What is appropriate allowance for 16 yr and 14 yr old boys?

June - posted on 06/16/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I want to give my boys an allowance just once per month in their bank account and let them manage themselves. We live in a high cost coastal area in CA, and I am not sure what amount to give them. 16 yr does not drive because he is still not responsible but I want to get him going on managing money. He is trying to find job fo the summer but no luck yet. He washes my car for money sometimes, but I want to give a monthly amount so they learn how to budget.

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June - posted on 06/18/2012

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Hi Shawnn, I like your advice, except that when we paid them for stuff like that then when I asked them to do normal chores they would always ask, how much am I getting paid to do that. It got ridiculous so I said no more money to do stuff that is for the family. You eat dinner and live here so everyone should have to clean up. We are not your slaves. So now I'm just paying them for car washes and weeding. Laundry, dishes, vacuming... has to be done as part of being a family. I guess it's all a fine balance of what works and what doesn't. I completely agree that kids should have to work.

Shawnn - posted on 06/18/2012

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For my 17 & 14 yr olds, there is no allowance. They are allowed to work off the cost of an activity, etc, and they have normal weekly chores which they are compensated for, at a rate which is decided between my husband, myself, and the kids.

Currently the family laundry service is $20/week, the yard service is $20/week. Any above and beyond that is compensated per job.

From the time they were old enough to ask for things, they were taught to have a reason for the request. And "for fun" is an ok reason, as long as it's not all the time. If they could present a reason for their want, they were allowed to pick a job to do to earn the item. As they got older, the items transitioned into money to have as pocket money.

As my 17 yo just got his medical clearance, he can now apply for jobs (long story, and frustrating one...), so as soon as he's working, we'll stop giving him spending money. I also make sure that, if I'm asking him to run an errand for me, I compensate him for gas (unless he's in "my" truck)

My 14 yo mows lawns in the neighborhood, as well as doing ours. He also walks dogs, and house sits for neighbors. Again, less of a drain on my pocketbook.

My suggestion, rather than just "giving" money is you make them work for it. In the real world, they're not going to be handed money each month. So, yes you've got a great idea, wanting them to manage their money. Just start it a little earlier, by teaching them that money needs to be earned, it won't be given

June - posted on 06/17/2012

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Good suggestion to go bi-monthly. I'll work up to $40 on the 1st and on the 15th. They did tend to blow the first $40 all up front. They only have to pay for entertainment like movies and fast food with this money. I pay for clothes, food and cells. Should I continue to also let them wash car for extra $10-$15? If they are disrespectful as they often are these days should I subtract from the allowance?

Denikka - posted on 06/17/2012

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Figure out what their expenses are. Things like the cost of school lunches (if they buy lunches), entertainment (allow for at least one activity per week). Are you going to start getting them to pay for things for themselves? Things like clothes (I would suggest continuing to buy school clothes, then give a small budget for extra clothes, outside the necessary ones), are you going to make them pay for their own cell phones, etc. Are you going to ask them to start paying *rent* out this allowance?

For my area, for a 14-16yr old, I would personally give about $25-30 a week and have them pay their own cell phone bill out of that. That would give them roughly $15-$20 a week to do extras with. A movie, for example, costs about $7 here. I would also be willing to give certain opportunities to earn extra money if needed.
I would suggest to do it bi-weekly instead of once a month. Employers frequently pay bi-weekly and I think it makes it easier, a little less overwhelming to know that you still have money in the middle of the month in case you make a mistake (aka go and blow your money :P)

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