– Ben Martens


My sister and I never had an allowance when we were growing up, but I also remember having a few bucks here and there so it worked out fine. I’m it would have worked out fine for Elijah too, but Tyla and I have really enjoyed having our own individual allowances (we call it a “fun budget”) so I liked the idea of doing one for Elijah too and using it as an educational tool.

Natali Morris has a couple great posts on the topic and I’m largely stealing the ideas from her, but here is how we set it up for now:

  • We’re not paying him to do chores. Everyone in our house does chores. It’s expected, not rewarded.
  • Each Saturday, he’ll get $4. $1 goes in the piggy bank for long term savings. (Eventually we’ll migrate that to an actual child bank account.) $1 is for donating to church. And the remaining $2 go in his spending jar.
  • For now, everything in his spending jar is a one dollar bill. That makes it easier to explain how much money he has and how much he needs for a particular toy.

There are a few ideas for expanding this in the future beyond what I mentioned above:

  • If he wants to earn additional money, we’ll find some jobs for him to do around the house (not chores!)
  • After he has a few purchases under his belt, I’m willing to let him buy something that he doesn’t have money for, but I will charge him interest on that loan.

It seems like a lot for a four year old to grasp, but so far so good. If this works out, we have a chance at raising a kid who understands the value of money, saving, and staying out of debt. And oh yeah the “Can I have X? PLEEEEEAAAASE?” questions while in the toy aisle have a very easy answer now: “You can spend your own money on this if you want it.”

P.S. I walked into the bank and asked for $100 in one dollar bills. As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I said, “Oh. Wow. That sounded way more dirty than I thought it would. Honestly, it’s for an allowance for my kid.” The teller got a good laugh out of it and said she sees lots of interesting stuff.