Should allowance be tied to chores?

March 20, 2013 by

Based on my research parents are divided on this issue. One group believes that allowance should not be tied to chores. Children are part of the family unit, and as such have certain family responsibilities, which they should not be paid for. The children need to understand that as they become adults, they will not be compensated for cleaning their room, taking the trash out or setting the table for dinner. Therefore if they do not perform the chores, the allowance will not be held back, but other privileges will be revoked such as TV or computer games.

The allowance is still given to the child as it is the tool to teach them money management. These parents have the notion that taking away allowance would be taking away the learning opportunity. 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

The other group of parents believes that the allowance should be tied to the chores. They don’t want their kids to feel the sense of entitlement and think that money grows on trees. They want children to understand that they have to work hard in order to earn money, and they want to instill the right attitude towards work early on.

I believe that it is up to you to choose the right approach to allowance based on your money values and your parenting style. You can choose either of the two approaches above, or design an approach that combines a bit of both. For example, some basic chores such as setting the table or taking out trash could be mandatory and not paid for, but you can pay your kids for things that you would pay someone else to do such as mowing the lawn or an annual spring cleaning. One thing to keep in mind is that your approach to the allowance needs to be flexible and change as your children are getting older.  Something that worked for them when they were younger, may not necessarily work when they are teenagers. Another issue to consider is what you are going to do when your child gets their first part-time job? Will they still have to do the same chores that they have been paid for before? At that time it will be important to rethink what are your family values and incorporate them in a new approach.

What was your experience with allowance as you were growing up? Were you paid for doing the chores? I did not receive allowance from my parents, which propelled me into getting my first part-time job when I was thirteen. My mom believed that giving me money would spoil me. I think her approach made me eager to be independent, so that I can buy whatever I wanted, which is very important to me even today. It is funny how things from our childhood shape us.

Currently my kids receive allowance which is not tied to chores as I want to instill basic money management concepts in them. However, they are still expected to clean up their toys, put away their shoes/hats, etc.  I believe they need to develop their work ethics early. When they get older, my approach to allowance may change into the combination of the two approaches.

What is your approach with allowance? Please share.


  1. Aliya

    Thanks for your prespective! Makes sense.
    What amount is suitable for what ages?

  2. Maja

    My next blog will be discussing what amount is suitable for each age. Sorry that all of this info is posted piecemeal, but I'm trying to keep each blog short and only on one topic that relates to the allowance. Btw, have you decided if you are going to give allowance to your daughter, and if so, which approach are you going to use?

  3. Jeannette Gibson

    Being the daughter of a CA, my father had the belief system that an allowance was given us to teach us how to manage our money. Household chores, etc. were just expected, not rewarded with financial gain. I agree that outside work, etc. that you would pay somebody to come into your home to do, could be compensated for. In saying that, I believe that compensating your child financially for cleaning their room, setting the table, garbage and such, provides them with a sense of entitlement not responsibility. On a lighter side, if I was brought up believing that these contributions to the household were for financial gain, I'd be waiting a really long time as a grown up for someone to give me an allowance for cleaning up after them. Great topic, and probably lots or opinions.

  4. Maja

    Jeannette, thank you so much for your comment and for sharing how allowance was handled in your family as you were growing up.

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