Allowance & Budget for Teens

Parent Q&A

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  • We're looking at changing our 16 YO's allowance arrangements. Our questions:

    -  How much allowance do you give your kid per week?

    -  What is the allowance supposed to cover?

    -  Do you have special allowances, like an annual clothing allowance, and how much are they?


    When my teens hit high school I transition them to a yearly allowance, given twice a year (this year, for my remaining teen, it is $1,500/year.) Out of that, they pay for their clothes, accessories, entertainment, birthday and christmas presents, food when they go out with friends, etc. They contribute nominally to their car insurance when they start driving. I pay for sports equipment, shoes and jackets. And gas when they are home. My older kids are now 24 and 20 and have aged out of it, but it worked well for them -they are great at budgeting and have a solid understanding of finance. My youngest is still in high school and he is pretty frugal. One of the other side benefits of this arrangement is they never whined for money. They could negotiate for a "raise" over the 4 years of high school if they felt they needed more money and could verbalize why. 

    Hi there, I don’t have a perfect answer to this, as we’ve tried multiple ways in the past, but we’re trying this for now. My daughter is a senior in high school, and this summer I thought about the skills I wanted to teach her before she goes off to college and into the adult world. One of those skills was money management.

    We decided as a family to set her up with a special allowance account, separate from her  savings and college fund. We give her $100 per month, on the first of every month. She uses this to go on Bart into the city, have coffee with friends, and buy herself things. If she runs out of money, she runs out. This $100 is not tied to any chores. She has regular tasks that she is expected to do outside of allowance money. If she really runs out of money and wants to earn more, we have big projects that she can do, like weed the yard, deep clean the bathroom, or vacuum the cars.So far, so good. We may reevaluate and change as we go forward, but we’re trying this for now. 
    this feels comfortable and really minimizes the nickel and diming with calculating money and chores etc. And I hope it’s helping her to see how to manage money on a larger scale, because rent money and monthly budgets are not so far away, especially with college dorms and bills. Good luck to you.

    When my daughter was a freshman in high school I heard someone on NPR suggest this and Iit worked really well for my daughter. Not so much for my son- waiting until now- his senior year to do it.

    The author suggested that you figure out how much money to spend/give your child for all kinds of things- all their clothes, spending money etc in a year and give that amount to them all at once to spend. I did it for 6 months the first time and she did keep within her budget and learned so much. This means if you would buy them designer clothes or expensive ski gear anyway- give them enough money that they can buy those things themselves and really learn what it costs. Within a year while shopping together at a clothing store my daughter had gone from asking me if I’d spend $75 on a top for her to telling me she loved this top but she’d wait for it to go on sale!! That was such a lesson for her. In contrast my son was constantly running out of money and asking for an advance so we stopped. Trying again now that he’s a senior!

  • Hello good, wise people: i am struggling with proper allowance amount per week vs. How many/ how long chores should be. I have 2 boys , 12 and 14. They sporadically help out and we sporadically give them $5 here and there to go out with friends, etc. But i want a better plan, a weekly amount and certain chores they must complete throughout the week. What ya'll doing about that these days? thanks in advance for thoughts...

    From my perspective (parent of 14 year old), you should NOT tie allowance to chores. The reason is that at some point, there will be a negotiation. I don't care that you don't give me $$, I won't do this or that. I think I should get more money for that. How come little sibling only has to do this and I have to do that? Chores are what you do because you are a member of this household and therefore contribute to the betterment of this household. You can't work and earn money yet, so we cover your rent and food--you do these chores. I tie chores to free time. You can't have free time until you complete these chores. I make sure the chores are age appropriate, and to start, I make sure they are very short and doable. Empty the dishwasher and then you can have free time, for example. Today, my kid is at home alone and I've left him a list of chores. He can get them done whenever he wants during the day, as long as they are done by the time I get home. And, since this is expected behavior, I have no doubt when I get home the list will be done. It's about 20 minutes worth of stuff. So, my kids get an allowance no matter what. But, they also (pretty happily) do all the chores I assign them. I am very careful not to make the mistakes of: oh! you did that quick, so now I assign you this too. I also make some of them their responsibility like their laundry. They do that or they don't have clean clothes. Their bathroom. They do that, or they have an illness pit that is not OK. Also--don't tie allowance to grades!

