How Much Should My Child's Allowance Be?

What Should Kids Have to Pay for
With Their Allowance?

How much should my child's allowance be, and what should he or she have to pay for out of their own allowance money? These questions are so tied together that it's easiest to answer them together.

When children are younger, they may be expected to pay for very little: the occasional candy bar or soda, stickers or other trinkets, or very small toys. As they get older, kids should be expected to pay for more.

To make allowances successful, kids need to have an appropriate amount of funds to be able to pay for what is expected. Expecting a young teen to pay for school clothes on a $10 weekly allowance won't work. Just as giving a 6 year old a $20 weekly allowance and not expecting them to pay for their own CDs won't work.

With that in mind, allowances need to be adjusted based on age and on what the allowance will cover.

Age Based Allowances?

Starting out, allowances can easily be based on age. You'll need to be the final judge of what the appropriate level is, of course.

At the age of 6 or 7, a dollar per year of age (each week) may seems a little steep. But half of that amount doesn't. The level you choose should be enough to get the child started in understanding money and also sufficient to cover the costs of little things that they want.

As kids progress into the ages where they begin developing their own tastes and styles, they can be expected to manage more of their own expenses - and thus need more money.

This is where age can't be used as an easy way to calculate an allowance - or at least not as easily. Things like going to the movies, eating out, clothing, etc. should be taken into consideration.

Additional Allowance Resources

Some of these details really start to go beyond the allowance basics. For additional suggestions on how much allowance to give based on specific ages and responsibility levels, please see the pages on allowances for young children, youth and tween allowances, teen allowances, and average allowances for kids.