Deciding on the right amount of pocket money can be a bit of a challenge. How much is too little? How much is too much? It can be hard to know but there are a few things you can consider that will help you make the right decision.
Age and maturity
The first factor to consider is your child's age and level of maturity. Younger children will obviously need less, but as they grow older and demonstrate greater financial understanding and responsibility, you can consider increasing their allowance.
Your financial situation will also influence the pocket money you give, and it is important that that kids understand that. If your family can afford it, you might be more generous with the allowance, but if finances are tight, it's okay to provide a more modest amount while explaining the reasons behind it.
Financial education goals
Pocket money serves as a valuable tool for teaching kids about money management. Consider how your chosen allowance amount aligns with your financial education goals. Do you want your children to learn how to budget, save, and make wise spending decisions? Ensure that the pocket money amount is enough to provide opportunities for these financial lessons.
Define the purpose of the pocket money clearly. It's helpful to explain to your children that pocket money should cover discretionary spending, such as treats, toys, or outings, rather than basic needs like school supplies or clothing. This distinction can help them understand the limitations of their allowance. You should also talk about how / why they get the money – is it an automatic thing, or will they need to do jobs around the house etc.
Encourage goal setting
Encourage your kids to set financial goals for their pocket money. Whether they want to save for a specific toy, donate to a charity, or buy a gift, having goals can make managing their allowance more meaningful. Adjust the allowance amount to accommodate their goals and savings plans.
There is a great tool available called An Post Money Mate that will help you teach your children money skills. It’s a debit card and app for kids aged 7-15 that encourages firsthand learning by allowing children to make their own financial decisions (you remain in full in control of how and where they spend). You can help them earn (through chores), save (by putting money aside in ‘Jars’), spend safely in shops with their own contactless card, and easily track what they’re spending through handy parental controls and notifications. Children can also deposit and withdraw money at their local post office. When you sign up, you get a three-month free trial! – it costs only €2 per child per month thereafter. Download the An Post Money app on the App Store or on Google Play to get started.
Recognise that as your child grows and takes on more responsibilities, their pocket money needs may change. Be prepared to adjust the allowance amount over time to reflect their evolving financial circumstances and maturity.
Teach responsible money management
Pocket money should be a tool for teaching kids about responsible money management. Emphasise the importance of budgeting, saving, and making choices with their allowance. When they make mistakes, use these as valuable learning experiences to help them develop financial acumen.
Ultimately, deciding on the right pocket money amount is a balancing act, but it’s a great way to start teaching them about money matters.
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To find out more about An Post Money Mate click here