    My kids are 12 and 13. I give them their age in cash weekly. I do not tie it to chores, I never "dock" their allowance. They learn how to manage their money and if they blow it, they blow it. They both save money for things they want. It's worked well. (After doing much research.)

    My son is 15, so I give him $15/week, which is divided like this: $7 in his checking account, $7 in savings account, $1in the charity jar. He is free to spend the checking money however he wants. The savings account is for big ticket items, so he needs to ask permission before dipping into it, and he decides when and where to donate from the charity jar. He complained that $7/week spending money was not much, which is true, so he gets double allowance any week that he has $25 or more in his checking account. He almost never does, so that ended up being a moot point. It sounds like your kids are less complicated than mine, so you can probably use a simpler system. This works great for us, though.

    As for chores, I don’t pay for them. He has regular chores that he has to do independent of allowance, because that’s just part of being in a family.

    Good luck!

    Good Question!  There are many different approaches to the allowance / chore dilemma. The New York Times or Wall Street Journal devoted many pages to the topic a couple of years ago.  I think the best advice is to take an approach that aligns with your values and be consistent with it.

    That said, here's what we do (my children are now 16 and 18):

    Basic chores are expected as part of being in a family and are not tied to allowance. This includes things like helping with meal prep and clean up, keeping the house tidy, cleaning their rooms, and, now that they are teens, doing their laundry. My husband and I pay for basic necessities and occasional splurges on our discretion. While they were in middle school, the kids received a weekly allowance of $1 for every year of age.  Now that they are in high school they get a set amount per week to spend as they please - meals out and activities with friends, make-up for my daughter, etc. The 16yo gets $20, the 18yo still in high school gets $30. Neither of them drive, so both are provided a transit card and Lyft account tied to my credit card only for parent approved rides.  I also provide mobile phone service with a limited data plan.  Any additional money they would like, they earn through summer jobs, pet sitting, extra jobs around the house (cleaning the solar panels, specific gardening projects, vacuuming and washing the car, etc.).  My rate for extra jobs is the same as what they would earn at a place like Starbucks or Jamba Juice - currently $13/hr.

    My goal through this is to remove me from being arbiter of their spending and help them learn financial management.

    Good luck finding what works for you and your family!

    I have a fifteen year old son and he gets $15 per week.  This is based on his age:  $1 for every year.  

    He does have a set of weekly chores that he is required to do, mostly on weekends.  It includes taking out the garbages on garbage day and rolling the cans to the curb, mowing the lawn, picking up the dog alley, etc.  These are "knowns" that he must do every week.  On our family whiteboard, I also have a running list of other chores that he needs to do - more occational things to help out or a kid "honey do" list.  These chores include washing the car, trimming hedges, helping with large garden projects (ie, weeding the side yard).  There are things I just ask him verbally to do on the fly, such as feeding the dogs, unloading the dishwasher or folding the laundry while I do something else like make dinner. 

    I'm going to pat myself on the back a little here and note that he does all of the above without too much complaint (he is a teenager, after all....) because he's always been expected to pitch in and help out in age-appropriate ways.  

    One thing to think about:  I hate assembling things or getting new electronics (phone, garage door opener, etc.) running, but my son loves that kind of stuff.  Those, too, have become his defacto chores, but he perceives it as a fun task.  Could you work with your boys on what they like to do and build a list from there?

