Allow Me

by Marinka on July 28, 2008

So the current parenting wisdom is that we should give our kids an allowance to teach them financial planning. Since I am still teaching my kids to chew with their mouths closed and thoroughness in butt-wiping, it seems like this is kind of advanced, but I’m willing to play along.

Here’s the premise: You give your kids the same amount every week, with the understanding that they spend a third, save a third and give a third to charity. Assuming that your kids understand the concept of fractions, the question remains–what fresh hell is this? A third to charity? Doesn’t that violate the Bible’s tithing rule of 10%? Isn’t a third literally holier than thou?

Besides, when I approached my daughter with this idea, her charity of choice was homeless pets. What about homeless, you know, people? Pets are cuter, she said. If only the homeless people on our block would spruce themselves up a little, I bet they’d be fucking adorable. And really? Is she getting a deduction for the charitable contribution? Because if part of this financial planning is tax advice as well, then I’m in way over my head. I feel like without some tax planning advice, my kids are just getting hosed on this charity racket.

So, we’re with the save half, spend half program. Except, what the hell do they spend their money on? We pay the mortgage, we pay for their food, and occasionally we throw in some clothes. What other expenses are there?

This weekend, as I was buying light saber number 3 and Webkinz number 34, I decided that my kids need to spend their own money on crap. “Crap” is defined by anything that I think is crap. I’ve learned a few things from our current President, you know.

You’d think that this would solve all problems, but this is where you are just parading your naivete and childlike innocence to the blogosphere.

First of all my kids think that this is REALLY UNFAIR. I don’t blame them, they’ve had a free ride so far, so this is a bit of bait and switch. Good thing for me that they don’t have a say in it.

Second, they want to renegotiate their allowance. So far, my daughter’s been getting $10 week and my son has been getting $20 a month, because, in his wisdom, he really likes $20 bills. This weekend they realized that this will not allow them to continue living in the style to which they have become accustomed. My daughter wants a raise to $20 a week and my son wants a raise to $1 million a week, although he conceded that he would take a $1 million a month in this economy. So far negotiations are not progressing well.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an increase in allowance, if they’d just pull their weight around here a little more. And at 50 and 70 pounds, respectively, it shouldn’t be that hard. As with anything that intuitively makes sense to me, this parental version of arms for hostages does not get the modern parenting seal of approval. Apparently, you should not give your kids an allowance as a reward for doing chores, but rather they should do chores because they are members of the family and they get an allowance because they are members of the family and also because you are teaching them financial planning. Is it me, or does that sound like total crap? Because I don’t care how dim witted your kid is, one thing he will zero in on is the chores/allowance connection. And he will unionize, if necessary and optimize the allowance earning potential.

So, we’re muddling along. The kids have retained counsel to represent them in these discussions. I hear he’s working on contingency, a third of their allowance. Hey, I figure it’s either lawyers or homeless pets.

One year ago ...

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

wfbdoglover July 28, 2008 at 5:40 am

When chores were not done, there was no allowance.

NOW the 11 year old has a job. He has had it for 3 years. He dog sits.

You are right, it is CRAP and mine has been buying his for the past 2 -1/2 years. And he can not by anything under $20.00’s because otherwise I would have more crap in my house than he already needs.

NOW the scout has to walk the dog daily and feed him dinner. NO allowance hre. That is part of the privilege of living in this house and the fact that I pay for you to go to the movies or anything else you and your little friends might do.

OH, and the scout doesn’t get a ton of treats at the store. If he gets a sugared cereal (snack in our house) or he wants something else he has two choices.

1) swap/change
2) buy it himself.

And I don’t do lunchables.

ooh, no $10 or $20 a week here. OOH NO, if he did, the scout is lucky to no be charged rent.

BTW, we tried the moon jar thing – 1/3 1/3 and 1/3…


Z July 28, 2008 at 6:29 am

Oh, allowance. I remember those days… Back then, I don’t think my parents imposed any limits upon us (1/3 to charity?!?! WHA?!?!) BUT we also got maybe $1/week. When they remembered. Which – wasn’t every week. So… The fact that your kids get a REGULAR allowence? Seems pretty good to me! 😉


Alice July 28, 2008 at 7:30 am

You go girl! I wish more parents would make their children save to get something they wanted. Too many kids with instant-gratification problems.


Melissa July 28, 2008 at 7:35 am

We just worked out a system here. My guys are 8 and 10, so keep that in mind when you read this.

The free stuff has stopped here, for the most part. I’ll buy things, usually books, as occasional gifts.

They get $5 per week, no matter what. But there are tons of extra money making opportunities. Like this week, we need to deep clean the house and I’ll be offering each of them a minimum of $25, depending on the quality of work done.

So when we get to Disney next week, they’ll have whatever money they have to spend. No more.

As for saving, we encourage, but don’t demand it. The older one is starting to figure out not to blow all of his money. I think that this lesson will be self enforcing, which would be better than anything I can do.

Ok, enough rambling!


KD @ A Bit Squirrelly July 28, 2008 at 9:51 am

Will keep tuning in to see where this allowance business goes. My 5 (almost 6) year old has a reward chart for doing 6 simple tasks every day. She gets a star next to each task she completes. We tally them at the end of the day, then week. Her rewards are earned at 10, 20, and 30 stars. So far she has 4 and it is only Monday. I may have to up the number of stars.

Enjoyed the read–will continue to stop in!


anymommy July 28, 2008 at 10:33 am

Honestly, I had trouble reading through the tears of hilarity after ‘thoroughness of butt-wiping.’ I may never recover.


Mama Ginger Tree July 28, 2008 at 4:08 pm

“Isn’t a third holier than thou?” Holy crap that was funny.

I have no allowance advice because my kids are gets more cash slipped into their little hands when we visit my in-laws than my weekly grocery bill. If they want something they just beg, whine and generally annoy me until I give in. I’m leaving it up to my financially wise husband to instill financial responsibility.


Kristine July 29, 2008 at 7:19 am

We don’t do allowance yet. But we will. And it will be tied to chores. I have always considered it to be a lesson, that in the real world you work for your money. 1/3 to charity does seem steep.


Vodka Mom July 31, 2008 at 6:45 am

While reading this great post, I kept laughing about the butt-wiping thing! My son would turn to me, scratching his butt, and say “I’m a little spicy.” We called him “spice boy” because his ass would itch from not wiping properly. ha.


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