Pocket money, out of date or great?

Is pocket money a thing of the past? I read an interesting article this morning about how giving your kids pocket money is in decline. This is the link if you want to take a look (The Telegraph). Forever the non conformists we are doing the complete opposite and have just started giving Sofia pocket money.

I loved getting pocket money when I was a kid. I remember when I was about 8 my sister and I really wanted to have a pet. My mum told us if we could save up enough for a cage then she would buy us a hamster (classic parent stalling!). Maybe she thought we’d forget about it by the time we had enough money but we were on a mission. We saved like crazy and got that little rodent (who then ate my school skirt but that’s another story). I also remember using saved up pocket money to buy sweets from the school tuck shop, pretty beads, Kendal Mint Cake and stickers.

Pocket money

Sofia loves to have her own cash. Up to now her main source of income has been the tooth fairy, plus some occasional gifts from her Gran and God Mother. She is also very eagle eyed at spotting dropped coins (which is quite handy in our house as it means she swoops on any loose change lying around as a potential chocking hazard for her younger brothers). Sofia loves counting her coin stash. In her mind as she has a lot of coins (including tonnes of coppers) she thinks she is rich. She loves taking out her own money to spend (cue carting around a tonne of coppers in my handbag which are then painstakingly counted out at the till!). It melts my heart if I’m ever talking about whether we can afford something she always offers to contribute some of her money. When she was quite a bit younger she said “maybe I could get you a car as a present mummy”.

According to the research quoted parents are now more like to buy things on demand for their children rather than give them a weekly allowance, especially younger children. The findings show that this is partly motivated by parents wanting to control what kids buy – wanting to stop them buying loads of plastic rubbish and sweets.

I completely understand how tempting it is to buy your kids treats on demand. I like to give Sofia little treats if she has been really helpful or as a reward for doing well at school but it does create a bit of an expectation. Economics is all about supply and demand and my experience is if you keep on supplying your kids will keep on demanding!

Something that has worked well in the past is giving Sofia a budget. If we are in a gift shop or out shopping in town I’ll give her a small amount as her budget to spend (around £3 depending on where we are and how much stuff costs). This switches her from nagging me to buy everything under the sun to checking all of the prices and trying to decide what is the coolest thing she can get for her money. I’ve been quite impressed with the smart choices she has made and how long she has taken carefully weighing up her options (even it takes an age for Sofia to make a decision).

I also recently read a post recently by a fellow blogger Laura from Laura’s Lovely Blog about pocket money and her 4 year old (Do we need to say no to our children more?). This got me thinking and inspired us to give Sofia weekly pocket money. This would satisfy Sofia’s love of having her own money and give her the chance to save up her own little budget for treats, plus it might make her understand and appreciate the value of things a bit more.

I know lots of people link pocket money to chores but we have decided not to do this. I don’t want Sofia to be only motivated by what she is going to get out of being helpful or well behaved. I think she needs to pitch in with things at home because that’s what it is to work together as a team not because it’s going to get money in return. The only stipulation we have for Sofia is that we can withhold a weeks pocket money if her bedroom is a mess.

Sofia was delighted when I told her the plan. Saturday has been designated pocket money day and she was really excited in the run up to her first pay day. We are starting really small 50p per week to start off with and after a bit of a trial we are planning to increase it to £1 per week. I know that this isn’t very much but I want it to make Sofia really thinks about what she wants and save towards it (rather than having enough to buy a little thing each week). Sofia found a note book to write down what she wants to get and I’ve helped her cost up her options. Her wish list includes a Barbie, an Animal Jam membership card, Shopkins and Moshi Monster toys. I like the idea that she is giving a lot of thought to what she wants the most and his many weeks if is going to take to have enough money.

I’ll do a follow up post in a few weeks time to see how our pocket money plan is going. I have high hopes that it will help us raise a financially savvy daughter! Maybe one day she will buy mummy that car after all.

31 thoughts on “Pocket money, out of date or great?

  1. My little girl doesn’t get pocket money at the moment as shes only three but any money she finds goes into her money box and any birthday/xmas money goes in her bank. I want to give her pocket money when shes older as I used to love getting it myself and it taught me a little bit of how to deal with money.

  2. Mini M is too young for pocket money. I didn’t get any when I was younger, my parents would buy is things we liked if we had had a good month instead. I think I will give pocket money to Mini M though as when I left home and first went to uni I was shocking with money xx
    Mummymelton recently posted…6 Things I love about RunningMy Profile

    1. I’m really hoping it will teach Sofia to be a bit of a saver (I guess that is worth letting her buy plastic rubbish and sweets).

  3. Oh I think pocket money is great and it’s something I do! In fact Sylvia often earns enough to buy one shopkins and it just makes her so happy! She also does blogging stuff to help me too which she enjoys and I lay her pennies! A great thought provoking piece!

