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Kids and allowance: When? How much? Should you tie them to chores?

Experts say there are pros and cons to consider on whether kids receive allowance no matter what or for completing chores.
Experts say there are pros and cons to consider on whether kids receive allowance no matter what or for completing chores.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Where do you start when giving an allowance to our children? What age and how much is appropriate? Should it be tied to chores?

These are all understandable questions, but all the experts agree those answers are on a case-by-case basis.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants surveyed 1,000 parents and roughly 2/3 said they give their children an allowance.

On average, children in the U.S. get $30 per week, or roughly $120 a month.

That same survey revealed that 52% of parents believe the entire allowance should be earned and another 27% think it should be partially earned and partially gifted.

So when should children start receiving an allowance? Most financial experts agree that is a personal preference.

The child-development experts behind Sesame Street determined that children as young as 3 years old understand the difference between wants and needs -- which could make it an ideal time to start giving an allowance.

Scholastic.com, recommends starting anywhere between 5 or 6 years old.

Consumer Investigator Lauren Verno breaks down what chores are appropriate for what age and what amount of money should you be giving for allowance.
Consumer Investigator Lauren Verno breaks down what chores are appropriate for what age and what amount of money should you be giving for allowance.

However, the experts say there are pros and cons with trying an allowance to chores.

According to Rocket HQ, some pros include:

  • If the allowance is tied to chores, kids learn the relationship between work and pay.
  • Using an allowance as an incentive motivates kids to get their chores done.
  • Kids can earn extra money for extra tasks, beyond regular daily or weekly chores, just as they might when they are teens with summer jobs.

However, some cons include:

  • Your kids may get the perception that duties always deserve a reward instead of simply doing their share for the family.
  • Kids may not be motivated to do their chores when they don’t need the money, or they have saved up enough.
  • It may be challenging to give an allowance if you are on a small budget but have a large family.

According to Rocket HQ, a popular way to start a child out on an allowance is by giving them per week the age of a child.

So, a 7-year-old would receive $7.

Jill Thomas-Aviles with Jax Federal Credit Union, joins us on the Morning Show with more on how to set an allowance for you kids
Jill Thomas-Aviles with Jax Federal Credit Union, joins us on the Morning Show with more on how to set an allowance for you kids

If that feels too much, another popular philosophy is to give children half of their age weekly.

If you want to correlate a child’s allowance to chores, RoosterMoney recommends different chores and prices by age.

For example, appropriate chores for 4 and 5 years old include:

  • Cleaning their bedroom, doing the laundry, tidying up their toys, making their bed.
  • Each of those chores can range anywhere from 20 cents for picking up toys to 40 cents for doing laundry.

For 6- and 7-year-olds:

  • Chores could include clearing the table, taking out the trash, and setting the table.
  • Ranging anywhere from 40-50 cents per chore.

For 10 and 11 year olds:

  • This could include putting groceries away, doing the laundry, cleaning the kitchen.
  • Ranging from 60 cents to $1.50

Once your child becomes a teenager, think about getting them a prepaid debit card to deposit their allowance onto. Visa Buxx and the Allow Card from Mastercard and geared towards kids 13 and up. Your child can only spend what is on the card without racking up any debt.


About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.