Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pocket Money

 Someone asked about pocket money on good ol' Facebook and my answer was so long and detailed I thought I'd share it with you here, too. Over the last few years I keep hearing friends asking 'what to do, what to do?' about it and even I was asking for a while... this is what we've developed and I LOVE it.

(direct copy/paste of my FB answer):

Yes for pocket money – better they learn spending mistakes with small amounts of money

What for – we have 3 categories they get a designated amount for. Spend. Save. Give.

Over the last 20months, the older 2 (now 8.5 and almost 10) have been given $2.50 each week. $1 for spend, $1 for save and 50c for give. Timothy has had 50c = 20c 20c & 10c... only because others were getting pocket money. Before this there was no pocket money happening in any decent way because I couldn’t find/figure out a system that matched with our values of hard work, family participation, long-term wise money management.

Spend is what they can spend when they want to, pretty much on what they want to. If they want a larger amount of spending money, they can save up their spend category. We give them the heads up of big event they may want to save their spending for. Sometimes on a big spending occasion... like a family holiday, we might give an extra $5 or $10 ‘just because’ we can. They also love to use their ‘Spending money’ for buying gifts for people.

Save – gets banked every time it adds up to $10. They have their own accounts and this money is for long term savings. Car, house etc. We’ve passed on our ‘cash only for getting a car’ value, and they’re excited to be saving towards these things. It is not able to be withdrawn for other purposes and this is not negotiable. Sometimes they choose to put birthday money in the bank too. Same rules apply.

Give – they can give to offering etc as desired. During children’s talk in church there is an offering box and the money put in here supports 1-2 sponsored children.  Sometimes they like to give extra from their spending money to this or to other giving opportunities... fellowship offering at church (a once a month offering  to be used for people who come to the church for financial help), red shield appeal and so on.

They do not earn this money (spend/save/give). Most importantly, I don’t want them to ever think they’re doing anyone a favour by doing the household jobs they are expected to do because they are a part of this family. This list is LONG. Washing washed, hung, folded, away, vacuuming, bed stripping, new linen on, cat feeding, collecting the mail, kitchen bin & recycling daily, big bins to and from street weekly, vegetable preparation for meals, setting table, clearing table, dishes away, groceries in from the car – and more! These are just a part of normal life. I refuse to be a part of them ever thinking that doing these things is anything more than real life. Secondly... Pete and I do all these types of things and don’t get paid!!

If they want extra money or we want extra jobs done... they get paid for extra jobs. Jobs that fit in this category are jobs that it might be reasonable or normal for others to pay for anyway... Gardening jobs like edges, raking etc and eventually lawn mowing will be added in here, car washing, window washing and so on. A figure will be named for the job i.e. $3 to trim the edge of the nature strip, reduced to $2 if I have to point out bits not done. Sometimes a bonus... Nj was offered $2 for cleaning out the chook shed this week. He did such a great job in work and attitude (was meant to shovel out everything on the floor... did that PLUS cleaned out the nesting boxes then set up new nesting boxes AND shovelled up the pathway to the chook house that was covered with an inch of revolting chook sludge) that we upped it to $4 to bless him for his blessing! It’s times like that, that I can see the way we handle jobs around here IS training good hard workers! (Nj’s biggest weakness has been that he’s easily distracted from any job and he has severely lacked in diligence and excellence in what he does) Extra jobs might come up once a month, on average, at the moment.

We are about to increase pocket money to $5 per week for M & Nj and put Timothy on $2.50
Increasing because they ‘get’ the system and it works for all, and I want to increase the things they are responsible for buying.

And there you have it – the “House of Bogwitz Ethos & Practice of Pocket Money”. Can you tell we’ve had a few years to think it over???? (over think it even??) (minus all the ‘oops, I forgot to mention’ bits, that I’ll think of later)


  1. I like the idea of the children doing help in the house for free - just because they are part of the family. And that the pocket money is a separate issue. I also like how you divvy the money up. Might have to discuss / introduce something along those lines here too. :o)

  2. I don't have kids old enough for pocket money yet, so this is all in theory, but since pocket money was a big part of my growing up, and my husband never recieved pocket money, it has been discussed between us already with the two completely differing approaches to it.

    The way we envision it working is that there is no 'pocket money' per-se, no weekly amount just given. There's also no pay for standard household chores and things, dishes, laundry, cleaning, bedrooms, all of that is part of living in a family. But my husband and I will intentionally create opportunities for 'paid jobs' on a regular basis, things like cleaning the car, yardwork, assisting with clothing size changeovers, seasonal cleaning like linen cupboard reorganizing, deep cleaning assistance, etc. Also regular extra chores, such as an older child taking responsibility for preparing/serving breakfast or lunch regularly, or being responsible for clearing out the car boot weekly etc. These jobs will be paid fairly large rates to make up for the fact there is no regular pocket money coming in, so for all intents and purposes this is the childrens only 'income'. But of course the kids have to budget, because one week we might have a lot of bonus jobs, and the next week there may be none, so learning to save for the lean times will happen naturally. In the same token, there's lots of extra jobs to do around holidays like christmas, leading to plenty of opportunities to earn money to spend on gifts for siblings etc.

    Because they would be earning reasonable amounts (eg washing and vaccuming a car might be worth $10, my sister in law used to be paid $20 a week to organise, shop for, and cook dinner 3 nights a week, Mowing a small yard might be $10) this money would actually need to be used for substantial things, we would not make a habit of buying ice creams or books or toys other than gifts, and even clothes would probably be partially paid for in this budget, so the money I would usually spend on those things anyway would simply be redirected to go through the childrens hands first, know what I mean? Kids would quickly learn about value for money and caring for their posessions when they're working for most of them. All sibling gifts come from this budget, as do 'extras' (for example, we might buy movie tickets for everyone, but if they want popcorn and a drink they'll have to pay for it, or we might go to a museum, but if they want any of the paid extras they'll have to have money on hand). Hopefully teaching them to have money on hand for unexpected expenses.

    Of course this is all theory, but it's how I imagine things happening for our family.

  3. We have a very similar system except mine only gets $2 per week, shhhhh:)