  4. Aria isn’t even one yet so we haven’t really thought much about pocket money.
    I like the idea of giving set amounts of money for completing certain chores, but you make a good point in that they shouldn’t be motivated by money, they should want to help anyway!
    You’ve really got me thinking now!

    Leanne Cornelius recently posted…Review : Dyson V6 Animal CordlessMy Profile

  5. When my eldest was younger she use to save up coppers and get pocket money each week too, it mostly went on magazines and colouring books. Now she is older she no longer gets pocket money but she saves up left over change from her school bus fare and lunch ( she is 13) and keeps it so she has a bit extra when she goes to the local shops with her friends. xx
    Lindsay At Newcastle Family Life recently posted…Falling Back In Love With BloggingMy Profile

  6. My two don’t get pocket money. They will get something every now and then if they are good and if they see something in the shops and they haven’t been good, I tell them they can have it when they behave. Although I do think pocket money is a fab idea too, it’s just something we have never done.

    Gemma xx
    Gemma @ A Gem’s Life recently posted…Monthly Review: JanuaryMy Profile

    1. I’m going to see how it goes – it will be a bit tricky not to buy Sofia little treats when she has spent all her money.

  7. My daughter Susie is 6 and I’m going to start giving her pocket money soon. I think it’s important to help kids learn the value of money and how to save instead of just receiving things when you want them. In today’s credit culture that is important. This is a great, thought provoking post – thank you! xx

  8. My mum has been putting away pocket money for both my children since the week they were born. I don’t give them any I treat them to lots instead, however any money they are given goes into the money box then into the bank.
    I think it’s important for them to learn about money.
    Such a great post.

  9. Pocket money is a great idea and mine get there’s from their great grandparents. I tend to buy them things when they ask and we have the budget for them but I think introducing money skills is very important.
    Kizzy recently posted…Minimalism within reasonMy Profile

  10. My daughter doesnt get pocket money but she is 10 years old and I have wanted to start this buy wasn’t sure how to start. Bless her she doesn’t ask for much at all. I do think pocket money is a fab idea something I am going to think about. x
    stacey recently posted…TODDLER FASHIONMy Profile

  11. I love the idea of pocket money, and intend to do it with the boys once there is understanding there. I think I will go with what you say and do it without the chores, however I would like to give them the opportunity to earn more if they do things outside of the chores we give them, so for example they get £1 a week to save. But then if they do more than put their toys away each night/keep their bedrooms tidy etc then they can earn a little per extra thing they do. For me it is about teaching them to be good with their money but also realise they have to work hard to see a rise in their income. That’s the plan anyway. It could all change with time and learning motherhood 🙂 I can’t wait to see how you get on 🙂 xx
    Clare recently posted…How we potty trained our autistic sonMy Profile

  12. I love your approach to pocket money, it sounds like a great way to educate your daughter about how to manage money and how to patiently work towards things she really wants. My sister and I always got pocket money as kids and our approaches to it were very different, I’d always spend mine on a whim, but she’d always take ages to decide and make sure she was going to get change back!
    Robyn recently posted…LOVELY THINGS ABOUT BABIES (OR, THINGS I MISS)My Profile

    1. That’s interesting that you were a spender and your sister was a saver! I’m hoping Sofia will be a saver but its a bit too early to say yet.

  13. Thank you for mentioning my blog post 🙂 Logan loves getting his pocket money on a Saturday morning and is just £1 away from his new scooter bell. I’m really proud of him that he has saved for it. I am worried that it might be transferred to tat too, but I am hoping to teach him about longer savings plans! I hope it works well for Sofia 🙂
    Laura’s Lovely Blog recently posted…Lovely Things #11 – February 2016My Profile

    1. Thank you for giving me the idea – I hadn’t really thought about it until I read your post. Sofia is loving it so far (we are only on week 2) I’m really intrigued to see what she’ll buy first.

  14. Both of mine get weekly pocket money. Miss C now has to earn hers through general helpfulness and good behaviour. Miss M gets a smaller amount of money if she has been a good most of the week. Miss C loves to earn her money. She saves it up for magazines and LegoFriends. If she doesn’t have enough then i’ll chip in and cover the extra 🙂
    Rachel (Lifeathomewithmrsb) recently posted…I have an OCDMy Profile

  15. Thank you Rachel – I think we’ll increase the amount gradually over time as Sofia gets older. I’m sure some of her pocket money will go towards Lego Friends.

  16. Rowan is still a little young for pocket money but we do plan on giving it to him when he’s a little older. We’ve also decided he’ll be able to earn some extra by doing a few little jobs around the house.

    I loved getting pocket money when I was younger.

    Laura x
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