    Hi there,

     For the past 2 years, I've "hired" my son to do work (not chores) around our house. What is the difference? I might say "I need shredding done or the car washed and this is what I'll pay." We sometimes negotiate the fee.  I give him specific instructions on what I'd like to see in the finished product. He gets feedback on how they were completed. The goal is that he learns to do tasks as instructed, not as he sees fit or feels they should be done. And yes, I've deducted his pay if he's done a poor job on the task. It's the beginning of a real world learning experience that I'm trying to get him to "feel" so that he can be successful in a real work setting.  In addition we talk about what it means to be in the workforce today and expectations of the employer.  In closing, I'd say setup the list of chores, add in some expectations, do some evaluation after the task has been completed, and pay accordingly.  Believe me, the "outside real world" will thank you for doing this.

    Keep it real mom of teenager

    I did not assign any chores to my children and gave them a fixed weekly amount. During high school, I tied it to their school performance, e.g., the dollar amount would be equivalent to the SAT score minus 2000.

    My 13 year old get $10 a week. For that he needs to do the following every day: clean his room, put away the dishes from dishwasher and from the strainer, take out the recycling. Once a week he needs to fold his washed clothes and wheel the garbage bins out to the curb and back in again.

    I give both my kids $10 per week. I do pay for movies and such much of the time in addition to the $10.  Just yesterday I shelled out $50 for Waterworld. (That's insane that it costs that much!!) My kids do the same chores daily/weekly: rake the leaves, take out garbage and recycling, load/empty dishwasher, set/clear the table, clean their rooms, do their own laundry, pick up the oranges from the ground under the tree. And each one of them makes dinner 1x per week. (this is a struggle.... ok, it really only happens 2x per month but we are working on it. the plan is once a week eventually). They are 11 and 15. 

    We don't pay for chores.  Our kids are expected to handle their share of the household work just because they are members of the household. Each of them has just one or two regular sole responsibilities (fix dinner 1x/week, take trash bins to curb for pickup) and otherwise are just expected to step in as appropriate to do things like empty the dishwasher when it's clean.  This would be true whether we gave them an allowance or not.  From time to time I will offer to pay for something out of the ordinary, but only when it's a truly optional job, and something that I consider worth paying for so that I don't have to do it myself!  The amount of time that kids "should" spend on household chores really varies depending on all sorts of things about their particular family's life, so I wouldn't worry too much about what other teens do and instead consider what chores need to be done in your house (what are you doing now that you'd really like *not* to do? what things are going undone because nobody ever gets to them?), and what else your kids spend their time on (do they have activities or commitments that, combined with school, take up most of their day, or are they sitting around staring at their phones for hours after school? what's your family's typical weekend like?).  

    We give our kids an allowance in order to teach them about managing their money (and allow them to make mistakes with it while the stakes are low!).  It's called an "allowance" for a reason; it's not wages, but a set amount that they are allowed to control.  And the amount is more or less the amount we would otherwise be spending on discretionary items for them anyway - books, lunches, outings with friends - which number will of course be different for each family depending on their financial situation.  They can choose to spend it, save it, donate it, totally in their own discretion, but we expect them to pay for more things themselves now, as teenagers, than we did when they were kindergarteners (and their allowance is accordingly higher).  I have one who lets money flow through his fingers like water, but I don't rescue him if he can't buy lunch at his favorite cafe this week due to having spent his entire allowance on computer games!  There's food at home.

    Both kids have "teen checking" bank accounts and their allowance is automatically transferred from my account to theirs monthly.  This is a lot easier for all concerned than weekly cash.  When they were younger their accounts were savings accounts, so they didn't have debit cards and I sometimes had to withdraw cash for them to spend, or buy things for them and then reimburse myself via account transfer, but otherwise it worked the same way.

