With half term just around the corner, are you prepped and ready for the onslaught of “I wants” from your little darlings? Sometimes it seems endless, know the feeling? At TimeTokens HQ we reckon that, just like managing screentime, if you don’t already have a pocket money system in place, It’s the perfect time to get one going. Give your child the opportunity to get some cash confidence, learn to budget and even earn for themselves. Then at least when they don’t have the means to pay, it’s not your fault – right?!
We’ve put together some of our favourite ways to encourage independence and responsibility with pocket money and easy ways for you to manage it.
Back in the day, what did you do?
How did you get your pocket money when you were a kid? Did you earn it, was it regular? Did you like the system? Did you enjoy the freedom, sense of responsibility or not? If your memories are positive, and you can see the system working why not introduce it in your home. It’s great to harness positive experiences and pass on family traditions that work.
Earning Pocket Money
This is a handy one, especially over half term & holidays when there are many hours to fill! The benefit of “earning” is it gives your child a sense of pride in what they are doing, gives them a chance to strive to do a job well. You could work with them on a list of “half term / holiday chores”, each completed task with a price attached. Eg: hanging out the washing, watering the plants, sweeping the path, weeding, cleaning their bike, washing the car. You could even have extra “tips” for a top quality job. There are so many simple chores around the house you can find to suit most ages. Top Tip: Remember to be clear about what jobs are pocket money worthy versus things you expect them to be doing as part of the family!
Regular Pocket Money
Regular pocket money, given on a weekly/monthly basis is a really great learning experience for your child, setting the groundwork for understanding the value of money, how to budget and save. Overtime you can help them understand :
- Once you’ve spent the money has gone!
- Saving and teaching about short and long term goals
- Borrowing and the importance of paying back debts
- How earning money and working for it is enjoyable
- The relative price of goods and how to work out what is value for money
How much Pocket Money?
Question is how much should you give? Children are great at always pushing for more. Pay what you can afford, regardless of what other parents (or your child!) might advise. We’ve researched with parents and money experts and come up with the following to give you a ballpark idea of weekly going rates.
4 - 6 years £3.00 - £4.5
7 - 9 years £4.50 - £5.70
10 – 12 years £5.70 - £7.40
Set some Boundaries & Add Some Rules
Children feel comfortable with routine and love structure, when everyone knows where they stand there is not so much wiggle room. Why not set out some simple rules.
- Is pocket money paid weekly or monthly?
- If weekly, what day?
- Who pays? Are parents alternating? Is it a grandparent?
- Is your child allowed to spend their money on whatever they want? Anything off limits?
- Is pocket money going to be withheld as a punishment for certain behaviours?
Agree your rules, write them up and sign, that way everyone is on the same page.
Creative Ideas for Pocket Money
It makes it more fun if you try and encourage different ways of spending money. At TimeTokens HQ we like to balance things out by splitting pocket money into 3 parts; Charity, spend now and save and spend later.
- Animal charities are always a good option here where you can donate a monthly sum for a particular species, or “adopt” an animal, gives the child an interest. The World Wildlife Fund is a good option.
- We try to encourage one portion of pocket money to be put into saving. Get your child to research something they could realistically buy if they saved for it. If it’s too expensive you could also offer to match or contribute towards for good behaviour or finishing homework on time, a rewards system. Every week they save a little they can see how close they are getting to their goal.
- If they are doing some saving and learning the basics of delayed gratification, it’s nice to balance it with some instant pleasure too. Maybe a small amount is spend now.
How to Manage Pocket Money
There are piggy banks and mini ATM’s, you could even give them vouchers which they trade in for money. Here are some more grown up options:
- Junior Bank Account. MetroBank has some fun options for kids and also has a sort of cash converter in branch where you can chuck all your coins in a machine and it calculates the total– quite fun to see who’s guess is closest, especially when you’ve got a few hundred 1p’s lurking around!
- Most Building Societies have good options for Junior savers or there is tax free saving through a Junior Individual Savings Account (JISA) where you/they can put up to £4,260.00 per year which your child can access when they are 16.
- RoosterMoney is a brilliant free app and a really cool way to manage pocket money, you can set allowances, manage chores and no deposits are required. It’s so easy to use and we love it at TimeTokens HQ! GoHenry is a cool pre-paid pocket money card which has parental controls so you can monitor how your child is spending. Your child gets a proper grown looking bank card which is fun but it does come with a monthly fee.
If you’ve enjoyed reading our top pocket money tips, please share and let us know what works for you!