Should you give your children pocket money?

Why you might want to give pocket money 

First, let’s look at the reasons why parents might choose to give their children pocket money.  

One of the main arguments in favour of pocket money is that it can help children learn financial responsibility. By giving children a regular allowance, parents can teach them about budgeting, saving, and spending. This can be a valuable lesson that they can carry with them into adulthood. 

Additionally, children who receive pocket money may be more likely to develop good spending habits, such as being more selective about what they buy and being less likely to spend money impulsively. 

Another reason parents might give their children pocket money is to teach them the value of money. When children have their own money, they have a greater appreciation for the things they buy with it. They learn to understand that money is a finite resource and that they need to make choices about how to spend it. This can help them develop a greater sense of gratitude and a more responsible attitude towards money. 

Pocket money can also be used as an incentive to instil good habits. For example, paying cash based on tidying their room or doing regular jobs around the house. 

You can also use pocket money as a reward for good work or behaviour at school. 

It’s also a good idea to use pocket money as a teaching opportunity. Talk to your children about the importance of budgeting, saving, and making responsible financial decisions. Help them understand the difference between needs and wants and encourage them to prioritise their spending accordingly. 

Why you might not want to give pocket money 

On the other hand, there are also arguments against giving children pocket money. One concern is that it can lead to entitlement. If children receive regular allowances, they may come to expect it and take it for granted. This can lead to a lack of appreciation for the value of money and the view that money will always be available no matter what. 

Some may say that children who receive pocket money may be more likely to develop materialistic attitudes and place too much emphasis on material possessions. 

Times are hard at the moment and with a cost of living crisis a concern is that giving children pocket money can be a financial burden on parents. Depending on how much pocket money is given and how frequently, it can add up quickly and strain a family’s budget. Parents may worry that their children will spend the money on frivolous items or waste it in other ways. 

So how do you decide whether to give pocket money or not? 

Ultimately, the decision depends on your family’s values, needs, and financial situation.  

If you can’t afford a lot of cash or to hand over a regular amount then that’s fine and it certainly isn’t anything to feel guilty about. 

But if you can afford to give your children pocket money then you may want to think about what you are trying to do. 

Do you want to instil financial discipline and responsibility? 

Do you want to give them some money so they can choose their own clothing? 

Do you want to reward good behaviour or reward them for doing chores? 

Once you understand why you want to give your children money then it helps you to make a decision on the next thorny issue. 

How much should you give your children? 

If you do decide to give your children pocket money, there are several things you can do to make it a positive experience for everyone involved. 

One important step is to involve your children in the decision-making process. Talk to them about why you want to give them pocket money and what you hope they will learn from it. Encourage them to set goals for how they will use the money, whether it’s saving up for a big purchase or donating a portion to charity. 

Another tip is to establish clear rules and expectations for how the pocket money should be used. This might include setting spending limits, encouraging savings, and discussing the consequences of overspending. 

But a word of warning, don’t get sucked into the old game of comparing yourself to other parents or indeed believing what your child says about their classmates. The amount you give has to be a decision that is personal to your family. There isn’t a parent alive who hasn’t had the old “but all my friends get money” when in reality not all of them do and few of them get quite as much as you will be led to believe! 

By providing clear guidelines, you can help your children develop good habits around money and avoid some of the pitfalls of entitlement and overspending. 

So should you give your kids pocket money? 

This is a perfect example of where a blog can really only go so far. 

We can give you some useful guidelines and tips but at the end of the day the decision is entirely yours. 

It’s important to be consistent and transparent about the pocket money arrangement. Make sure your children know when they will receive their allowance and how much they will get. If you need to adjust the amount or frequency, talk to them about it and explain your reasoning. By being open and honest, you can help build trust and create a positive learning environment for your children. 

And remember, don’t compare what you give to other parents as their situation could be completely different. 

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