Friends, we started paying our 6-yr.-old an allowance of $1/ week when she turned 6. I put no guidelines on how she spent the money, but rather, used the first six months as a sort of test period. Well, she spent it all on ridiculous things like silly bands, temporary tatoos and sticker albums. All of it. I think the most she ever saved was $4. I wanted her to have the freedom to make mistakes … well at least I thought I wanted her to have that freedom. It made me too frustrated to watch. So now, at 6.5, I changed the parameters. I increased her allowance to $1.50, and she is only allowed to spend .50 of the amount. She must put .50 in the collection basket at Church and she must save the remaining .50. It is the whole save/share/spend philosophy. It isnn’t mine, I think it was probably on Oprah first or something.
I think this will work well once Mom can get her act together. The problem is that keeping that many quarters around is impractical. Even if it were dollars I would struggle, because we are a pure credit-card-for-airline-miles-family. I feel as if I am constantly saying, “oh, yeah, Viv, I guess I owe you $6 because I haven’t paid you for three weeks.” This seems to undermine the whole thing, because she can’t see the money growing incrementally as she should. Also, she has a ridiculous wallet that her brothers love to dismantle, so she is always claiming that she “should have more money than she does but X took some.” We clearly need some practical advice. How do you manage allowance in your family, and do you think it reasonable for me to increase the amount to $3/ week just to eliminate quarters from our life?