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Should allowances be tied to chores or responsibilities?

Should allowances be tied to chores or responsibilities is an age-old debate. There are three schools of thoughts.

Allowances Tied to Chores:

  • The Basic Job Contract: Some parents treat allowances like a job contract. You do your chores, you get paid. Simple, right?
  • Teaches Work Ethic: It’s a great way to instill the value of hard work and earning money. Kids learn that money doesn’t grow on trees; it comes from effort.
  • Motivation Factor: When there’s a financial reward involved, kids may be more motivated to complete their tasks. It’s like a little monetary pat on the back.

Allowances Tied to Responsibilities:

  • Part of Being a Family: Some parents argue that chores should be done simply because you’re part of the family, not because you get paid. After all, you don’t get paid for breathing, right?
  • Life Skills: Pitching in with responsibilities teaches kids valuable life skills like cooking, cleaning, and teamwork. It’s like giving them a head start on adulting.
  • No “Chore Negotiation” Drama: When allowances aren’t tied to chores, there’s less room for haggling or complaining. It’s all about pitching in and sharing the load.

The Middle Ground:

  • Hybrid Approach: You can always strike a balance. Give a base allowance for being part of the family and contributing, but offer extra cash for additional chores.
  • Financial Education: Use allowances as a way to teach financial responsibility. Encourage kids to save a portion, share a portion (for charity, for example), and spend a portion.

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on your family’s values and what you’re comfortable with. So, don’t be afraid to mix and match or adapt your approach as your kids grow and their needs change.

For more in-depth advice on allowances and parenting, check out How To Give Your Child an Allowance. And for a broader perspective on the topic, explore our other Allowance advice.

Remember, every family is unique, and the best allowance system is the one that works for you and your kids. Happy parenting!

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Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

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