Show me the money, mom!
Does getting pocket money teach your children any valuable life skills? Meagan Karstens discovers that yes, it does...
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‘Okay, Meagan, I'll lend you R50 if you promise to give me R70 by the end of the month.’ ‘That’s a deal,’ I said, unable to mask the desperation in my voice.

My sister, now 10, is able to work the little money she gets better than anyone else I know.

Unlike when I was growing up, Bianca was taught that if she really wants something, then she should save to get it herself. My parents’ theory?

A) It will teach her the value of money and how expensive things can be.
B) It will teach her that money is gone once it’s spent.
C) It will help her to understand and accept that earning money isn’t always quick and easy – sometimes you have to work hard or save for a long time to get what you want.
D) It will help her set goals, both long and short term.
Of course it was a struggle at first. Her tiny brain couldn't comprehend the many weeks it would take, and ‘why mommy or daddy couldn't get it for her’.

And while patience isn’t one of her finer qualities, the satisfaction of being able to, and I quote, ‘buy my own Monopoly’, is quite extraordinary.

According to the Parent24 survey, most children receive pocket money. 65% of kids between the ages of 4 and 9 get an allowance, and this number jumps to a staggering 83% once they hit puberty.

But how or if they earn their money remains unclear.

Tips when giving pocket money

  • Explain to your child the dos and don’ts of pocket money – how it should be spent and how it shouldn’t.
  • Only give your child what you can afford.
  • Pick a weekly or monthly ‘pay-day’ and stick to it.
  • Open a bank account for your child if necessary.
  • Or, if your child has decided to keep the money at hand, then put it in a savings jar or money box - seeing the level grow will emphasise the success of being a good saver.

Remember that your children learn their attitudes towards money from you. And now, more than ever, is the right time to teach them how to live within their means. It’s never too early. Or too late.
The Parent24 2009 survey had more than 8000 responses. The survey, weighted by gender, race and education, represents approximately 7 million metropolitan adults educated to the level of at least matric, across South Africa. For more about the methodology and for results analysis by Jean Redpath and Michael O’Donovan of Hlakanaphila Analytics, download the Parent24 2009 survey PDF. Or see the full results here.

Do you believe in giving your children pocket money? How do they earn it? Share your tips and suggestions in the box below.

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