Family Life


3 min Read

A is for Allowance

My husband and I have two beautiful daughters, ages 13 and 16. As I write about allowance, you might (correctly) be thinking “they’re probably broke.”

It’s true, we do spend a lot of our income on keeping the girls in dance shoes, hockey equipment, piano lessons and summer camp. We seem to have fallen into the trap that many of our generation have: it’s called living beyond our means.

I guess I’m guilty of wanting to provide our children with the educational extras that I had. Only trouble is, things seem to be more expensive than they were when I was a kid, even accounting for inflation. So when parenting experts go on about this entitled generation of young people, I feel a little like the pot calling the kettle black. The truth is, the entitled generation started with mine. I’m the one who feels entitled to raise my kids the way I was raised, forgetting that the economy is different and we’re living in one of the most expensive cities in Canada.

Which brings me to the subject of allowance. Yes, we give our children an allowance. We started when they were quite little, giving them twice their age per month. So when my eldest was five, she got $10 a month. She wasn’t expected to do anything to earn it. The idea was to give her some money to put into her bank account and save, or to make that money last all month if she wanted to buy some candy at the corner store. It would help them learn to spend their money wisely, we reasoned. Call it money management 101.

Over the years, we would hear about how their friends acquired spending money. Some didn’t get an allowance, but were given money whenever they asked for it. Others were given far more each month. Our simple answer to that is, so what? You get what we decide, based on what we determine is fair and based on what we can afford.

Now as teenagers, they babysit and have part-time jobs because they actually do have serious things to save for: school trips, electronics, university. We’ve pretty much stuck with our monthly plan, but give them extra money for back-to-school clothing and transit.

For us, putting them in charge of their money has ultimately made them more accountable.

They’ve also learned that $30 can buy way more candy if you spend it at Bulk Barn.

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