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Save Money this Summer with an Allowance

If you are looking for a way to save money this summer while teaching your kids an important life skill, consider a weekly allowance.

An allowance is more than just a weekly handout to children. It’s a practical tool that empowers them. Whether tied to chores or other responsibilities, the allowance is a real-life lesson in financial literacy. It sparks discussions about earning, saving, and budgeting, making these concepts tangible and applicable.

If implemented correctly, an allowance can be a financial lifesaver for the family. Summer often brings additional expenses for activities like camps and vacations. However, small, unnoticed expenses like ice cream and snacks can quickly blow the budget. An allowance system can help manage these expenses, making it a smart financial move for the family.

Implementing an allowance system is straightforward, but new skills take time, making summer break the perfect time to get started. My favorite allowance method mixes fixed-rate and chore-based payments. This hybrid model sets expectations with an opportunity to earn extra if/when desired.

The set allowance is a fixed amount every child gets for consistently completing basic tasks. These tasks should be designed to encourage and create healthy habits, for example:

  • Personal hygiene (brushing teeth, showering, managing own hair/nails)
  • Keeping their room picked up (de-clutter, make bed, vacuum)
  • Clothing management (sort, clean, fold, put away laundry)
  • Helping with meal prep (dishes, food prep, or pets)
  • Helping with shared space (dusting, vacuuming, yard, or trash)

To earn an additional allowance, use home or family tasks. These encourage a work ethic and challenge kids to exceed expectations while creating a flexible workload. They can work more to achieve a savings goal or work less if desired. Price each task individually or equally, and add or change tasks over time as needed. Some examples include:

  • Cleaning the baseboards
  • Dusting
  • Washing the car
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Changing bedsheets
  • Refilling bathroom paper products

Set the ground rules for payment by establishing the schedule and expectations. For example, all work must be completed consistently between Saturday and Friday by 5 p.m. for payment on Friday afternoons. This is also the time to explain what items they will be expected to spend their money on and what is covered by the family. Be specific and ask the kids to participate in the conversation. The better they understand why they need to earn money, the more inclined they will want to earn it.

Finally, you must decide how your family will pay the allowance. Some families use cash, while others use chore apps. While I was initially a fan of the cash methodology, I found my younger children could not keep track of it, and we ended up washing or losing several dollar bills. Today, I prefer teaching kids to manage money online. There are many options in today’s market, such as GreenLight or GoHenry, but pay attention to service fees. My favorite free product is Chase First Banking, which offers online access, debit cards, and parental controls.

Learning about money is a lifelong process. As you find new ways of working, don’t be afraid to modify and update your allowance policy.

For more tips on financial literacy, refer to the “B for Bank” chapter of my book, Efficiency Bitch, How Ambitious Women Can Have It All Without Doing It All.

Melissa Leon
Melissa Leonhttps://twosenseconsulting.com/
Melissa Leon is a Tucson native, NAU graduate, and Mesa resident. She co-owns Two Sense Consulting, a bookkeeping and fractional CFO firm dedicated to helping small business owners learn to read and make decisions based on financial statements. Melissa is also a mother of three children.



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