Pocket Money – teaching kids value and responsibility

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

How and why kids receive pocket money is different in every family.  We learnt early that each of our children had a different currency.  If they were in trouble Miss 8 was always devastated to be banned from TV.  Mr 8 loved finding and saving money, which made me realise pocket money would encourage him to start helping me around the house.  At the time they were 6 and ready to have some responsibilities.  We included then Miss 4 but didn’t have ‘big’ expectation of her to do tasks around the house but wanted her to be included.

I don’t purchase my kids lollies or toys when visiting the shops they only receive them as gifts on their birthday’s, at Christmas or using their pocket money through the year (however I am happy for them to be spoilt anytime by other family members).  I want to teach them the value of money, responsibility to earn it and to be grateful for what they receive.  Also fact is I can’t afford to buy items when shopping and give them the expectation that if they ask they will receive each trip.

Earning pocket money

My kids have a responsibility each week to keep their bedrooms, wardrobe and bathroom tidy, be kind to each other and complete their household tasks.

If they do this they will receive their pocket money, however, if there is a day that I am not satisfied I deduct 50c.

How much pocket money

My kids started receiving pocket money when the twins started school, aged 5.  We began by giving them weekly 50c for each year of their age.  However now the twins, 8 years old they receive $5 each week and Miss 6 receives $4.  We give pocket money on a Sunday night.

Organising pocket money

The kids each have their own piggy bank and reward chart to keep track of each of their tasks.  I will go into more detail about this tomorrow.

Hubby and I keep a jar filled with gold coins specially for pocket money.  Once the jar is low we give the kids a $20 note in exchange for $20 in coins.

Do you give your kids pocket money?  If so, how much, when and why did you start?

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49 comments

Jo Tra on Facebook November 8, 2011 - 5:45 AM

Ooh, I love this! I pitched the concept to my 4yr old yesterday, but didn’t have the coins or the moneybox yet so made him go on a money hunt and put it all in an old coffee jar. He Loved seeing all the money in there. Can’t wait to start them on the self cleaning/earning path!! I also found an idea which is having them keep a ledger of their earnings, but love the idea of the note as that is solid and they don’t like breaking it. Thankyou xo

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Debbie @ Aspiring Mum November 8, 2011 - 5:51 AM

This is almost identical to how we give pocket money in our family. It was hard to work out a system to begin with, but we’ve settled with what we’ve got – and it works well. We deduct money if we’re not satisfied with how their attitude/helpfulness has been during the week. And we actually give $1 per year age – I’m thinking $0.50 sounds better for my pocket!

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Katrina November 8, 2011 - 9:21 AM

That’s it, what works stick to it. It may change as they get older and their need to spend their money practical items, but for now 50c works well.

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Super Ordinary Mum November 8, 2011 - 6:28 AM

We give $1 per year of age (8yrs and 3 yrs) and it goes directly into a bank account. The kids are not allowed to buy food or lollies at the shops because I am not willing to get into the argument that I say “no you may not have a milkshake” and they then counter with “well I will buy itwith my money”. It is working well. My hubby and I believe that jobs should just be done becuase you are part of a family – not for monetary reward.

This year they have an extra piggy bank that they get “extra” money for (coins only) for doing things extra – and they don’t know they will be getting money until after. This money, from their piggy bank is for spending on ice-creams etc when we go on our annual holiday to the beach. They are both working really well.

They can spend the money in their account on toys etc – we try and guide them but figure they won’t realise the value of moeny unless they get to spend (and therefore not have any sometimes). Is all working well.

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Katrina November 8, 2011 - 9:23 AM

My kids now realise they can buy more with their money in the June/July sales. Your right, it’s a great way to learn value.

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Karen November 8, 2011 - 6:42 AM

Mr 5 gets $5 a week, half into the bank account i set up wgen he was born, and have been putting $5 a fortnight into it since then. The other $5 is gor feeding the dog breakfast and dinner, setting the table and keeping his room tidy. (he didn’t get the cash last week as jobs were not done, pushing boundaries here at the moment) i dont nag or ask for the jobs to br done and the lesson hit home when the money did not appear as he is saving for lego and us fairly close to his goal.

