Pocket money is one of those hot topics where parents often quiz each other on what the acceptable going rate is, much like the Tooth Fairy.
There’s debate about whether it’s a flat rate or per chore. Is it different depending on the age of the child? Should you make them save a portion of it or even pay it straight into their bank account? So many ins and outs, it’s no wonder a lot of parents find themselves conflicted.
Despite the conjecture around the topic, I find a lot of people are shocked when I tell them I don’t give my kids pocket money at all.
In fact, some reactions are akin to me announcing I don’t feed my children or provide them with clothing. Shock horror!
I understand the benefits of pocket money and that it can be a useful tool to teach children the value of money.
However, by not giving pocket money, I believe I am teaching my children a much more important lesson.
My three children know the importance of contributing to the running of the household. Not because they are paid to do it, but because we are a team and everyone needs to pitch it to keep things running smoothly.
No one pays me to cook, clean or organise the operational needs of the house. Why should my children be paid to unload the dishwasher, mow the yard or make their beds? I am not their maid and it’s highly unlikely they will have one when they grow up so it is best they learn how to do things now!
Like most parents, my goal is to raise capable, functioning humans who do what needs to be done for the greater good, not just because there is something in it for them.
I also find that not paying for allocated tasks alleviates the whole “that’s not my job” argument. While my children have some things that are specific to them, whether due to age or personal reasons, on the whole jobs get done by whoever I ask to do them. And I’m pleased to say, they usually get done without argument (admittedly it’s usually with a fair amount of moaning – they are still kids after all!)
But please don’t feel sorry for my children – they definitely do not miss out. I often buy them things as rewards for special achievements or just because. They also have their own money, earned by doing specific jobs for grandparents and neighbours, selling homegrown produce or from gifts.
We talk about the value of money, what is worth spending on, what’s worth saving up for and why we give to others.
I believe my children also have a better appreciation for money as they don’t expect it weekly, as can often be the case with many pocket money systems, whether the child has worked for it or not.
As with every parenting decision, pocket money is a personal choice. I believe mine is the right one for my family.
If you do pay pocket money, there are some great tips and advice on the ASIC website you can check out.