A few months ago we decided to start giving our children pocket money. They receive some here and there from family that boosts their money boxes, but they now also receive it regularly from us. They have to earn it, so they each have weekly chores to do, and if they complete them, they receive their £1 on Saturdays. They are simple but useful chores as they help me out and they are age appropriate. Boo has to feed the guinea pigs morning and night and Little Man lays and clears the table each evening. To be honest, I can’t quite remember what started this, though I have a vague recollection of reading an article about boosting children’s confidence and one of the suggestions was around giving them chores. From this it started, along with rewarding them for carrying them out, but I have to say I had not considered how many benefits there would be by giving the children pocket money. I have been surprised.
They no longer ask me for things when we are out and about
When we’re out and about, the kids no longer ask us to buy them things. This is a huge shift. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve never been the kids having a screaming fit in the shop because they want something that they can’t have, but that’s never stopped them from asking! That simply doesn’t happen any more. If they see something that they want, the question is now ‘how much money do I have?’
They think more about what they want before buying things
Now that it is their money, and they understand how long it has taken them to save it up, they really think about whether they want things before buying. When this was my money, they were always much faster to spend it! They are then taking the responsibility for their purchases. They like to go up to the till and pay for their new items themselves. They have done this in the past, but it is now an assumed action, as they carry their money with them, ready to hand it over as suits them.
They save up
They have a much clearer concept of money, saving, and planning for things now. They are learning how to manage their money and prioritise their spending. I’d say that Boo, at 9, is better at this, but in fairness to Little Man he is getting a lot better and he recently saved up for some Lego that he really wanted. Saving is also improving their basic skills around recognising the different coins and counting their money. Which they like to do regularly!
They feel proud of themselves for earning money
As such they do take their responsibilities seriously. In fact, one week when I fed the guinea pigs for a couple of evenings as Boo was busy, she did say that she didn’t feel she deserved her pocket money that week, bless her. Little Man never has to be nagged to lay the table, as he understands that it’s his job to do it and that he will be rewarded for doing so. When Saturday rolls around and they receive their money, you can see how proud it makes them. They have played their part helping out in the home that week, and that’s a valuable lesson to learn along with boosting their own self-worth.
They are in control
They are in control of when and where they will spend their money. They don’t both have to have something. If you have more than one child, you’ll know what I mean. In days gone by, Boo’s spotted a little toy that she wants, I say yes, then Little Man just has to find something for the same value. Or he wants a magazine, so then of course I have to get one for Boo. Those days are gone! They both understand that they have their earnings and they can each spend them as and when they choose to do so. If one of them has run out of money, then that’s just the way it is. Interestingly, Boo will often treat her brother to something if she has extra money, but as Little Man rarely has extra, I’ve yet to see this work the other way!
Benefits for Us?
As well as all of the ways that I can see this is helping the kids, we also have more money in our pockets. We are now less inclined to buy random treats for the children when we’re all out and about. If they see things they like, we remind them to save up for it and they don’t question it any further. They love having their own money, and at an early age, they are learning that it is their responsibility to manage it. The kids recently took some money into school to enter a little charity competition, 20p each, which I popped in their bags for them. That evening, Boo turned to me and said that she should have really taken it out of her money box as it was her choice to spend it. She didn’t, we are happy to provide 20p for our kids!, but the fact that she is now thinking like this shows how her mindset has changed around money. It’s great to see.
I honestly had not anticipated how well this would go down with them both, or all of the benefits that we have seen since doing it. Over time, their responsibilities will change along with their earnings, and all of the foundations have been laid to teach them about money as they grow up.
Do your children receive pocket money? How do they get on with it?