Confession:  We’ve been putting it off.

It’s a large undertaking as far as parenting goes.  You want to do it right.  You need to do it right.  There are some pretty serious implications and some not-so-great habits and attitudes about money that can ruin your child’s adulthood.  And there are as many different ways to do it as there are parental units.



We recently took the plunge and implemented a chore chart system.  We know it’s probably way past time to start it with our five year-old, but my need to pick   Just. The. Right. Chart. System.  kind of held us up.  You see, I’m a bit of a rule follower.  And if I start a system, then I stick to that system.  Failure to do so results in complete failure.  And if I fail, well, there may be some self-loathing involved.

Needless to say, the pressure has been on.

Thanks to a well-timed post from Mary at Giving Up On Perfect, I found a system that piqued my interest over at Simple Mom.  It’s a basic chart that you can customize with your own chore list.  The child gets a sticker for each task completed.  At the end of each week, he/she is paid a nickel per sticker.


We are a few days into the system and it seems to be working well.  C  loves getting to fill in the chart with stickers and is taking pride in some of the new ways he is able to be helpful around the house.

While he is eager to earn some dough for spending, T and I are eager to teach him about saving and giving.  We will be using a jar system much like this one, but since C doesn’t understand percentages at this point, I’m not sure how to direct him as far as how much to save and how much to give.  I don’t really want to mandate amounts or percentages, since I really want to him to develop a heart for giving, not an auto-response to a mandate.  However, I fear that this will yield a couple of scant jars.

Dude loves him a Lego block.

And at this point, he loves it more than he loves the warm fuzzy feeling he gets from helping others or from securing his future with a financial cushion.

So, how do you handle allowance at your house?  Do you require your child to save or give a certain amount?  Is is merely a suggestion?


  1. We do allowance. We too do the chart. We tell C he has to give away some amt to Sudan for clean water. He can keep any amt and give away any amount. We’ve been blown away with the amt he chooses to give away. The lesson in giving far outweighs any thought of materialism or selfishness with money in my opinion.

  2. I’m glad my post came in handy for you! Our poor little system has been neglected for the past couple of weeks, but I’m looking forward to getting back to it on Monday. It costs me a few nickels but is worth it to teach good habits.

  3. We have sort of a different system. We expect the kids to do chores, such as help cook supper, clean up afterward, fold and put away their clothes, a few things like that. Allowance is separate. We don’t use it as a reward system; they get it every Saturday regardless of how much we’ve had to needle them to do their chores. (We take away other things if they don’t do their chores, such as TV time or dessert.)

    We use it as a learning tool for how to save and spend effectively, and they are totally responsible for keeping up with it themselves, whether in their wallets or piggy banks — or they can choose to put it in their savings account, too. Our 9-year-old gets $4 a week, our 7-year-old gets $2 a week, and the other two are too young (we start giving allowance in Kindergarten). We start at $1 for Kindergarten, and we add one dollar each year (weekly).

    We see money management/allowance and chores as both being necessary, but they aren’t tied to each other. I do enjoy seeing how other people do it, though … it’s always educational!

  4. We’re the same as Katherine, except that we put it automatically into a bank (this one: Ali gets $5 a week – and $2 goes in “Save”, $2 goes in “Spend”, and $1 goes in “Give”. Also, for whatever OCD reason, we started giving her $5 a week from the week she was born, but just put it all in a savings account until last year. Which added up quite a bit, and ended up buying her an iPad for school. …and Mommy to play with.

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