The debate goes on. Should you pay your children for doing chores or are chores part of their contribution to the family? Where do you stand on the issue? What are your thoughts? Let’s find out how you rank compared to other parents.

If you think your children should receive an allowance, you’re in the majority. And most parents believe that an allowance shouldn’t be a gift but should be related to work done. However, about ¼ believe a allowance should be gifted. Perhaps a combination of both would work for your family.

Now the next question is, if you give your kids an allowance, do you have them save any of it? If you answered “no” to that question, you are in the majority. In fact, only 3% do.

At Hope for Single Moms, we think the most important part of giving your children an allowance is to teach them the value of money by linking money to the work they do. It also teaches them about having financial goals and delayed gratification, as they work to purchase something they value. Hopefully, as they get older, they will better appreciate the things you provide.

Before you can do any of that, start teaching your children the difference between needs and wants. This is a hard concept for them to understand. They think they “need” a toy. How do you help them see they don’t?

Help them learn about this with practical everyday life. If it is cold out, they need a coat. Why is a coat a need? Because without one, they will get sick in the winter. In the summer, they need sunblock. Without sunblock, their skin is damaged and burns. However, if the don’t have a toy, it doesn’t harm them. You can come up with other practical things.

The second most important part of giving your children an allowance (at least in our opinion) is to teach them about saving, which is not linked to a future purchase at this time. Learning this lesson, and continuing throughout life, is teaching your children invaluable skills and just may keep them out of debt as adults!

Apps are a great way to start teaching about money. The FamZoo app uses prepaid cards and let’s you and your children set up subcategories for the different areas you want to put the money in—such as, spending, savings, investing and giving. You can also teach older children about interest and compound interest. The negative is that this app is not free.

The app, Rooster Money, has a free version. It is especially good with young children because you can use stars as rewards. As your child grows, the app grows with him/her, so you can teach more financial concepts and skills. There are other apps for children. These two are just a start for you.

After setting up your child’s savings and budgeting app, make sure you follow up with them. You can set the timeframe. Perhaps start out weekly and then you won’t need to meet as often once they get going. It should be only 5-10 minutes, not a major deal.

Just like you tweak your budget, you may need to tweak theirs. Questions are sure to come up making it a great teaching opportunity. Also, you want this to be fun and something they continue the rest of their lives, so be sure to praise them for any progress made. You may want to set up an extra reward or treat down the road as they achieve a savings goal. Whatever you do, don’t get frustrated with them. How will you spell fun with them when it comes to budgeting and saving?

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