For a lot of generations now, many parents have given their children pocket money. The amount will vary, with some getting none at all and some getting a significant amount but being made responsible for buying things like their clothes with it. Knowing whether you should give them money at all and how much can be difficult especially for parents with children are different ages who may have different demands. It is worth asking yourself a few questions to help you to decide:
Can I afford it?
It is really important to make sure that giving pocket money is something that you, as a parent, can afford. You need to make sure that you can cover all of your household expenses before thinking about giving pocket money. You also need to set it at a level that you will be able to afford. It can be hard to ignore children’s demands for certain amounts of money or for items that they want, but you need to make sure that you can manage financially. Do not set out to give them a certain amount a week or month if you fear that you will not always be able to afford it. Make sure that you discuss with them that you may not always be able to give them the same amount so that you do not feel under so much pressure to do so, if you do decide to give them some.
Do they need it?
It is worth thinking about why they want the money and whether they really need it. Consider why you are thinking about giving it to them. It could be because they have asked you, you feel you should because other parents do or a completely different reason. Consider whether the reason is a good one and if you should be given them money. If they already get everything they ask for then they do not really need money to spend. If they want to spend it on things like sweets then again it may not be a good reason to give it to them. If they are saving up to buy something or just saving for the future then you may feel that this is a better reason for giving them money.
Should they earn it?
Many parents insist that their children do chores to earn their pocket money. This could be anything from keeping their room tidy to cleaning the family car. It is obviously up to parents to decide whether they should earn it and how much they should od to earn it. By earning t, it shows children that in life you have to work to get money. However, others could argue that they may refuse to do jobs around the house unless they get paid and this does not set them up well for when they are adults and have to do this. It is a personal decision and some parents might decide to give some money and then pay children extra if they do chores or might decide on a completely different system.
Should they save or spend it?
If the children are young then parents have a lot of influence on what they should be doing with their money. Parents might like to encourage children to save their money so that they get into good financial habits. This can be tricky though if the children have plans to spend it on something specific. A compromise that some parents make with their children is that they spend some of it and save some of it. This can get them used to saving, but will not mean that they miss out on buying things they want. There are lessons to be learned by spending money. If you buy items and then realise that there is something better you wish you had got, or want something expensive and have to save for it, these are both important life lessons. If children can make poor spending decisions when they are children and have regrets about those, they will hopefully remember them (perhaps with some gentle reminders from their parents, as they get older). This could help them to make better spending decisions when they get older.
There is no doubt that it can be a tricky decision to make. It is so important to start by making sure that you can afford to give pocket money in the first place. Try not to feel pressures. Then think about how it will all work, how much they will get and how often, whether it will be regular or ad hoc and whether they have to earn it. Then think about if you want to save it or spend it or a mixture of both. There are lot of factors, but it is good to get it sorted out beforehand because once you start doing things in a certain way, it is very hard to change it.