    We give our kids $1/week per year of age for allowance, with 50% deposited to their debit card and 50% into a savings account, with the idea that they have to save half of what they get.  We did not tie the allowance to chores. That might be a good idea however, but there are several philosophies about that. One is that that kids are members of the household and everyone needs to contribute to the household work.  Otherwise how would you respond to a kid who decided he/she doesn't need money so can refuse to help out with the household work?  And that the purpose of giving children some money is to help them learn to manage money.  Our son is 16 and he gets $16/wk, with $8 transferred to each his debit account and saving account.  If he does extra household work, yard work, washing a car, power washing the steps, etc. we might pay him, but I prefer that he see it as a way of being helpful and generous with his contribution to the family, as we are to him with so many of things we do for him.  Some research has shown that if kids aren't paid for things (check out the books by Alfie Kohn), they can actually be more intrinsically motivated to help out. On the other hand, when I was growing up, I got allowance based the requirement to do certain chores (make my bed in the mornings and wash dinner dishes and was "docked" if I didn't do those things). 

    For our daughter, we did $1 per week for her age. When she was 15, she took over cleaning the house, and we paid her $125 a week for that. She graduated from college last year. She is diligent about saving, and started funding her Roth IRA. 

    I thought I would add my response because my approach to money was completely different and things worked out fine. I never gave an allowance. If they needed money to do something, they came to me and asked and I decided if I would fund the movie, clothes, or whatever. This was fine until they got to be 13 or 14. At that point we started fighting too much about money and how it was spent. I totally gave in. I signed them on to my credit card, and told them that they had $1,000/year to spend on clothes and entertainment. They used the credit card for going out to eat, buying gifts for friends, movies, clothes, etc. They were so thankful for the freedom that they kept very careful accounting of how much they spent. And, as a bonus, they developed a credit score and an understanding of budgeting. 

    I heard an author on the radio discuss his ideas about kids and money and it worked REALLY well with my daughter (now 19) and is still a work in progress with my son (14 and much more impulsive and desirous in general than his sister). This author suggested that: if you are the kind of parent who buys their child nicer clothes, brand names, etc, you should give them an amount in allowance that would enable them to make these purchases themselves. Thereby, they learn to budget. Beginning in 9th grade, I gave her a total amount for 6 months and told her to spend it for going out to eat, buying clothes, etc and I would pay for basics (underwear, shampoo, food). I couldn't believe that within a few months I heard her exclaim- "That t shirt is $50? I'll wait until it goes on sale!" Words that had never come out of her mouth before. I tried this on a month to month basis with my son in 7th grade but he was either too young and/or too impulsive. He was constantly trying to borrow from the next month. I'm trying a modified version with him as he enters 9th grade. Hoping it works!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Allowance for High School Students


Allowance for 15 year old

Nov 2009

I have a 15 year old son who is a sophmore at Berkeley High and I am interested in what kind of allowance other parents give their 15 year olds, especially boys. At present I am not giving him an allowance, just lunch money a once or twice each week,(he eats in the cafeteria on the other days), and a little bit of spending money on the weekends. But I feel that I should give him a set amount of money, so that he will learn to manage his own finances. I have another son who is in 6th grade, almost 12 yrs old, and he would like an allowance also, but we haven't come up with an amount yet. Do any parents require that their kids do a certain number of chores each week or day to earn their allowance? Any advice other parents want to share would be helpful. Berkeley mom

My two teenage girls (15 & 16) earn $25.00 each week by cleaning our entire house, save for my bedroom and bathroom. They are responsible for purchasing their own bus passes from this money, and if the chores are not done properly (within reason) they will get money deducted from their monthly total.

They are paid on the first of each month, and the money is transferred into their own bank accounts; my being co-signer on each one. They can then use their debit cards to access their money as they wish.

This system seems to be the only one that I have ever gotten to work, and the girls seem to enjoy it, and the fiscal education themselves. Andrew

You're right that having an allowance will help teach kids to manage their money. You have to be willing to let them make mistakes.

We gave our children weekly dollars equivalent to their age, although sometimes their allowance was allocated to other things-- one-third to savings, for instance. But then, we were willing to track it in a notebook. In high school, we decided to give one very responsible child a monthly allowance, equivalent to what we had been spending on her, from which she could buy her own clothes and presents for friends.

