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How to give your child pocket money - Advice from a parent of two.

Dealing with the issue of pocket money can be tricky for any parent. There are no hard and fast rules. As a parent of 10 year old twins who constantly crave for more independence, reaching a compromise on pocket money hasn’t been easy. Kids can be shrewd negotiators! 

Through trial and error, here are some useful tips on handing out pocket money that have worked for my family.

Distinguish between Chores and Daily Tasks:

Earning money through work is a real life lesson kids can apply through pocket money. For us parents, what better way to get the house tidy?

Be specific to what defines as a chore (ie vacuuming the house, washing dishes) as opposed to the normal daily tasks at home.  

Usually I have to tell my son to pick his clothes off the bedroom floor at least a dozen times. One rare occasion he actually did what I asked immediately. Seeing my surprise and delight, he sneakily asked for extra pocket money. That would be a hard “no”, buddy.

How Much Pocket Money Should You Give?

Forget what other parents give. How much you give in pocket money is entirely up to you and what you can afford. 

You can consider whether the amount you decide is to cover certain treats like ice cream, movie snacks or magazines.

Some parents like to give based on their children’s age. If the child is 9 years old, they will receive $9.

For special occasions like birthdays and Christmas, my parents prefer to give my children cash rather than physical presents. The amount is usually substantial and sometimes overwhelming. 

I explain to the kids that such a huge amount of cash is not to be spent all at once.  I will show them how much they’ve accumulated over the years (which is a lot!). Interestingly, it hasn’t created any arguments or protests. Instead, they take comfort watching their little nest egg grow. Thanks, grandparents!

How Can You Give Pocket Money?

The Piggy Bank or Money Box:

For my twins’ first birthday, their grandmother bought beautiful pewter money boxes. Each lovingly engraved with their names. We still have them and they hold great sentimental value. They were perfect for those early years. 

Bank Account:

With the large amounts of money my children receive for birthdays and Christmas, we’ve opened up two accounts under each of their names. While this is great for the long-term, the boys are reaching their tween years with fiery independence. 

In the near future when they go to the movies with their friends or go on dates (Eek!), they will want immediate access to money.  Carrying hard cash around may not necessarily be the safest option either.

Going digital:

The tween years are already proving to be a challenging stage. Even more so with conversations around money and freedom.

ZAAP is a debit card solution that allows teens and tweens to have their own debit card as well as a wristband that they can ‘tap & pay’ with, giving them access to money whenever they need it. Especially in emergencies.

The parent mobile app wallet allows me to transfer funds from my account to my children’s ZAAP account. Through their children’s portal supported on the app, they can see how much is in their account and set savings goals. As a parent, I can see transaction history. 

Learning Life Lessons Through Pocket Money

As our parents often told us as children, “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, we find ourselves saying the same to our own. But with so many options for giving our kids pocket money, we can also show our kids how rewarding the journey can be to obtaining it.

Planting the seeds of appreciation for money will help our children develop smart financial habits.

About the Author:

Grace is a freelance writer with over 25 years experience in business, having held senior roles in marketing, finance through to sales.

Graduating from the Australian National University, Grace spent 10 years working with multi-nationals in Asia. She is multi-lingual, fluent in Japanese and Bahasa Indonesia.

On returning to Australia, she then carved out a successful career in financial services, IT and telecommunications.

In addition, Grace has run her own small business focused on issues such as parenting, financial literacy and digital security.