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Parents Share Allowance Tips

Allowances are a great way to give kids hands-on money experience. Readers share their own experiences of what works and what doesn't.

My recent series of columns on how to set up a cash allowance in the digital age generated a flurry of letters from readers who wanted to share their own allowance tips. Here's a sampling.

A responsible 10-year-old

I really enjoy your column and appreciate your commonsense approach. I read the same newspaper article you did on parents who are letting kids use plastic to make online purchases. I was appalled at what I thought was "bad" parenting rather than the "new" allowance.

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My 10-year-old gets a monthly allowance of $50, which she must allocate to savings, college, charity and spending. She is responsible for her clothes, school supplies, birthday gifts, etc. The other day I bought flannel sheets for her bed, and she asked me to take them back because she didn't feel she needed them and didn't want to pay for them (which I hadn't intended for her to do).

Thanks in return for the kind words, and congratulations on having such a responsible 10-year-old. It just goes to show that kids can live up to your expectations when you set the bar high.

Learning the value of a buck

Our 5frac12;-year-old son has just started receiving a $5 weekly allowance with the following stipulations: $2.50 of it must go into the bank for long-term savings, 50 cents must be donated to charity, and he can spend the other $2 on anything he wants to buy.

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Say he sees a TV commercial for a toy that he wants. We say he can get it if he uses his $2 spendable allowance. He now thinks twice about getting an "immediate happy" or saving his money and waiting till a later time when he can get a bigger toy and a bigger "happy."

Teaching a 5-year-old about deferred gratification is a challenge that requires consistent input from Mom and Dad. Keep up the good work.

Tie allowance to chores?

Instead of linking chores to allowance, a friend of mine told his children, "You help out around the house because you're part of this family, and you receive an allowance because you're part of this family." I think putting both in the context of family is a good message to send.

I agree with your friend that kids should pitch in around the house because you ask them to. An allowance should be tied to financial "chores," such as paying for their own collectibles, entertainment, after-school snacks and other expenses.

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