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Lisa Sleeman on Facebook November 8, 2011 - 6:56 AM

I think my son has it too good, my other half gave him $10 the other day to clean his room, lol. We dont do weekly pocket money we just usually buy him a halo Lego man ect.

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Samy_savva November 8, 2011 - 8:13 AM

Oh I am liking this post and seeing the responses. I thought my 3 1/2 yr old was too young to get the concept of pocket money, however judging by the below I don’t think she is. Maybe I should try it. She is pretty good with doing things when asked unless a better offer comes up. I think I also need to teach myself to say NO more often at the shops when she asks for things. I dont buy her ALOT of things but she does tend to come home with something. So I need to curve my own behaviour if I want to teach her anything.

Looking forward to seeing the reward chart and how you set it all up. Time to put my thinking cap on I think.

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Katrina November 8, 2011 - 9:27 AM

Sammy, I think at 3 1/2 she can attempt to make her bed. Like I showed in my Imperfectly Perfect post, it’s does’t need to be a perfect job, just that they are doing it and and showing responsibility.

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Samy_savva November 23, 2011 - 9:51 AM

Miss 3 has welcomed the challenges and thriving in her new responsibilities. I think she likes feeling a bit grown up and knows that we respect her enough to entrust her with her new responsibilities!

I was not so sure about the whole bed making thing as I am a bit of perfectionist and like things done a certain way. But I have stepped back and she now makes her bed EVERY morning. Thank you The Organised Houewife 🙂

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Katrina December 21, 2011 - 11:52 PM

I’m so proud of you Sam, yes it was hard in the beginning for me too. But it’s teaching them good values and great responsibility.

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Harriet November 8, 2011 - 8:17 AM

We use points… the kids start off with 20 points each (the equivalent of $5 – each dollar is worth four points). They lose points for unacceptable behaviour (fighting – both lose points (I don’t care who started it!); behaviour that leads to the shouty etc, forgetting things more than once)

However, points can be gained for behaving really well, being helpful, handling a difficult situation well… And pocket money is given as pocket money and Bonus Points. 99% of the time, the threat of points loss is enough to curb behaviour.

Points aren’t for doing their jobs – there is an expectation that they just DO them.

Most of the time, the oldest (who is nearly 9) gets around the $4.50 – $5 mark; while the younger (who is almost 6) gets about $3 or $4 most weeks (he is insanely slow in the mornings).

Their money goes into their money boxes, plus they’re putting away some loot for a big family holiday to QLD in 2013 in a seperate money box. They can buy stuff with their money – the oldest saved up for and bought himself an electric guitar; the youngest used birthday money plus pocket money to buy himself an ipod touch. While they were saving for the big ticket items they wanted, they soon realised that if they spent $10 on the bit of plastic crap, they were two or three weeks further away from the good thing they really wanted.

I also put money in the bank for them each month (they don’t know about this money, though).

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Katrina November 8, 2011 - 9:30 AM

I really like the idea of each family member saving for a holiday. I might try and adapt it too! Thankyou for sharing 🙂

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Caz November 8, 2011 - 9:27 AM

I’ve been thinking about this recently so…timing…! A friend of my SiL has a system where her children’s pocket money is divided into thirds – 1/3 is to be saved, 1/3 can be spent (or saved) on things of their choice and the final 1/3 is to be used for someone else. I think they sometime donate it, sponsor people etc. I like the sound of it and must check it out some more for our nearly Mr 5.

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Katrina November 8, 2011 - 9:34 AM

I have heard of a money box that has the different section as you descirbed above, we have friends that do the same, kids donating a portion of the money to charity. If I find out details I will send you the link.

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Bec S November 8, 2011 - 10:00 AM

We do this (I just posted above) – but have 2 seperate money boxes – 1 for charity and 1 for savings.

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kristy November 8, 2011 - 9:36 AM

Kat, I am thankful for the time you spend giving us all these great tips. I wish I didn’t give in to my kids when at the shops and your right, now now expect it and ungrateful. I will be adapting this. thankyou again.

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Katrina November 8, 2011 - 7:27 PM

It really helps to teach them the value, goodluck!

