More on Allowances and Responsibilities

Responsibility Chart
Earlier this year, I asked if you gave your kids an allowance. Your insight has been extremely helpful for us, as we considered how to equip our own children to be good stewards of their finances.

As a follow up, here's what we've decided to do for our family. Maybe it will help those of you who are in the process of deciding (along with all the great feedback I got on the original post):
  • They each get a monthly allowance of half their age (therefore, Hannah, age 10, gets $5 per month). This amount seems less than what most readers do for their children. Shhhhhh. Don't tell our kids.
  • They have a set of daily and weekly responsibilities; these things are what they can do to contribute to our family. (We have the right to add additional tasks, of course.) These contributions include:
    • Putting away dishes (all 3 kids)
    • Hand-washing dishes after breakfast (older 2 kids)
    • Vacuuming
    • Taking out trash
  • They can earn extra money by volunteering (or being assigned) to do additional work.
  • They can lose money if they are not doing good work (not getting dishes clean, dawdling in their tasks, etc). We are focusing on repeated offenses, not one-time mistakes.

We'll continue to modify this list with time. We advised years ago to keep giving them some challenging work to do; don't let it all be what comes easy. We want them to develop a strong work ethic and a solid sense of personal responsibility.

Now that they have their own spending money, it's interesting to watch what they do with it. They are to take the first portions for giving and saving, but the rest can be spent (or saved for later spending).

Within days of her first allowance, Hannah spent $2 on a candy apple. She insists she's going to save to buy American Girl paraphernalia at the end of the year. We'll see how that goes.

Elijah's a keen saver, as is Sender. I think Sender finally used some of his spending money to buy some potato chips at a baseball game last week.

Related Links:


  1. Are you dictating to the kids a certain amount to give/save off the top? We've struggled with this, not wanting to teach a legalistic percentage, but then also wanting to teach the discipline of giving early.

  2. Thanks for this, Joey. It is really helpful for us to see how this plays out in your family...helps give us ideas for our own. We would love your thoughts on Sara's post above, too. -Heather Nelson

  3. I am reminded of what Matt mentioned this past Sunday in his sermon about having been "forced" to give out of his earnings from a young age. I honestly see nothing wrong with establishing their giving as a set percentage, as long as there is the heart training that goes along with it to help the child view it as an expression of gratitude & worship, rather than a legalistic hoop to jump through. There may be times they feel a special burden for a particular need and want to give more.

  4. Thanks, Terri, for that insight. I was just about to weigh in.

    I appreciate that question, Sara, mostly because it makes me realize that I haven't done a good job with the "Why?" part on my end. I have required them to give at least $1 and save at least $1 out of each of their "paychecks." What I need to do better is to consistently explain / remind them whey they do that.

    As Terri said, the giving is a worship/gratitude issue (and it doesn't make sense for Elijah to have $23 in his wallet, and yet still be hesistant about giving $1 each month), saving is a responsibility issue (again, he should have no problem setting aside some temporary or perceived wants, so that he can be thinking about the future).

  5. Thank you for sharing - some additional ideas and thoughts are here: