Nine Months More

Pocket Money


Last year we fell into some pretty bad habits. One that grated against my nerve and my sanity the most was that every time we would go out we found ourselves drowning in the voices of two boys, in chorus, constantly asking for something. ‘Mum can I have this? Can I have that? A new Lego minifigure? It’s only five dollars!’ The rinse and repeat cycle that would happen while at the toy shop, the book shop or even the supermarket was not the worst part. The worst part was that hubby and I let it happen.

It was a vicious cycle that we only allowed to get worse. So much so, we ended the year with two boys falling into a heap of anxiety, tantrums and tears if we left the house and didn’t come home with something. Habits like this can fester into serious problems later in life. Not to mention all the issues of expectation, perception, reality and the bitter dose of parent guilt that had seeped in. So a new year was seized upon as the perfect opportunity for a new start.

Pocket Money

‘No more toys boys. No more little things. No more anything.’ We drummed it into them, the rinse and repeat cycle had changed chorus and now we were doing all the talking. They seemed to understand. They seemed happy to accept that it was important to spend money wisely and to save our money more than we spent it. That is when the idea of pocket money was born.

Hubby and I decided that each boy would be assigned a set of chores to do each week and in exchange they would receive a small amount of pocket money for that week. Now as much as I would love for them to cook dinner and mop the floors, they are only seven and five, so the chores will be something they can manage and do on their own. We are thinking: make your bed in the morning, collect all the clothes for washing and place them in the laundry, empty the bins on Sunday and be responsible for their lunch box and water bottle from school. But we are still working on it and hope that from this list in years to come we can only grow their chores and responsibilities so that maybe as teenagers they can be in charge of dinner one night a week and iron their clothes.

Pocket Money

The flip side to the chores is the pocket money and the boys are very curious and excited about the idea of being given their very own money to spend as they wish. So far the only talk is of how many Lego minifgures they will be able to buy. But that is something we want to work on too. Hopefully as the year unfolds we can help them understand how important it is to save their money and perhaps buy something a little more than a Lego minifigure.

The world of pocket money and chores is unchartered territory for us. But even in its infancy it is already a welcome change to the whining and bickering of last year. Even better still, some of this change in behaviour is starting to rub off on me. I am being more mindful of my impulsive buys and my compulsion to have everything. The new space we are in feels much lighter and is slowly filling with the energy that was sapped from us, one purchase after another, last year.

Are pocket money and chores part of your family?
Do you fall victim to impulsive buys?

Disclosure: Pocket Money was written in collaboration with John Hughes, your local Hyundai dealer, trading with integrity and determined to give their customers the very best of service. All opinions expressed are my own.

  • We’ve got a new system in place this year. We have the jobs that need to be done but we don’t ‘pay for’ such as tidy their room, make their bed, put their things away around the house. These I believe are things they should do as part of knowing how to keep organised, tidy and respect their space and the space of the family. Other jobs such as feeding dogs, setting table, putting washing out, bins out etc are jobs we put down for pocket money. Each time they do a job I write it down and then at the end of the week I tally up It’s 50c per job. I find this works better when they receive $4 rather than the 50c each time. If feels more and worthwhile. At the moment anyway! And they have goals to work for, for example Miss 8 is saving for an ipad mini!

    • Thanks Jodi, hubby read the part about paying 50 cents for chores and thinks that might be a better way to go….we are still figuring it out over here, but even so this year has already proved to be better than last xx

  • bodyandfeetretreat

    K had pocket money and chores but they were never linked. She had chores to do before she got pocket money. As she got older, we did charge her if we did her chores because we got tired of nagging her to do them.
    Pocket money definitely works (I think) – we also opened a bank account for her and get her to save a certain amount each week – I think it may have only been $1 out of $5. Once a year we would match how much money she had saved so that she could see it growing nicely. To this day, she has a set amount that is transferred to her savings account on the day she gets paid and she has saved a good sum of money like this. This money is used for big ticket items – holidays, computer, good watch etc. She would often ask for something saying ‘It’s only $5″ and I would say “If it’s only $5, use your $5” – it was amazing how many times she decided that it wasn’t really worth $5 !!
    Good luck – I think you are doing a great thing teaching them responsibility for their money.

    • This sounds so reassuring – thank you! I have already had a moment in a store where the “it is only 5 dollars” whine happened and I threw it back on them and said well, you have some money why don’t you spend it out of that – needless to say they didn’t think it was worth 5 dollars of “their” money – hooray it is working was the little song and dance going on in my head!

  • Helen

    Josefa! Your story is us this year with our own 6 year old. I am just about pulling my hair out at the monster l have created & the expectations & always looking at the next shining thing rather than the beautiful items in front of him! So, first we are stopping spending. No new books, new dvds, random toys etc this year. We are jammed packed. This year is about rediscovering what we already have.

    Birthdays & Christmas are going to be a toned down affair, rather than the over the top events they have become.

