I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

How and Why I Give My Kids Allowance {Part 1}

How and Why I Give My Kids Allowance {Part 1} Tips and tricks to teaching wise money management.

My little Blonde Warrior just turned five! Although every birthday brings a level of excitement, in our house, number five has the added benefits of...
  1. being able to invite friends over for a themed birthday party with games
  2. getting to sign up for summer sports teams
  3. being able to chew gum
The Hubs and I have a great method to our madness for each of these four "rights of passage". But, as our little man was just awarded his very first handful of coins Today, I thought I'd take a few days to share a little bit about HOW and WHY we choose to give allowance in our home.

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How and Why I Give My Kids Allowance-The Unlikely Homeschool

Today, let's start with the HOW.

You must be five years old.

By this time in their education (kindergarten), all my children have learned the value of each coin and how to skip count, the skill necessary to count change. Awarding allowance before they have this head knowledge would be futile.

Allowance is given out in dimes.

Currently, each one of my five-and-up children is awarded $1 a week. This money is given in dimes because dimes make it very easy to see monetary percentages. Scripture teaches that everyone should give at least 10% of their "first-fruits" to the Lord. Ten percent of a dollar is easy to calculate when the dollar is in increments of 10. One dime automatically goes to the Lord.

In addition, we insist that the children set aside 40% for savings. For these elementary years, we do not define savings as a very long term goal. While saving for college is commendable, I don't think it provides a tangible lesson for the rewards of "saving for a larger item" to a young child. At this age, it is kind of an unattainable and unrealistic goal. Instead, we encourage our children to choose a more expensive item on their wish list (usually $20 or more) and set aside their $.40 each week until they have reached their target price.

The remaining 50% (or $.50) is allocated as "spending" in order to buy smaller items that they desire right now, like gum or baseball cards. We typically do not allow them to put this spending money towards their savings goal as we want them to learn how to "release" money. We have no desire for the "love of money" (or their pre-selected savings goal) to turn them into money hoarders. Learning to spend money wisely is just as important as learning to save money wisely.

A "give, save, spend" bank is awarded.

Although each of my kids has had a few unique money banks over the last few years, my personal preference and the bank that I think has been the most helpful was the Money Savvy Pig. Unfortunately, he took quite a tumble down our steps and didn't fair too well.

Fun Treats from Mom and Dad don't come as often.

Once our children have their own money to spend, we expect them to buy their "wants".  (I'll expound on this when I discuss the WHY of allowance on Thursday.)  We, obviously, purchase fun "wish list" items at Christmas and birthdays.  But, for the most part, other than these few select special occasions, once they begin receiving an allowance, we rarely buy any toy-type items for our older children.

Money Matters becomes a topic of discussion.

When our children are old enough to be awarded an allowance, we feel that they are old enough to learn God's view of money and how He expects them to steward it. We want them to understand that all of our money, and theirs, is ultimately God's. Part of their "financial" training comes in hands-on experience at store counters as they are expected to be able to count out their money and check for correct change. And some of it comes in meaningful conversations and transparent examples of how the Hubs and I spend our money. Because, in the end, our bank record...or money trail...shows our life priorities. We want our children to see that God and His Kingdom are a priority to us...even in how we spend or save our money. At times, we have used the help of great resources like The ABC's of Handling Money God's Way.

We do not award allowance based on chores or work completed.

Huh?! "But doesn't the Bible clearly teach that if a man does not work, he should not eat?" you ask. Absolutely! This is why we have intentionally built in a few household habits that enforce this principle. While we do wish to teach our children a good work ethic and the principle of earning a living, the Hubs and I do not feel like an allowance is a proper outlet for that. The fact of the matter is, we expect our children to do household chores, not because they will be rewarded monetarily (bribed), but because we all live in this house and we all have to do our part to help it function. Doing work with little to no reward is a part of life. If I only made a meal when I was rewarded for doing so, my entire household would starve.

I desire for my children to have a servant's heart...to think of others' interests ahead of their own, as stated in our house rules. Home is the perfect training ground for that character quality. And do you know what? I've already seen the fruits of what this kind of character quality looks like in relation to chores. My daughter has such a wonderful servant's heart and willingly helps out around the house every day and in every way. And my boys love to help each other finish chores. My oldest son, especially, has developed an attitude of service. He often cleans up the entire boys' room so that his younger brothers don't have to. Don't get me wrong, my kids are not saints, by any means. They are just regular kids with sinful natures, but who have begun to follow after Christ's example of loving your neighbor (or family member) as yourself regardless of "what's in it for me."