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Julie November 8, 2011 - 9:48 AM

Mr 4 has a chart with some of his jobs drawn on it(feeding the dog, getting ready for kindy-without mummy getting grumpy- this inckudes making bed, packing his bag, brushing teeth etc, setting the table, taking out the bin). Every job gets him a tick and a tick equals 10c. 10% of earnings goes to church offering and he gets to choose what he wants to do with the rest. If he doesnt complege the job correctly ie not putting the bin liner in, cutlery put out wrong and not trying to correct it, he does not get his tick.

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Bec S November 8, 2011 - 9:59 AM

My son gets pocket money (he is 5) but my daughter doesn’t yet.
He gets $4 a week (started when he was 4), $2 goes into his wallet, $1 into a money box we have put aside for savings (we will put into the bank at the end of the year) and $1 into a money box we have put aside for charity (we will buy something like a world vision goat or present for the kmart wishing tree at the end of the year) – so basically only $2 for himself.
He just turned 5 – so I might up it to $5 so he gets $3 for himself.

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Katrina November 8, 2011 - 7:26 PM

Really graet idea Bec!

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Tiffany November 8, 2011 - 11:47 AM

Wow, reading all the other comments is making me feel like a cheap mum. My eldest child is 6 and we only introduced pocket money to him this year. He gets $1 at the end of the week if he keeps his room tidy, gets ready for school in the morning with no fuss from him and no constant nagging from me, and leaves the bathroom tidy after bathtime or brushing teeth. If there are more than two days in the week he doesn’t keep up his end of the bargain then he gets no pocket money. Once he had saved up enough money to buy a Stars Wars figurine he wanted (which took 15 weeks to save for), he then started to understand the value of money. We figured if we start with $1 it gives us plenty of room to add to it as he gets older. Our 4 year old daughter now wants to get pocket money too. She has the same deal as our son, she has to do as much as him, but we only give her 20 cents at the end of the week. When she starts school she will get $1 too.

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Katrina November 8, 2011 - 7:25 PM

Don’t feel like that Tiffany, if it’s working for you stick to it!

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Free2beme November 8, 2011 - 4:17 PM

Pocket money in our house was a reward for work done as it is in your house. Money was often tight but we made sure we always paid them on time. Deductions were similar but they did have an opportunity to earn some back with special jobs kept for that purpose. Knowing we were not well off as they grew older our brood often bought things they needed with their own money or I would pay for the cheaper version (a basic pencil case) and they would pay the extra to get the style they really wanted. As a teacher I see kids who do nothing for their pocket money and it shows. They take less care of their possessions are more selfish and expect everyone to provide things for them. It just goes to show that a simple thing like pocket money can make a big difference 🙂

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Katrina November 8, 2011 - 7:24 PM

That’s right it’s the expectation. That’s a great idea allowing the kids kids to pay for the brand/style they prefer rather than the one you can afford. Might try and adapt this tip too!

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wilmawalrus November 8, 2011 - 7:47 PM

We have a system where we don’t hand out the money, but we keep a track of it with a spreadsheet. At the end of each week (or after a few weeks – we’re a bit slack keeping up), we go through a list of tasks ie. making beds, eating meals in a timely manner, unpacking lunchboxes from schoolbags and packing bags for school etc, and if all are done in a satisfactory manner, pocket money is allocated (currently $5 and $6 for Mr 7 and Miss 9 – they haven’t had a raise for a while). If tasks/behaviour are not up to scratch, the amount is reduced. When they want to buy something, we deduct it from the spreadsheet and make the purchase. My daughter is good at saving and not spending, while my son buys something new as soon as he has about $20 or so (mad about lego). It really has taught them the value of money, and keeps them on track with tasks, etc.

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Katrina November 11, 2011 - 8:58 PM

Great work, I have a friend that uses a money tree instead of actual money.

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Annwen November 8, 2011 - 7:52 PM

I also have twins – they are now 8, and my daughter is 2. She isn’t old enough to be involved just yet, but they boys are at a point where every second thing they see they want to own. We have a rewards system that results in money at the end of each week. Every day that they do well at school (no name on the board etc) they get one monopoly note, which equals $1. It is also understood that they keep their room tidy, beds made and clean their playroom for that money. They have the option of doing extra jobs when there are jobs that need to be done, whether it be sweeping, dusting etc which they get paid 3 dollars for, or.. they can choose an item from the prize box (which is a random bunch of toys/kids mags etc to the value of $5). To encourage them to save their money, when they reach 10 notes, they may choose a reward of movies, fun station or timezone. Like yours, the only time our kids get things other than when they earn it, is Christmas/birthdays.

