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Chore list for teens: teenager washing the dishes

Pros and cons of giving kids an allowance for chores

Your kids and teens are growing up and taking on more responsibilities around the house. Cleaning, vacuuming, maybe making a meal or two. Enter the million-dollar question — should you give kids an allowance for chores?

The debate on allowance — and whether kids should work to earn it — is a big one. You might have grown up in a household where your parents didn’t pay you money for chores. Or, they might have given you money for special occasions, like catching a movie with friends, without requiring any work at all.

How much money do parents give kids for chores?

According to data from Greenlight, the average allowance parents pay their kids is $14.72 weekly. However, the average allowance by age varies; 6-year-olds receive an average allowance of $6.69, while 15-year-olds average $14.89. That's roughly in line with the unwritten age-appropriate allowance rule of $1 per week multiplied by the child's age.

If you tie your kids’ allowance to chores, you can provide them a weekly amount if they check off all their tasks. You can offer additional earnings for one-off chores, such as babysitting or washing the family car. 🚗 One-off chores might require more effort, so you can set a rate that fits your budget and aligns with their exertion.

Pros of tying allowance to your kids' chores

Here are a few key reasons why providing an allowance tied to chores is useful.

Teach the relationship between work and pay

Money doesn't grow on trees, we wish it did! 💸 You have to put in some work to earn it, and your job helps you pay for all of your family's essentials — a home, food on the table, clothes, and transportation.  

When you give your kids money for chores they complete, you help them learn that sometimes work = a financial reward. They can use their chore-based allowance to pay for the things they want, like new headphones or concert tickets.

Motivate kids and encourage goal-setting

Offering an allowance for chores can motivate kids and teens that have big goals.  You can set the bar for what you’re willing to pay for chores, and they can complete them in exchange for cash. As their savings grow, they’ll get closer to having enough money to make their dreams come true. 

Let’s say your child wants a new bike that costs $100. 🚲 You can tie allowance to chores — which will set the prices you'll pay for everything they do. You might offer $1 for simple tasks, like doing the dishes, and pay them more for bigger jobs, like mowing the lawn. Using their Greenlight app, they can take on enough chores to earn the $100 for their bike over time.

Build lifelong financial literacy and money management skills

Paying your kids an allowance gives you an opportunity to teach them about money management. If you pay a weekly or monthly allowance, you can teach them how to save their money for something they want. You can also help them set up a budget so they know how much of their allowance to divvy up toward specific things they need. Greenlight can make the process even easier with its helpful features like chore management and savings tools.

For example, you can talk to them about the 80/20 rule, where 80% of earnings go to wants and 20% to savings. You can help them determine their wants, like money for extracurriculars. They can put the remaining 20% in savings. 

Paying out a regular weekly or monthly allowance can discourage unwise spending. They'll learn how much things cost, and you can promote positive financial habits like budgeting and making trade-offs.

Cons of tying an allowance to your kids' chores

If you ask your kids to do chores in exchange for their allowance, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind — but you can overcome them with the right strategies. You can also give your kids an automatic allowance, regardless of whether they do chores, as some parents do. 

With Greenlight, you maintain full control of your allowance preferences. There’s flexibility for every family. 

They could lose a bit of intrinsic motivation

When you share a home with your partner and kids, each person has some obligation to contribute to the household. 

Just like you have certain chores your kids aren’t responsible for, you want your kids to recognize their duty to the household. While you don't expect them to find a job and start chipping in for the rent, you can encourage them to be mindful of how their actions (or inactions) impact everyone's comfort — like that giant pile of laundry cascading into the hallway.  

To ensure they don't lose their intrinsic motivation for simple chores, talk to them about how everyone contributes in their own way. Use a few specific examples that show up in your household. For example, if you expect everyone to pile their laundry in the clothes hamper rather than leave it on the floor, you can tell them why that's important — it's safer, and you know it's time to run the laundry when the hamper is full. 🧺

Allowance and chores planning made simple

Greenlight's chores and allowance app makes it simple to teach your kids the importance of financial responsibility. You can use your Greenlight app to create a weekly chore schedule and share it with your kids. As they complete each chore, they can check it off and track their weekly earnings. You can transfer their weekly allowance automatically, which means no trip to the bank for cash. A win-win for kids — and parents. 🤝 Sign up today and get one month, on us!

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