As parents, we have an in built desire to want to be generous to our kids. We want good things for them, be it a good education and good opportunities for them to get ahead in life. But equally we don’t want to spoil them, we want them to know the value of a dollar and the value of hard work.
Which leads of course to the age old question, is giving our kids pocket money a good idea? Whether it is a good idea or not, is really dependent on what you are trying to achieve by it. It also leads to an important second question which comes up almost immediately and that is should pocket money be tied to chores?
Pocket money is a great opportunity to teach your kids important Christian values. For my three kids we use the three jar system. Each jar represents a different way they can use money.
Jar number one is the ‘giving to God’ to jar. The first 10% of their pocket money goes into this. Each week they can empty this jar and take it to Church.
Jar number two is the savings jar. The second 10% of their pocket money goes here. This money is for longer term savings, where they can save up for specific things that they want. They cant touch it until they reach the amount they need for the particular purchase. Ideally this is something that will take at least six months to achieve.
The last jar is the ‘spending’ jar. They have discretion how this money is spent, which could include giving extra to charity or other causes. It should be a point of discussion, how are you going to spend this money?
What will your kids learn from doing this? Generosity, saving, delayed gratification, responsibility and more. In fact, if it is linked to some chores, then they might learn the value of work as well.
The Bible says, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it". (Proverbs 22:6)
In other words, the habits your kids will pick up from pocket money are life skills that they will carry with them forever. In fact, the habit of 10% saving for long term, if continued into adulthood, is likely to set them up for a future with plenty of opportunities. Likewise, giving 10% will help them to be naturally generous for their lives and make a genuine difference in their Church and to others in need.
So, I think pocket money is not just a good idea, but a great idea. But how much should you give? Well that depends. There are a number of considerations, such as their age, the socio-demographic of where you live and where they go to school as well as your own financial means. The main thing is that you don’t overdo it. Ideally it should be linked to some sort of chores. Whilst there are differing views on linking pocket money to chores, I’d suggest that some chores be rewarded with pocket money, but other chores are just because they are part of the family, and families work together to make the home functional.
Give it a go, you’ll be having a profound long-term impact on your kids, their future relationships and God’s kingdom!
Alex Cook is the Founder of www.wealthwithpurpose.com, a financial discipleship ministry, committed to teaching Christians what the word of God says about money, wealth and business.
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