ABSOLUTELY require your kids to do chores! Apart from YOU needing them to learn to be good roommates, THEY need housekeeping skills. Anyone who goes away to college should know how to clean a bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen; use the dishwasher and scrub pots; take out garbage, change a bed, do laundry; and shop for and cook at least one inexpensive meal like spaghetti. Younger kids can put away clean dishes and sweep the steps/patio/garage, and feed and exercise pets, water plants? You can think of other things. Our kids did more chores before high school, when homework and activities became consuming.

It's probably better not to tie the allowance directly to the chores, although it makes for a tempting consequence to withhold allowance if chores aren't completed. Better to teach a moral obligation to contribute to the family as they are able, and for them to understand that they get an allowance as a member of the family, according to the family's resources. Hang In There

My son is 14, a freshman in high school. He gets $20.00 a week which sounds like a lot but he can use it to buy lunch at school if he chooses and to buy gifts for his two sisters and me - he is very generous. If he wants a big ticket item he has to buy it for himself, such as expensive video games or an IPOD. kr

Hello. I have a 15 yr old and she can earn money by doing certain chores at home. I also give her $20/wk for clothes. I buy her jackets, shoes, bras. Otherwise I do not give her money except for $8 once a week for lunch. I have all the materials for lunches at home and she can make her own the rest of the time. She is finally learning to budget her money and has managed to save quite a bit and is proud of herself for doing so. Good luck, it's a difficult issue to decide. MaggieV

My kids are in college now, but when they were in junior high and high school, I gave them a weekly allowance equal to their age in dollars; so my 15-year-old got $15 a week. I also told them there would be all the ''fixings'' for school lunch in the house, so they could make their own (or cajole me to make it) and use their money for other things, or spend it on food at school, their choice. They took a ''cut in pay'' of a dollar or two a week to help defray the cost of cell phone text msg plan, and/or car insurance. We did also give them money for occasional special outings, and paid for clothes, within reason. So they definitely had enough to get by, but were also motivated to get part time jobs for a little extra cash. With my daughter, we set up a joint checking account at the Mechanics Bank where I had a personal savings account, and set up the weekly electronic $$ transfer so I didn't have to remember to have the cash on hand for allowances. Even though my name was on the acct with hers, it's really her account, and she used her ATM card quite comfortably to get cash or make purchases. Same setup is continuing to work well in college, so I can easily reimburse her for textbooks, etc, right from my computer.

We have a 17-yr old and have never given him an allowance. When he started high school, we took him over to Wells Fargo, where he opened a bank account, got a debit card, and started on his road to financial freedom. During the school year, we transfer weekly lunch money into his bank account at $6 per school day. He chooses to spend however much of that he wishes. He banks his earnings from his summer job and any other odd jobs (baby-sitting, yard work, etc.) he may get during the year. (He also has a savings account at our credit union.) As for chores around the house, we've never paid him for those, we just expect him to help out with setting the table for dinner, mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage, etc., which he's been agreeable to doing. Extra expenses such as clothes for a special occasion, transportation (bus passes, BART tickets, etc.) we take care of, but he generally wants to handle his own personal expenses and has always been within budget, no problems. The arrangement has worked well for us and for him. Anon

The amount of allowance depends on several factors: age, what you expect the allowance to pay for and, of course, what your income is. Prior to high school my daughter's allowance was for discretionary spending only and was given to her weekly. When my daughter reached high school I wanted her to have the experience of planning for nondiscretionary spending (i.e., clothes, haircuts) so her allowance was increased accordingly. She receives allowance twice a month and has an ATM card so she can access funds herself. Part of her allowance is automatically put into savings. Allowance has never been tied to chores. My view is chores are a part of being a member of the family. Tying chores to allowance can set you up for hearing, ''I'm not going to do my chores, I'll just skip my allowance.'' RJ

Allowance for 15-year-old girl - $15/week - supposed to cover any lunches she wants to buy during the week, movies, etc. Her allowance money is supplemented by baby-sitting money. We make her lunch whenever she wants it, usually 2x/week. 6th grade girl gets $5/week and she spends almost none of it. Allowance isn't tied to chores, but the girls are expected to handle dinner dishes on their own one time per week and keep their rooms somewhat tidy, as well as help with other household or gardening chores when asked. another mom

I give my teen $100 per month. She has to budget in bus/BART fares to and from school when necessary and eating out but not daily lunches---she packs her own. Carolyn

Allowance for 14-year-old?

