It might not seem that long ago that you were getting pocket money from your parents, or perhaps your gran! All of a sudden, it’s time to start thinking about pocket money for your own kids, or starting an allowance for your teens or tweens. Introducing pocket money to your child can be a minefield – how much? When? How often? Here’s one Mama’s advice on where to start with some top pocket money tips and allowance apps to help you manage the bank of mum and dad.
My mum recently told me that my 7 year old should start appreciating the value of money by receiving a regular allowance. So, I plucked a random figure out of the air and decided that he should get it every Sunday (or when I remember…I’m already behind on my payments!). We’ve since spoken to a few friends and changed our tactics, only doling out the dosh if my son completes a few household chores each week. We want him to understand that hard work pays off so that he doesn’t just come to me with his hand outstretched like it’s his divine right!
The whole pocket money and allowance thing can be daunting.Give them too little and you’ll be the meanest mama on the block or hand out too much and you’re at risk of creating a spoilt.
“And while pocket money is almost a rite of passage for kids, giving it to them too early could mean they won’t understand the value of it or come to expect to be given money “just because”.”
I’ve heard stories of 4-year-olds being handed notes only to throw them around the house – not ideal!
What Age Is Best To Start Giving Pocket Money?
Amongst my friends, the general consensus is that between the ages of 6 to 8 is around the right age for kids to start getting some money of their own. There’s little to no point starting pocket money with children who don’t have a grasp on maths yet! However, there’s also the argument that it should start right after the tooth fairy’s first visit so that they can begin to save those magic coins. Or link an allowance or pocket money with something that the kids want (new toys etc.) so that they can start saving for themselves.
Investor and Financial Education Council in Hong Kong suggests that there is no fixed age to start giving pocket money. But signs to look out for that show they might be ready are:
- If they start asking you where money comes from
- They have a basic understanding of money, such as what it’s used for
- They have learned about and are familiar with coins and notes
- Or they need to spend money in their everyday life, perhaps at the shop on the way home from school.
MoneySupermarket also adds that pocket money or an allowance is good for children to:
- Understand the value of money (saving to purchase something of more value versus spending it as soon as you get it)
- That it has to be earned
- To teach budgeting (once the money is spent there is no more until next week)
How Much Pocket Money Should I Give In Hong Kong?
This depends on your individual family situation. The amount you choose is down to you – don’t be swayed by what others are giving their kids, no matter how many times your child tells you! To give you an idea, children aged 10 in the UK get around £5 a week (approximately $50), according to the RoosterMoney pocket money app. The weekly average chart or pocket money by ages will give you a starting point. Just keep in mind that Hong Kong is the most expensive city to live in the world according to the most recent ECA International cost of living report (June 2022).
How To Earn Pocket Money Or An Allowance
Most mamas I spoke with agreed that an allowance should come as part of an agreement that they’ll have to earn it. Emma, whose kids are now 12 and 14, says she started a little later when her eldest was 11 and her youngest 9, awarding them around $50 each week if they ticked off everything on their list and removing the privilege of a weekly allowance if they didn’t.
And her other tip? Not to actually hand over cash which can easily get misplaced but rather to use a pocket money or allowance app. A pocket money app will allow automatically add pocket money to their account, some referencing why they money has been awarded. (See below for some allowance app options.)
So how about those chores then? Other than Marie Kondo-ing their draws here are a few you could list for starters if you’re looking to get going with pocket money each week:
- Make their bed
- Turn off all lights (is anyone else’s house left lit like a Christmas tree after they’ve left for school?!)
- Put all laundry in the laundry basket
- Lay the table
- Clear the table
- Load/unload the dishwasher
- Help with any pets (walking dogs, feeding cats etc.)
- Prepare everything for school the next day – from uniform to book bags etc
- Help with extras like carrying groceries from the car or cooking etc.
Allowance And Pocket Money Apps For Children
As mentioned above, using a pocket money or allowance app can help to keep things under control and clear. Here are a few suggestions:
iAllowance – Age 4 up, with chores and rewards. Available on iOS.
Allowance Manager – Automatically add pocket money and reference which child is getting how much and why. Available on iOS.
Other Ways To Spend Pocket Money Or Learning Exercises
Don’t like the idea of linking chores to money? Ok, yes – our kids should be doing more around the house and not expecting to get paid for it! How about using weekly pocket money as a maths exercise where they need to add what they have or subtract what they’ve spent plus figure out how much they need and how long it’ll take them to get it before they can buy that toy/dress/Ferrari/donate to charity?
We can use money to instil values, to talk about charity and to help our kids pay for their own things even by starting with a few dollars each week. That said, I’m off to pay my debts to my 7-year-old!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally written by Kaya and published on Sassy Mama Dubai in November 2017, updated by Sassy Mama Hong Kong in October 2018, and most recently in July 2022 by Alex Purcell Garcia.