When can I have my own money?!

“When can I have my own money?!” It’s a question most parents have heard from a child who’s just been told something is too expensive or that no one needs to buy 7 packets of jelly beans. So, when is the right time to introduce your little person to the world of financial freedom? Is it right to ask them to do something in exchange for pocket money? And if you do, are you about to set expectations that every chore now comes with a dollar amount attached?!

Based on their experiences as busy young families, the two mums behind brand Monkey & Chops have developed Pocket Money Maths, a wonderful tool to help guide you through these negotiations and work on maths skills all at the same time!

The biggest questions around this subject are always what age does it make the most sense to start giving your child pocket money, and how much should you be giving them?
Based on our experience with our children (five in total!) an interest and understanding of monetary value, such as the cost of a pack of footy or pokemon cards, came into play with the start of school, which is generally the age of five. Our Pocket Money Maths Chart has a calculation zone which promotes the basic skills taught from the beginning of school. So with that ion mind we think it makes sense to introduce pocket money when kids start school, or as soon as your child shows an interest.

In order to determine how much, it’s great to engage the kids in the question of how much they think a chore is worth and the total value of that chore repeatedly performed throughout the week.  Some people also align the total weekly pocket money value to their children’s age.

Should we be linking pocket money with completing chores? Won’t this mean they just expect to be paid anytime they’re asked to do something?
YES!! We find pocket money to be a great motivator and as busy working mums, the Pocket Money Maths Chart assists with the kids consistently completing their household duties. By establishing these processes early, children quickly get used to the routines expected of them throughout the week. The chart provides children with a clear framework for earning their weekly pocket money and in this way, the expectations are clearly set out so there is no confusion when pay day arrives.

What do you do if the money no longer works as motivation?
Perhaps consider why this is? Do they have the opportunity to watch their money grow? Have they set themselves savings goals? Sometimes, children need to see the thing they’re saving for, write it down, track their savings and then have the opportunity to spend their money on whatever it is that will motivate them to earn more. Find that motivator! Is it a special activity with family or friends? Is it an ice-cream? Is it a favourite toy? The process of teaching kids financial literacy is all about money in AND out!

How important is it to involve children in the process of choosing chores and adding up their total each week?
This process is fundamental to optimise their educational outcomes. As with any of the Monkey & Chops products, parents and children are encouraged to build the chart together, to promote ownership of and respect for the process. The mathematical skill development will only come from encouraging children to add up their pocket money totals each week, and parents will be surprised how quickly mathematical improvement occurs when kids can apply their knowledge in a real life application within the home!

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If it’s something you’ve wanted to try with your family, this time of year is a great time to start! Saving for Christmas presents, end of year gifts for teachers or some spending money while on summer holidays are all great motivators. As mentioned above, understanding that money goes in AND out is an important part of lesson. To check out the full Monkey & Chops range of charts follow this link to our website.