June 2000

I want to ask people how they deal with their teens and the issue of spending money. I have a 14 year old girl who is very responsible, has many babysitting jobs, and trys to buy Old Navy or clothes on sale. However, as she gets older her desire for things (mainly clothes) and new experiences (movies, lunch at restaurants, bus and bart trips, skating) increases. With a flurry of post school activities she is coming to me daily saying Can I have money for ..... I grew up in a rural area where we biked, hung out on the town common, and bought clothes from the local used clothing store. She has a different reality--this is a city, there is so much more emphasis on material things, everyone around her seems to spend more. I'm uncomfortable just handing her $10's and $20's for this and that. I want her to work and pay for some of these things. She really resists. What do others do? Do you pay for movies, meals, all or some clothes. Do people still give an allowance at this age? If so (is this okay to ask?) how much? How much do we give them so they are taken care of, but not spoiled. I would appreciate hearing how others handle this. Anonymous

I also have a 14yr old who will be entering HS, here is what I plan to do, and again this has to be tested, I will give her $30 a week to cover bus and lunch, however if she bags a lunch from home or sets up a carpool, it's money in her pocket for movies, ice skating etc...she also has pet-sitting jobs to supplement her income.

I don't like giving an allowance. I prefer to have more control over the money and provide it for a choosen outfit or activity. As for how much to give her, I would sit down with her and list all she wants and, separately, all she needs. Compare the two amounts. See what you can work out that both of you agree with.

You have my sympathy. I too got tired of my teen coming to me all the time for money. I started giving me $100/month allowance, which was to cover clothes (although occasionally I cheated and paid for a piece of clothing), all entertainment expenses, etc. The system worked very well. I kept my month shut about how the money was spent. When she complained about needing clothes, I told her she had money and time. If she wanted to buy CD's instead, so be it. Fortunately at Berkeley High, particular clothes worn don't seem to be a major issue. Naturally I paid for school expenses, although I decided that the yearbook was an allowance expense. Best wishes. and P.S. they do learn to budget.

I found the book Money Doesn't Grow on Trees to be helpful. In the book, the author suggests $1/year of age (or half that if financially it is more appropriate) This offers money for savings, tithing/donation, spending money. Beyond their work for pay jobs that comprise the allowance, they can earn extra money depending on what my needs are (for example, washing the car). For both of my sons it has worked for me to be clear, honest and consistent and they have stepped up to being very responsible. They have also commented on how they appreciate my placing the responsibility on them. MaryAnn

More advice about allowance for teens

June 2005

For my two teens at Berkeley High, I got out of the 'human ATM' role by opening a checking account for each of them. I fund the account at the beginning of the month with a set amount ($150), and it is their responsibility to budget and make it last. The accounts have ATM cards so they can get cash or pay for things via EFT. If they run out of money, they have to bring lunch, walk, skip movies, etc. I am a co-owner of the accounts so I can go online and see where they're spending their money, transfer funds, etc. This is also extremely handy for my daughter's clothes shopping trips, where she'd rather go with her friends than with me, but I worry about her carrying a lot of cash. She pays with the ATM, and I transfer funds to cover her purchases. Lisa

From: WR (7/99)

