Parenting Tips

Pocket money: from when, how much, for what?

Pocket money is a sensitive topic - but with openness and a few rules, the little ones learn to use it responsibly.

The comic book, gummy bears, or would you prefer football pictures? Five-year-old Tom is unsure what to spend his first pocket money on. And: Tom is very proud that he can finally fulfill small wishes on his own.

Children love to sell their own money. Whether the first investments always make sense is debatable. The only important thing is: children need pocket money to make their own purchasing decisions. Because only those who have free money at their disposal also learn to use it responsibly.

How much pocket money is appropriate and from when?

Many parents are unsure when is the right time to entrust their offspring with their first coins. Experts advise something that sounds banal at first: When boys and girls can do something with “money”, the time is right. So when I was about five years old. School enrollment correctly applies to regular payment – after all, the students learn in class to calculate with amounts of money. The pocket money table is based on the recommendations of the youth welfare offices and offers fathers and mothers orientation as to which amount is appropriate. 

She recommends 50 cents to 1.50 euros per week for four to five-year-olds; for ten-year-olds 15 to 17.50 euros per month. The amount increases continuously for each year of life. For younger children, it makes sense to pay out their pocket money on a weekly basis because they cannot yet keep track of the time frame. From the age of ten, they receive their money at best monthly – later maybe even in their own checking account.

Of course, the amount of pocket money also depends on the parents’ financial situation. It is important that there is a fixed pocket money day so that the child can rely on the payment. When it comes to pocket money, transparency is essential: the son or daughter should know why the parents decided in favor of the amount paid out. Finally: too much pocket money can make a child an outsider. It is helpful if fathers and mothers talk to other parents from the circle of friends on the subject of “financial strength of their offspring”.

What can the child spend their pocket money on?

The child can decide what to buy with it. Pocket money is only used to fulfill your own wishes! Parents can comment on the purchase – but please be non-judgmental! However, one or the other restriction is allowed: if you are normally only allowed to nibble on sweets in moderation, you are not allowed to plaster all of the gummy bears you bought yourself at once. By the way, purchases such as clothing or school utensils remain a matter of the parent’s wallet. And, experts largely agree: A reduction in pocket money is not a suitable means of punishing the offspring’s misconduct.

Manage your money cleverly

Sure, some children tend to spend their pocket money in one fell swoop. However, this should not be an occasion for parents to silently refill the child’s wallet over and over again or to criticize them for their generous financial behavior. Rather, openness and a willingness to communicate are required in such situations. What does money mean to me? How can you save a cent or two? And how do you deal with the realization that you cannot afford every wish? Parents and children should be in constant dialogue about this. Incidentally, Tom invested his first pocket money in a comic book. Batman was stronger than the gummy bears.

In order to motivate the kids to pursue a goal, the expert recommends that parents deprive the children of everything that does not belong to them. Then they should then make a list of the activities the children can earn for which activities, for example tidying up the room once a week – earns two euros pocket money per week. “This increases the hard work of the children enormously. The lousy and annoyed reminders of the parents are no longer necessary and the family atmosphere improves,” says the family therapist.

Pocket money in the corona crisis

By the way: A survey in September 2021 with 2,500 parents showed that around a third of parents consider the financial education of their children to be more important today than it was before the pandemic. This is certainly also due to the fact that many families have felt the effects of the crisis on their financial circumstances. According to the survey, 21 percent of parents adjusted their child’s pocket money because of the pandemic. Surprisingly, 14 percent of children now receive more pocket money than they did before the corona crisis.

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