    Also, we start every week with $10. Half to spend, half to save towards school banking. Each day there are some jobs that we expect to be done. Things that have been a struggle for him to complete – put dvds in cases, take a shower (dirty child!!!), tidy playroom & bedroom, bed being made & l really should add don’t complain about my dinners ;). Ifffff on one of those days l am screaming my head off for something to be done on that list $1 comes off the $10 total. The first week he received $7, the next $8, this week it was $10!

    • Oh Helen this is great news! It is working! I really like the idea of having a set amount and money is deducted from that – might help curb behaviour as well as spending, will add ti to our list of things to consider x

  • DreamingOfMalta

    I hate clutter so no impulsive buys for me. My kids have much more than enough so when I am out at the shops with them, I’m not afraid to say no to them. Especially if they have millions of what they are asking for at home.

    I wonder though how kids are going to learn the value of money when it becomes a cashless society though??

  • Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    Pocket money is a brilliant idea! Sounds like the boys are really intrigued about the whole thing and thank God they seem to understand that there will be no more impulsive buys. I know the rinse and repeat cycle well. We had this issue with the ride at the local supermarket. My eldest expected to go on it every single time we went. It’s $2 a pop and that adds up. I had to put my foot down and now it’s only a sometimes treat 🙂

    • Those rides are evil aren’t they? AJ seems to have grown out of them, but we have to drag PJ away from them still….maybe they can start to pay for them from their pocket money? Will put this on the list of things to think about x

  • LydiaCLee

    Pocket money is good, because it helps them learn the value of money. Our eldest, now a teen, has to pay to see movies or buy the birthday presents for his friends with his pocket money – even his tuck shop lunches! The younger ones it still just covers treats…

  • LydiaCLee

    Love the sponsor link by the way.

    • Always love your support ~ your comments here are always treasured and welcomed xx

  • What a great lesson for them to learn! My boys are 6 & 5 and this would work quite well with them too, might just give it a go xx

  • Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad

    I grew up not getting everything I wanted. In fact I only got surprises or toys for Xmas and birthdays. Everything else I had to save my pocket money for. I started off only getting 20cents a week and it worked up to $20 as a teenager. I always had to do chores and buy anything extra that I wanted out of my pocket money.
    I hope to bring my boys up the same way. It absolutely teaches them the value of money and starts the habit of saving and to set goals. I think you’re teaching them exactly the right lesson!

  • This is such a hard balancing act but thought it was great to shift the focus from spending money to earning money! However what is the going rate these days? Surely my $5 pocket money in the 80s/90s has had inflation added to it by now?

    • Gee we were thinking $5 a week – as a start – I have no idea what the “going rate” would be :/

  • Rebecca Thompson

    I have been offering money, stickers and toys for incentives for years (well, he is only 4 but you understand!). The problem is that our pocket money has been put in to the bank rather than being able to pay for a toy, however, on the flip side a toy has been incentive for reaching goals by gaining stickers.
    Ohhh, the path of parenthood is so fraught with questions. Which is the right path?
    I think we are doing similar things with the same goal in mind. I bet we both win 🙂

  • Elise

    It sounds like you are in a very healthy financial headspace! We have done the pocket money thing since Kindergarten, starting with $1 per week and increasing by $0.50 per year. We still aren’t quite cooking dinner (13 years old) but she peels potato’s, and does the basics after school for dinner like stirring the slowcooker and preparing the rice.

    • Peeling potato’s and basic dinner preparation is huge for me, if I can get my boys doing that by 13 and I’ll feel quite proud of them (and perhaps me!) xx

  • Nikki@WonderfullyWomen

    I used to get 20c per week for pocket money. You could take that single coin to the local shop and come back with a bag full of goodness. (Yes that was a looooong time ago.) Pocket money is the only way you can start to teach your children basic money skills. Spend half/save half, if they stick with that plan they will be fabulous little money managers when they get older. Stick with it, it is worth it. 🙂 xx N

  • Grace

    Pocket money is a great idea! I think it’s time for us to slowly introduce it to the twinions. They love putting money in the piggy bank so I guess it’s that’s a great start 🙂

  • I hate to think about the bags of junk I have thrown out over the years… $5 stuff that I caved an brought for them because of the nagging. i think many of us parents learn that lesson the hard way… we want to spoil them for the joy it brings but on the flipside we can see the monster it creates. Yep – it is pocket money and jobs here and you have to save up for what you want to buy. Big ticket items we offer them opportunities to make extra money with car washing etc and then we do help them out as well. When one of my boys managed to save up $100 towards a skateboard he wanted, We put in the extra $50… i couldnt help it 😉 xx

  • I always forget to administer the pocket money, but it does (theoretically) exist at our place. It’s hard to get the ‘right’ amount of money on offer – you want them to be able to save for something they really want, but I don’t like that to take too long. x

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