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Annwen November 8, 2011 - 8:00 PM

Oh and of course negative behaviour results in loss of notes.

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Katrina November 11, 2011 - 8:59 PM

My kids have prize box at school and they LOVE it, great incentive.

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mumspk November 8, 2011 - 7:57 PM

I love this post. Why haven’t I seen it before now?! We do pocket money with our 8yr old son and have done this for a year or so. But we pay out monthly. I just can’t get myself sorted to have small change once a week. He has some family chores which he isn’t paid for, and anything on top of those he records on his pocket money chart. Each ‘optional’ chore is given a monetary value and at the end of the month we add all the entries up and he gets his cash.

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Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:01 PM

Over a few weeks try and save all gold coins for your purse each day, soon enough you will have a collection which you can keep using again and again, exchanging notes for the coins back.

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naomi November 8, 2011 - 8:01 PM

We have been doing pocket money for a while now our older daughter (5) Gets $2 a day but she works hard for her money She gets up & walks to school with me (instead of taking the car) & home again in the afternoons we live 1.6km fromt he school she never complains in the mornings she will get all the dirty washing from the bedrooms & take it to the laundry for me & collects the breakfast dishs & puts them in the sink In the afternoons after school while im doing dinner she will pick up all the toys & put them away that her younger 2 have left out. I dont mind paying her to help as a mum of 3 kids under 6 & a hubby that is always away for work (his home for 1 week a month) I need all the help i can get 🙂 She is a HUGE help around the house & also does all the gardening were growing our own vegs & she has learnt alot from doing it. SHe has also learnt the value of saving she will put all her money in a tin & leave it untill she has a lot & then ask’s is we can go get somthing she has been saving for but she also buys somthing little for her siblings she loves saving & giving. She also knows how lucky she is to have everything she has she understands daddy works hard for it all & some familys are not so lucky everytime she buys a new toy or book even clothing she loves she will pick 2 items to give to charrity shops for kids that are not so lucky. She also sponsers her own child (from south africa) the same age as her with her money it is somthing she wanted to do & loves hearing updates from her & her family. So far she has helped her sponser child attend school to get a education & provied her family with clean drinking water & basic meals its a amazing how much we can give to a family with just a few $$ a week.

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Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:02 PM

What an amazing little helper you have !

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Katie November 8, 2011 - 8:19 PM

My 3 aged 7,6 and 3 all get pocket money which most of it goes in their money tin to save as spending money for our holiday too qld in march they are usuaully aloud $1 to buy a lolly and if they really want to buy something i will allow them to take money out but we have to approve. i have things such as cleaning room, making beds and feeding animals which i refuse to pay them for in our house that is something you have to do everyday, the pocket money is for extra jobs which they get paid 50 cents per time so they have the oppurtunity to earn as much or as less as they like ie taking out rubbish/recycling bringing in bins washing/ drying up, vacuuming cleaning down table, tidy backyard, collect laundry baskets when full ( if the kids are wanting to earn a bit more they will ask for extra jobs ) as they get older some of these jobs will be added to their responsibility jobs and other harder bonus jobs like washing car etc will be put in place, i try amd cap itat $5 per child unless i no they are saving for something speacial and they always chuck in to buy a gift for the wishing tree at kmart 🙂

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Genevieve Peden November 8, 2011 - 9:20 PM

I would love to know more in depth about the marble system that a few of your readers do.
My kids are money spoilt by my husband

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Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:12 PM

Will try and find more infor for you Genevieve

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Daja747 November 9, 2011 - 7:37 PM

My children Mstr 10, miss 7 get half their age in money, so $5 and $3.50. They are expected to contibute to household chores and have a good attitude about it. Money speaks to them however I’m yet to instill the spend save and give philosophy it’s a work in progress:)

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Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:20 PM

Good luck, hopefully soon they will understand

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Samy_savva November 23, 2011 - 9:49 AM

Who would have thought finding a nice PLAIN money box would be so difficult. Any suggestions of where I can maybe find a PINK money box without any characters on it? This is what my Miss 3 has asked for her as she currently only has a tiny one she was given when she was born and slot does not fit 20c or 50c pieces.

