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How Giving My Kids A $100 Allowance Taught Them To Manage Their Money

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How much should I give my 15-year-old as an allowance?

When our 4 sons reached eighth grade, we began giving each of them $100.00 per month as an allowance. With that vast sum of money came a few realities. First, we no longer paid for school lunches. We provided plenty of things at home that they could pack for lunch, but if they wanted school lunch it would need to come from their allowance. Next, we no longer paid for entertainment.

If they wanted to go to a movie with a friend or out to ice cream or whatever, that was their responsibility from their allowance. We no longer paid for gifts for birthday parties they were invited to. Lastly, we set a shoe budget. If they decided they must have some shoe that was above the budget, which was generous but not Jordans generous, then they needed to be able to pay the difference.

We took the time to sit down with each of them to talk about budgeting and prioritizing their expenses. Some of them did better than others but they all learned to do a pretty good job at budgeting — or they spent a lot of time at home with the family. We feel like we won in either circumstance.

We took our children to our bank and helped them open up a savings and checking account (student accounts were free at the time). They each had a debit card and as soon as they had the ability they each got a credit card. We taught them to use their cards regularly but also stressed that the balance must be paid in full at every statement. This way they would build credit without paying interest. From what I know they are all still pretty conservative with their money.

father and toddler crawling in playground
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