Kids and Allowances – Teaching the Value of a Dollar

This post was underwritten by BMO Harris Bank, which offers a matching $25 on a new savings account opened for your child through their Helpful Steps for Parents program. Learn more at

I’ve been wanting to write about kids and allowances for awhile now so I was super excited to be asked by the Clever Girls to write about just that!

We came up with a plan to help our kids learn the value of a dollar and to realize that Mom is not the maid. We went back and forth about allowance for awhile because I feel strongly that kids should help around the house without getting paid for it. I really want my boys to learn what it means to help around the house to show that they value our home, our things and each other. But I also want to teach them about money. About saving and spending and everything in between!

We began giving our boys an allowance for more than just getting things around the house done. We are using allowance as a way to encourage responsibility and cooperativeness in the home, not just for taking the garbage out. Basically we watch for attitudes when we ask for a job to be done. If they do the job without whining or causing a problem, we take note.

Our oldest is almost eleven so we bascially just give him a flat rate at then end of the week based on his attitude when asked to help out and if he went above and beyond the chores we expect him to do. Our youngest two (eight and six years old) had a harder time making it the whole week so we started a marble system to keep track and spark daily interest. Every time they do a job the first time they are asked, without attitude, or do something above and beyond, etc, we put a marble in their jar. Each marble earns them ten cents. At the end of the week, we add the marbles up and that is their allowance. On a good week, they will make $1. We pay our oldest $2-3 per week because he does way more to help out around the house than our younger boys.

The jobs that are expected to be done without pay are things like taking the dog out, helping with the dishes and making their beds. The jobs that we pay for are doing laundry, vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom. (For example.) We also give marbles to our youngest two for basic cooperation and responsibility in taking care of things for themselves. If they get up and get ready for school and make their lunches without a fight, I will give them a marble. If it makes Momma’s life easier? Money for everyone!

We are working on the art of teaching them about saving and giving a percentage of their allowances. They make very small amounts of money and at first we just let them spend it on silly things here and there to let them figure out how it feels to buy things with their own money. There have been “Ugh, why did you let me waste my money on this?!” tears and “I wish I would have saved my money because I would have had enough for this by now!” tears. All really great lessons about letting money burn a hole in your pocket. Now we need to move towards teaching how to manage what you save, spend and give.

We are Dave Ramsey fans and try to manage our money along the lines of what he teaches so we are steering the kids in that direction as well. We talk very openly with the boys about our budget, how much every day things like water and electricity cost, as well as make them aware of wastefulness (which costs money!). We model saving and giving by example. I think that really is the best way to teach kids life lessons.

I would love some advice about what percentages you have your kids give, save and spend. How do you handle allowance in your home?

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. To learn more about BMO Harris Bank, visit their website

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions and thoughts came from my very own brain! (Don’t be afraid.)

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