Some thoughts on allowance: Some parents give their kids a lot of money and that must be used for clothing, bus passes, lunch, movies, CD's, etc. My kids were never into stuff so allowance has always been more a pocket money issue. In season, they also worked as soccer referees which paid $10-15 per game. One did some babysitting as well. In my mind the purpose of allowance is to teach the value of money, bugeting, how to save for a big item, how to deal with financial mistakes and how to avoid weekly bankruptcy. So any allowance plan that keeps this sort of thing in mind is a good one. I never wanted to link chores to allowance- I think chores are a necessary part of family/community life and are non-negotiable. No one pays me to cook and they shouldn't be paid to empty the dishwasher, unload groceries or take out the trash. So allowance was a perk that increased with age. My 9th grader got $8 a week and will get $10 this year. If he needs more he can babysit or ref more. If he adds a girlfriend this year I suspect he might come and negotiate for a raise! My college age child actually doesn't get any money from us at this point beyond clothes and school expenses: books, room and board, tuition and plane tickets to and from school. He has an on campus job that pays well and covers his pizza and pinball habit and anything else he needs. Another thing to consider is what your child wants and why, beyond that's what my friends get. -WR

I think no allowance is best. I only give my kids money if I feel okay about what they want to buy. If they want to choose what to spend money on, they have to earn it themselves. And about all of us who do housework for free. Maybe we should all go next door to do it. Then we could get a salary, social security and benefits.
Sunsol (8/99)

Re: allowance. Our 13 year old son receives $35/month.(Our 11 year old $20/month). He must pay for all his independent social activities, yearbook, hanging out money, etc. About once a year he complains that other kids get more, but we say tough, other kids get less. We re-evaluate every year, based on growing independence and social requirements. Next year, when our son is in high school we will decide together how much extra he will need for bus money, lunches, school functions etc.

We do not attach any responsibilities to allowance because we decided that we wanted allowance to be about learning financial management. He began to receive allowance at age 4, with the requirement that 1/2 go into long term savings (at that age, for something that cost more than $10) and some go to charity. We no longer have these guidelines, because the habits have been learned.

This process has worked with both our children. They have savings accounts, they contribute to charities, and they seem to enjoy having money to spend on themselves. They have made the transition from a weekly allowance to a monthly allowance with no problem. We feel that they will make smooth transitions to checking accounts and charge cards by high school and will not be in credit card debt on their own in college.

We do not require that they buy clothing with their own money, but we set limits. If they want shoes, etc. that cost more than we feel is reasonable, they can pay the difference, choose something in our price range, or go without. When they ask us to buy them something we do not want to purchase, they know not to ask again if we say you can use your own money. Hope this helps.

My kids have always received as many dollars as their grade in school, so a 7th grader receives $7 per week. No chores attached. All funds are discretionary, so if she wants expensive sneakers, she can pay the difference. If she wants to buy lunch instead of taking it, that's her choice. Or buy candy, or save up for extra clothes. If I intended for her to buy lunch regularly, I'd add that to her allowance.

By the time my son was in high school, he drove me nuts asking for clothes, shoes, yearbooks, fancy pens, etc etc etc etc, so now I write him a check every month which he can put into a checking account and take care of his own needs and make the choices. This does include clothes, lunches, school supplies and haircuts. (Most of it is going to comic books and junk food, which is hard for me to accept, but at least he doesn't ask me for clothes. I figure this is how he'll learn.)


The 17-year-old presented an itemized proposal for a monthly allowance that includes lunch money, bus fare, and clothing including long-term purchases like shoes and jackets. We give him $130 on the first of every month to cover these expenses and he does a good job of managing his money. His allowance does not include money for movies, games, junk food, or other entertainment. He's expected to earn money for those doing heavier chores, and also gets money bonuses for A's and B's. The 15-year-old does not get allowance because repeated trials have shown that he spends whatever is in his pocket at once. So he gets money daily for lunch and transportation, and is given bigger chunks for (supervised) clothes shopping trips. He also is expected to earn money for entertainment. For both kids though, we pay for books, concerts, and music (including CDs we don't even like) because we think the arts are important.