceries this week. She knew that we would shop at Aldi’s & Produce Junction, rather than the higher priced stores, because it was frugal. No, it wasn’t fancy with crisp employees beckoning you to try the latest gourmet recipe. It was utilitarian, and got us what we needed.

I can’t count the number of times I would give my daughter a choice: we can do A, or we can do B, but not both, because rent is due next week. Did I overburden my child with financial details that she may not have needed to know? Possibly.

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing “You have to give your child an allowance. That way, they can have an appreciation for things when they use their own money.”

If your child doesn’t appreciate their belongings, that is not going to be solved by an allowance. You have a bigger problem: you haven’t taught your child respect. Respect and appreciation are taught, not learned by giving money and expecting a better outcome.

Allowance can fit into different families, just not into ours. If children don’t get an allowance that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach them how to save. You just need to be more creative with it.




Suburbia dweller, organizational nerd & ninja, lover of coffee & author of SuburbanCents~

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