Why We Don’t Do Allowances

Some of my favorite posts to write are in response to my dear readers’ questions.    For all you who have queried on the topic of allowance, this one’s for you!

Over the years, we have struggled with consistency and the very idea of an allowance for our children.  Proper stewardship of money is far too important of a life lesson to ignore or be wishy-washy about!

Our recent financial life changes through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University caused us to look at how and why we teach our children about money.  It also helped me realize a couple of things.

I have never liked the idea of an allowance.  Why?  Ask five different people what allowance is, and you will receive five different answers.  Answers like:

  • Allowance is money we give our kids just for being kids.  They have to have money to spend don’t they? (I have heard this more times than I care to count!)
  • Allowance is money we give our kids for helping by making their beds (sometimes) and clearing their plate from the table (after I remind them a few times).
  • Allowance is money we give our kids for doing chores (that may or may not be done).
  • Allowance is money we give our kids when they ask for it.  (Seriously, this is also a common answer).

In our family, we do not believe in getting paid for doing nothing.  You are not entitled to money, respect, position, or special privileges, just to name a few.  Those are to be EARNED.

We have chunked the word “allowance” in the garbage and replaced it with the word “commissions”.  Our kids now earn commissions by completing assigned tasks on a daily/weekly basis.

Let me give you an example using our Littles/ Middles (ages 5 and 7)

There are four categories they earn money for:

  • Bed made every morning (this is pretty much a gimme, but it is important in helping them set good habits)
  • Once a week assigned chore (sweeping the porches and cleaning them up).
  • Straightening up their assigned area in the living room each night before bed.
  • Room cleaned up (toys put away, trash thrown away, and dirty clothes in hamper) by bedtime each night.  (This is not our weekly deep clean, just a clearing of the floors *grin*)

The older kids have chores and assigned areas that are more fitting their ages and abilities, also their commissions are a different amount.

There is another side to commissions.  What if they just decide to not do their chores and take care of their stuff?  If there is a reward earned for doing what they are supposed to, then there must be a consequence for not doing them.

Our system is:

Each of the four chore categories is worth a monetary amount.  If each daily item and  the weekly item is completed, they receive payment for it.  The Littles earn $0.50 per category per week, which means that  they can earn $2.00 per week.

Consequences are:

  • Miss one day (willfully and intentionally refuse to take care of their responsibilities)- loss of money for that particular chore.
  • Miss two days- loss of money and loss of all electronics for two days.
  • Miss three days- loss of money, loss of electronics,  2 more days of electronics and have to do an extra chore.
  • Miss four or more- loss of money, loss of electronics for 4 days, extra chore, and you owe us money.

We have not had anyone miss more than 2 days in the past 3 months since we have instituted commissions.

The other issue that comes with this is consistency…by US…the parents!

  • We HAVE to check nightly for items to be done.
  • We HAVE to gently remind the kids to make sure their stuff is completed.
  • We HAVE to pay them what they have earned.
  • We HAVE to make sure consequences are met.

I have a notebook specifically for recording each week what was accomplished and was not (I am a list person, after all).  I make myself check at the same time each night.  I have made it a part of my routine.

We have committed to a weekly family meeting on Sunday evening to pay commissions, pray as a family, and set our goals for the new week.  This has greatly helped me to be consistent and step up in the area of commissions!

You have to find what is going to help you be committed and that will help your kids be more committed.  When they see that this is just how it is going to work, they know that they can count on being checked and paid!

I hope this post has helped you in some way, and I am glad to answer any questions you may have!

God bless,


What’s coming up next on the topic of money?  The answer to what happens after our kids are paid their commissions!


3 responses to “Why We Don’t Do Allowances

  1. Wow, those are great ideas! We have struggled in that area, since we feel like if you live here and are part of the family that you just have responsibilities, and do not need to get paid for them. On the other hand, if they never have any money how will they learn how to handle it?? This is a great place for us to start, and I hope you don’t mind if I steal a few of your ideas! 🙂 Oh, and are all those cute piggy banks really yours?

  2. Pingback: This Week's Favorites - Linda's Lunacy

Your comment makes my day and lets me know you are here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s