In addition to desiring our children to have an attitude of service, the Hubs and I also recognize that there will come a time...several years from now...that our measly allowance is not necessary to our children. Our teenagers will most likely have after-school jobs and will be earning small incomes. If we award allowance solely on whether our children have completed a list of chores, what will happen when they realize that our few dollars are dispensable...when they see the income they are earning flipping hamburgers or bagging groceries far surpasses the few dollars that we can afford to give them for making their bed or doing the dishes? Doesn't it seem likely that our financially savvy teens will just decide NOT to do their chores anymore...because who really needs one or two dollars a week when you are already making five or six dollars an hour down the street?!

We provide an opportunity for earned "income".

The Hubs and I feel that we have assigned age-appropriate chores to each of our four oldest children. As I mentioned, these are to be done with a happy spirit and without compensation. That being said, we do occasionally provide opportunities for our children to do an "above and beyond" task with the hope of earning a wage, especially if we know that they are saving up for an item that is quite expensive. We want them to physically see how hard work brings reward and that "work" is not a bad thing, contrary to what the World would have them believe. Work is a blessing from God and comes with a multitude of benefits.

How and Why I Give My Kids Allowance-The Unlikely Homeschool

My oldest son experienced this first-hand one day last summer. The Hubs told the three older children that they each could have an opportunity to earn some money by doing an extensive yard work project that afternoon. Two of the three chose to pass as they were enraptured with a new toy one of them had recently received. But, Super Boy, always wanting to be glued to his dad's side, eagerly jumped at the chance to work alongside the Hubs. After toiling for well over an hour, my boy held out his hand expecting to receive his share of the wage. But instead, was rewarded with his brother's and sister's share as well. Since he, alone, did all the work, he, alone, earned all the money. After pondering this for a moment, he turned to the Hubs and said, "Dad, it's just like in The Little Red Hen story! She did all the work, so she got to eat all the bread!" Life-lesson learned!

How and Why I Give My Kids Allowance-The Unlikely Homeschool

So, if we do not give an allowance to reward our children for chores completed, why do we give an allowance?....

Check out Part 2, for the answer to that very question.


  1. Hi Jamie,

    I found you via a you tube search on home schooling and enjoyed watching your videos and reading some of this blog.

    I homeschooled our older daughters for a period of time and have been home schooling their younger brother for the past four years, all done against a backdrop of multiple disabilities and chronic illness within the family.

    I admit to having hit another low point this year and have been struggling with all sorts of character building issues both mine as well as his!! So I'm looking forward to gleaning some further organsing tips as I search around your website.

    Thank you for this ministry.


    1. San, Welcome! So glad you're here. I'm so sorry to hear of your low. I pray that your year wraps up well and that you can gain some much needed rest and refreshment over the summer.

  2. Great post, and a great explanation! We have a very similar system. Our boys receive an allowance, also starting at age 5. They do required chores every week that are not directly tied to the allowance, per se. The amount of allowance they receive would not be considered fair compensation for the amount of chores they do - the chores are because they are part of the family! And then they have some spending money because they are part of the family as well. We have also found that having a list of paid chores for additional income is helpful. If the regular chores were tied to the allowance, then I think the boys would be more concerned with how much they were being paid for each chore, rather than working as part of the family. There would also be the temptation of not wanting to work unless there was going to be payment! So I think this is a good system, and does not violate the scriptural principle of working for what you eat.

    Love your blog!

    1. I completely agree with you. Our society is filled with entitlement...I'll do something for you, but only if there is something in it for me. Although we've never done it, I imagine an allowance system that is tied into compensation for specific chores would be hard to keep track of.

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  4. We are just implementing a save, spend givr system but I was thiking of not awarding the spend money if their morning tasks werent well completed (currently an issue) would you advise against this ? My children do not have the attitude to chores that you've described above! Rather get away wih the minkmal and a 'its not my mess' attitude to every thing they leavr lying around. Could I be making it worse 2ith my approach?

    1. I think that sounds like a great solution! You would still be providing some monetary practice, but also have the incentive to work hard to earn more. Great idea!

  5. Sorry for all the typos! Had a little one wriggling around on my lap at the same time! Minkmal=minimum :)