Allowance Jars – Give, Save, Spend

Allowance Time

Once the kids had Chore Charts that finally worked for us and they were getting old enough to make use of spending money, we wanted to start incorporating a weekly allowance. Just like chore charts, not every allowance system works for every family. However, here is what we have found works for us after a year of use.

How the Kids Earn Allowance

There is a lot of controversy about just giving kids money each week. There’s even more controversy about paying kids to do household chores they should be doing anyway as part of the family. I agree…to an extent. We do make our kids earn allowance. Our thought is that in the real world, people are not generally going to hand you money for doing nothing. However, we also feel that chore completion shouldn’t be the only factor in receiving an allowance. We consider chores, attitudes, helpfulness, how they’ve treated each other all week, school work, sportsmanship, etc.

Allowance Amount

My kids don’t get much! But at this age, they don’t need it and are thrilled by their own money even if it’s very little. Plus, we are not making them pay for most things. So for now, they have the chance to earn a $3 allowance each week. They also have the ability to earn more money if they want to by doing extra jobs, etc. And sometimes we reward them with a $1 here or there for good behavior, etc.

How We Allocate the $3

We chose to do Allowance Jars and had the kids decorate papers to put into mason jars (which you can easily find in the canning aisle of any grocery store). It’s also funny to read people’s opinions on Allowance Jars. Again, might not work for you, but works for us. We make the kids split the $3 into the three separate jars – Give, Spend, Save. And here is how we define those.

  • Give – The kids get to choose any charity or multiple charities they want to give to. Henry chose American Heart Association, Warm Welcomes and Girls on the Run. He is definitely influenced by his parents! Charlotte? Charlotte wants to save all the giraffes in the world. She currently has an adopted giraffe as a gift, but I assume she’ll renew that adoption with her Give money when the time comes. She also recently gave a few dollars to AHA. And Stella? Stella gave money to her piano teacher who was raising funds for an adoption last year. She’s still thinking about what her Give Jar will go to next.
  • Spend – This jar is for any spending money the kids need now when we are out and about. In the summer, this usually goes to the pool concession stand! That’s one of our pool rules…we provide them no money for the concession stand and they can only buy from it on the weekends. So the Spend Jar is perfect for that. They also use this for game rooms at restaurants and the Target $1 bins.
  • Save – The Save Jar is for future spending. Recently it’s been for an item they are saving up for. Stella used that jar to save up money for her new bike. Henry wants some expensive Legos.

Does It Really Work?

For us, yes. It’s giving the kids a chance to earn some cash, but also to see how to divide it up and use it for different things. Will this same system work in the future? Probably not. First, I assume we’ll have to increase that allowance a bit as they get older. And once they start doing real jobs, the shift in percentages will probably change. I don’t expect them to give away 33% of earnings, but for now, it’s making Giving a big focus that I do hope continues in their lives.I also hope it’s instilling the value of the difference between spending every dollar you get immediately versus actually saving over time and seeing dollars add up.

How much allowance do your kids get and how old are they?

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