When I started kindergarten, my mother tied a 10 cents coin in a corner of a handkerchief (back then, we still used cloth handkerchiefs on a daily basis!) and pinned it to my crisply starched, white school uniform. It was meant for a lollipop from the school "tuck shop" (canteen), during "interval" (recess).
When class was let out for recess, I went down the corridor to where the canteen was. Others were already queuing up in long lines to buy their treats (quite often, recess was over before everyone in line could buy her treat!). As I stood off to the side, not knowing quite what I should do, an older girl, in a higher grade, approached me and said, "Little girl, what do you want? A lollipop? Give me your money and I will stand in line and buy your treat for you." I was a trusting little girl, used to having older family members doing things for me. I happily handed my money to her and stood waiting, patiently, expecting her to bring me my lollipop. Of course, she didn't bring me anything! The bell indicating that recess was over rang and I finally went back to class.
Later that evening, my mother asked me if I had bought my lollipop, and I told her the whole sorry story. My mother was not pleased. The next day, she came to school with me and spoke to the class teacher, and it was agreed that the kindergarteners would be allowed to go on recess 10 minutes prior to the rest of the school, so that we could go to the tuck shop before the older kids and get our treats without problems.
Obviously, the incident left its imprint on me. Almost 55 years later, I can still recall it, as clearly as it happened yesterday!
Other than money to buy treats at school or from the local snack shop, my mother didn't give me an allowance, as such. However, my step-father gave me an allowance, or, "pocket money" as it was called.
My daughter started receiving an allowance (from her grandmother, my
mother), when she started kindergarten - $1.25 per week (25 cents per school
day). Five whole dollars a month! That was a lot of money to a 5 year old child. There wasn't a canteen where she could buy treats, at her school, so she never took her money to school with her; but, nevertheless, I shared the story of my stolen 10 cents and lollipop and warned her about older children wanting to take her money from her!
Daughter's allowance was not tied to doing household chores, but rather, her "job"
which was her school work (studies, homework, assignments completed on
time, etc.), and it increased as she went up each grade. I believe it doubled to $2.50 per week when she was promoted to 1st grade after only 1 month in kindergarten (she was already going to grade 1 for math and grade 2 for reading, after 1st week in kindergarten), and by $10 per month with each additional grade. When my
mother died, I took over paying out the allowance; it had reached the amount of $12.50 per week.
I think having an allowance taught basic budgeting and money management. Daughter learned
that she had to save up her allowance to buy items she fancied (I paid for all necessities such as clothes, school items, etc.). She could buy more or less what she wanted, but I had final say; if I considered it inappropriate, then, I had veto rights as her parent. We've always talked things over, so there were no problems. We never had any of the "typical rebellious teen" issues.
As she got older,
we went from a weekly allowance to a monthly one. It worked out well for both of us; it was easier for me to give her $50 at the beginning of the month rather than dole out $12.50 every week, and the lump sum payment made it easier for her to save up for bigger purchases. However, it stayed at $50 per month from then on, until I stopped paying her an allowance once she started college and started working.
On one or two occasions, when daughter needed an advance on her allowance, I paid for the item and then, withheld payment of her allowance until her "debt" was paid up. For example, in high school, when her laptop computer got knocked down by accident, she offered to pay half of the cost of her new computer (it wasn't her fault that it was knocked down; otherwise, I would have had her pay the full cost); I paid the $600 for a new laptop, up front, and withheld payment of her allowance until her "debt" was paid up. Yes, she went without an allowance for 6 months. I'm sure some members of my extended family thought I was being unnecessarily mean, but I was anxious to teach financial responsibility to daughter and she thought it was a fair deal.
Once she was in high school, in addition to her allowance, I also gave her control of her portion of my budget (what I budgeted for her clothes, school supplies, etc.) I gave her spending guidelines, but left the final decisions to her. It was my way of preparing her for adulthood and financial management. Later, once she started university and did a part-time job, she herself put an end to receiving an allowance from me and started paying for her own clothes, school supplies other than text books, etc.
Did you receive an allowance as a child? If so, what are your first memories of your allowance? If you are a parent, do you give your child/children an allowance? If so, is it tied to doing household chores or something else?