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Katrina December 21, 2011 - 11:51 PM

Sorry I am so late with replying Sam, but I just brought a heart shaped money box from http://www.limetreekids.com.au a part of the bobble art range.

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Mrs Mac August 22, 2013 - 1:17 PM

I saw a brilliant idea on another blog (can’t remember who sorry to them) but they got the cheap ugly round money tins from a shop like the Reject shop and covered it is pretty paper. You could use contact as well. Great job!

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Georgia August 21, 2012 - 12:08 PM

Hi I’m a big fan of your blogs 🙂
I’m actually not getting pocket money anymore (because I started working), but when I was, my three brothers and I would get half our age in pocket money. there was an exception to this rule: when you turned 13 but were did not have a proffesional job yet you got your full age in dollars every fortnight. (e.g. when I was 9 i recieved $4.50 a fortnight, my eldest brothers recieved $13 and $5.50 and my youngest brother (five at the time) got merely $2.50.
We were always expected to unload the dishwasher, take the compost bucket out, feed the animals, tidy our bedrooms etc. For my family, we didn’t recieve deductions if we failed to complete tasks, other privileges were taken for a week or so.
We had the opportunity to earn extra money by cleaning the car, mowing the lawn etc.
I grew up with strong money values (still can’t keep my wallet away from Vally Girl, mind you!) and it was a very sure way to keep it fair in a family of six.

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Naomi August 26, 2012 - 2:18 PM

We have 3 sons (12, 10, 8). We expect them to help around the house (there’s a chart on the fridge with 3 jobs on it that rotates each week). As for pocket money, the youngest gets $5 a week and the two older ones get $10 a week. We sometimes pay extra money if they do a specific job as asked. The older two get more money because they are expected to purchase birthday cards/gifts for their friends when invited to a party. This has been working well for a year now – they no longer look for $30 gifts for their friends, now usually $15-$20. They also know that if they leave their wallet at home I don’t hand out money. So nice not to tell them “no” all the time!

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arlsdarls September 27, 2012 - 10:22 PM

LOVE your blog! My son is 8 and from the age of 2 he became a very very fussy eater limiting himself to a small variety of foods that he weill eat and only if they are seperated on his plate. We recently discovered he has been accept ing money from his friends at school who are allowed to buy from the canteen every day. So in an effort to encourage him to eat “mixed” foods and to save us time in making seperate meals we will pay him. 50c for every dinner meal where he trys at least 4 bites of any new food or meal. He can than spend this money at the canteen the next day. So far so good.

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Debby August 22, 2013 - 9:50 AM

I have a 13yr old. she was getting $10 a week, but now gets $5, as she wanted me to put the other $5 into the bank for her. so she saves half and can spend half. We dont expect too much from her, just keep her room clean, and mainly concentrate on her schoolwork. I only buy the clothes for her that are, what i class as essentials…. eg, bras, knickers etc. if she sees a top she likes, or shoes, she buys them. It does make her think twice.

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Rachel Devine August 22, 2013 - 11:46 AM

We expect certain things as being part of the family unit. The extra chores that help me around the house are up for hire. Gemma usually does the most when she has her eye on something she wants. She saved for over a year to buy herself an iPod. I keep track of all the money (we use an app) and then if we are out and she wants something, she can use her own money to buy it. She does not get a regular set pocket money.

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Davina August 23, 2013 - 9:11 AM

Love your blog and I agree with what you’re saying. Chores and Rewards are a great way to instil responsibility, values and initiatives for kids. Sorry for the plug but we’ve developed an App for this which we think you and your readers will love. Little Rewards iphone App changed our home life where we used to argue with our kids to do chores around the house all the time to now them asking what else can be done. Take a look on https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/little-rewards/id650679652?mt=8

Keep going with the great blog! Thanks 🙂

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Ra March 8, 2017 - 3:33 AM

I have found these tips you have all shared very useful and looking forward to getting started on them.thank you

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