From an early age my parents gave us an allowance for doing our chores.
It wasn’t much: just $.25 a week – enough to walk down to the corner grocery for our favorite candy each Saturday. As we grew it became $.50, then $1.00 and steadily it increased with age. But also our household chores increased as well.
To start we were required to do the basics: make our beds and pick up our toys. Slowly we were expected to do one household chore: vacuum, do dishes, or dust furniture. As we grew, more chores were added on inside the home or in the yard. Eventually we were expected to do our own laundry, ironing, drive younger siblings to basketball practice, and occasionally cook a meal.
And while I’m sure my parents were grateful for the help, it wasn’t so much about relieving them of monotonous jobs as much as it was about building in us a sense of responsibility.
Here are 4 reasons why I feel children should earn an allowance, and why our children will earn one, too.
1.It teaches them a good work ethic.
One thing my siblings and I have been told on numerous occasions is that we have a good work ethic. It was drummed in us from a young age that we should earn our paycheck, not just receive it. And that we should be proud to have sweat on our brow.
By giving us small chores as toddlers and increasing them with age, we learned the value of hard work but we also learned that working hard is rewarded with money.
To be sure, there is something to be said for teaching children to help out around the home without expecting to be paid. And we learned this, too. If we were asked to do more than our usual load, we didn’t expect to get paid more.
2. It builds in them an understanding of the value of money.
When a child has $3.00 and wants a $5.00 toy, teaching him that he can either buy something he can afford now, or save up and buy the more expensive toy later teaches him the value of money, how much hard work it takes to earn what he has, and whether or not that hard work is worth the more expensive toy he wants.
This will go far later on in life when he is faced with the option to buy an expensive sports car that will depreciate in value, or a home that will appreciate in value. Which item is most worthy of his hard work?
3. It teaches them the joy of giving.
I have admired my sister’s ability to teach her children the value of giving. Quite often her children will use their allowance to buy something for another sibling or a friend. Each time I hear that, I get tears in my eyes.
What a admirable trait she has built in their lives!
By teaching them to not only give to the Lord 10% off the top of their allowance, but occasionally buying a birthday gift for a friend, they get the pleasure of seeing the joy of their friend’s face knowing that their hard earned money went to bringing someone so much pleasure.
It truly is better to give than to receive!
4. It teaches them the value of saving.
I’ll never forget how as young adults we would go to McDonalds after church with all of our friends. Standing in line, my brother would inevitably come up to my sister or me and ask us to buy his meal.
Knowing that all three of us were employed, and that we all earned about the same amount of money every month, I was incredulous as to why he never had any money. So, one day I asked him, “Why don’t you ever have any money?” His answer surprised me and stuck with me all of these years.
“I have about $2,000, but I’m saving up to buy a guitar.”
Naturally, I didn’t buy his meal. He had more money than I! But he learned the value of saving up to buy something that was worth the hard work he put in to earn his paycheck (but he probably could have used a lesson in not mooching off of his sisters!).
He did end up buying his guitar, and he treasured it more than any other possession he owned, because he knew how many long hours of hard work and denying himself momentary pleasures it took for him to buy that guitar.
I am grateful to my parents for instilling in me these valuable lessons. They formed in me a good understanding of hard work and money management.
Soon my children will be old enough to start learning those lessons, too. I can’t wait to pass on to them the truth that sweat on your brow has value and should be looked upon with pride!