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The Best Pocket Money for Kids System – EVER!

OK – so I know that is a BIG call! The best pocket money for kids system ever… but I swear, this works and it is SO easy. I tried multiple systems for pocket money for my kids – seriously – far too many all with varying degrees of success. Here’s a few that had ‘varied’ success:

1. The ‘Rewards Chart’

Pocket Money for kids

Rewards charts are awesome! I love them, and I have used them from potty training to getting ready for school to pocket money. But, what I have found with any kind of reward chart is that they need intensive parental monitoring. Ticking off lists, crossing off tally charts and compiling ‘age appropriate’ rewards that ‘work’ for the kid in question.

Whilst my 2 year old would ‘poo on the potty’ for a sticker, a sticker reward just wont cut it with my 8 year old’s chore list! It’s a constant battle remembering what they have ‘achieved’ and remembering to reward them on time and appropriately.

2. Saturday morning jobs

When my kids were as young as three years old, we implemented ‘Saturday morning chores’ for pocket money for kids. The concept was simple, do your allocated chores on Saturday morning and at the end you get your pocket money. Everyone in the household was doing Saturday morning chores so it was pretty easy to keep them all focussed and helping do their jobs….. until one started swimming lessons on Saturday morning. He had to do his chores after swimming, or on Sunday…. it was then that the wheels fell off!

3. Random/ad hoc doling out of pocket money for kids

Last year we fell into the random/ad hoc dolling out of money when the kids needed things. A book here, a treat there, entry to this or that. But this was never going to work with multiple kids, multiple ‘wants’ and limited finances. Nor were we teaching them any kind of money lessons that are so important as they grow.

How old should kids be to earn pocket money?

There really are no hard and fast rules – it really depends on the family circumstances and what you want to teach your kids and when.

How much pocket money should kids get?

Again, no hard and fast rules. Some parents like to link this to their child’s age – say 50 cents or $1 for every year of their age. Some pay per chore completed. Some parents check around their child’s peer group to see what the going rate is!

Best Pocket Money System for Kids

Ok – so what exactly is this best pocket money system and how does it work?

This is it – and it costs $4.99 at IKEA.

Pocket money system for kids

And here is how it works:

Step 1:

You start setting it up by negotiating the chores or jobs that you would like each child to do. Some will be available to any kid, some are kid specific.

On ours we have:

empty the dishwasher to earn pocket money for kidsempty the dishwasher – 20 cents

Make your school lunch to earn pocket money kidsmake your school lunch -20 cents

tidy your bedroom for kids pocket moneyclean your room – 20 cents

set the table for pocket moneyset the table – 20 cents

help prepare dinner for pocket moneyhelp prepare dinner – 50 cents

put your laundry away properly for pocket moneyput your washing away properly – $1

Step 2:

Find and print out an image of each chore (or feel free to use the ones above) and ‘insert’ that in the little zip lock bag with the money that is paid for that job. Hang it up somewhere where you can all see it easily. This serves as a reminder that the kids have jobs and helps you keep an eye on the ‘coming and going’ when it is used.

Step 3:

When the child does their chore/job they go to the hanger and take off the plastic zip lock bag and take their money out and return the empty bag to you. I have a place where I store all the bags with their picture ‘inserts’.

Step 4:

When all the bags are emptied from the hanger you will have them in your possession. You can then ask the kids to bring their coins to you and you can swap them for ‘paper money’. This gives you the coins to replenish the bags and hang them back up again and they get ‘paper money’ which is awesome for most kids! We usually do this once a week.

Here’s why it is SO awesome!

In our house we have NO negotiating regarding these chores. The kids either do them or they don’t do them. At this point in time, I am genuinely not bothered either way. IF they decide to do their chore, they take their coin and put it in their money box or wallet.

If they don’t do their chores, a sibling does them or I do them and they miss out on the pocket money. I seem to have a ‘helper’ to help me make the dinner almost every night! The table is always set. There is no nagging, no fighting, nothing for the parents to ‘keep track of’. There is no ‘I did that and you didn’t give me my pocket money!’

In our house, if you do the chore and you forget to take your pay, that’s your problem! It works SO well for these kids. We are currently five months in and it is still going strong. We never fight about chores OR pocket money!

School holiday edit – screen time rewards:

Master 8 negotiated an addition to the ‘pocket money for kids system’ – in addition to his monetary rewards he also wanted ‘screen time’ rewards. We negotiated that he needed to ‘earn’ his screen time. I created and printed reward tokens and popped them in each plastic bag allocated to him.

When he does these chores he gets the money and the screen time (10 minute increments). He saves these up for his allocated screen time (he is allowed to be on screens in the school holidays in the morning after breakfast until we are ready to go out and in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and he only gets as much screen time as he has in tokens. He hands over his tokens and he gets that amount of time. Once it runs out, it runs out and he has to do more chores to get more time. Winning!

pocket money for kids system

If you decide to give this pocket money for kids system a go, let us know your thoughts in comments below. We think it is a winner!

When your kids have mastered the pocket money system, they’re ready to learn about financial literacy.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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