My Son’s First Allowance

I love everything about summer – except the ice cream truck. My three-year-old son goes berserk every time it pulls up in front of the park, with its jingly little siren song of a tune.
“I want ice cream!” he screams (yes, he literally does scream for ice cream).


My husband and I now realize the time has come for our little guy to get an allowance. Yes, three is young, but we want to him to understand that the ice cream cone costs money — and that he can’t afford to have one every day (let’s not even talk about the sugar content!).


We started by giving him enough each week to cover the cost of ONE ice cream cone (three dollars) − he can either take it to the park and buy a cone, or he can save it in his piggy bank and buy something bigger, like a toy, once he has enough. What he does with the money is his choice. And once it’s gone, that’s it for the week.


He doesn’t quite get it right now – but with a little time and patience, he’ll figure it out.


I am a big fan of giving kids an allowance − I always had one when I was growing up and it helped me learn that saving my allowance and watching it accumulate made me feel great. It’s a habit I developed early on and to this day I love saving my money and watching it grow.


So how much of an allowance should you give? Personally, I think it depends on the age of your child and your financial situation − a buck a year per week based on age is a good rule of thumb (i.e., my son is three and he’s getting three dollars a week).


Most experts agree you shouldn’t tie an allowance to chores − pulling your weight around the house isn’t a paid job and your kids need to learn that early on. Instead, create opportunities for them to earn extra money by tackling big jobs, like yard work.


You should also help your child manage their money by showing them not just how to spend, but how to save and give back to the community. You can give them three jars or create a system for them to organize their money accordingly − that way, as they get older, they can develop good money habits for later, including giving to charities.


I’ll keep you posted on my son’s allowance adventure − I have a feeling the ice cream truck tantrums aren’t over yet. But it’s better to learn your money lessons over little things like ice cream than through big money mistakes later on!

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3 Responses to My Son’s First Allowance

  1. Jane Krupski says:

    Good for you! I wish more parents would have the same attitude as you do! I took my grandson one year, I think he was 5 to the store and gave him $20.00. He was excited and went shopping around looking for something to buy! Of course the item he wanted exceeded the $20.00. He informed me that his mom would have paid the rest so he could get it. I said is your mom in the store? Of course she wasn’t, so I said , you can either look around for something else, or you can SAVE this $ and when you get some more , come back and buy this toy. He searched around and then put the $ in his pocket. But of course mom went in and bought the toy the folowing week. Need I say more. It was something that worked with my children but soon became clear that it wasn’t to be for my grandchildren, who to this day have no value of $. Sad days ahead. So could for you teaching your son early! Good luck with that.

  2. audrey says:

    well my child use to get a 1.25 . I tell her well add some money every year you grow up and if you do chores. now my child is 9 and shes down to 20 $ each week .(child) My mom says when i have problems with math it will help me when i get older I say why Well now i know because of tax and other stuff so I bought a wallet. I put my ,money there and now i have 50 $ I’m saving up for a dog okay. sorry that was my child she toke a way my comment and replaced and made her self inesent sorry to because my child made me look stupid see she incorrect spelling im sooo sorry audrey

  3. Joanne Marks says:

    We don’t give our son (now age 11) an allowance. He gets money from his grandparents for his birthday and christmas. He’s also won monetary awards for his participation in the divisional and provincial (in Canada) Science Fair projects.

    He is expected to contribute to the chores of the household, at no cost. However, if there is something he wants, we ask him to either pay for it, ask it for his next birthday, or borrow the money from us. At first, borrowing was no big deal to him. But. when he realized that he actually had to pay us back and would have to give up other wants in order to pay us back, he became much more frugal with spending.

    As a result, he has become very generous with giving to the people he loves and to the people he sees that need help. He understands the commiment to giving and he feels good about it. My motherly instinct pushes me to pay him back for what he gives, but who am I to take away that great feeling of giving from the heart? I feel great when I sacrifice to give to another. I don’t want to deprive my son of that feeling. Isn’t it what makes people special?!

    He’s learning to give because it helps both the receiver and the giver. Isn’t that what life is about?

    Joanne M