Helping with family laundry is one possible chore to earn allowance.

Allowance & Chore List for Teens

by Candace Webb

Three out of every five teenagers gets an allowance, according to An allowance allows your teen to have some financial freedom, while at the same time presents the opportunity for him to learn about money management and the value of saving. Requiring him to earn his allowance through a chore list also teaches him about earning money and hard work. Clear expectations about what chores will earn money will prevent family disharmony.

Decide How Much

Experts suggest that your teenager's allowance fall between 50 cents and $1 for each year of life. For example, a 12-year-old would get $6 to $12 a week. The amount should be reasonable to cover expenses he is expected to buy himself, while having money left over for fun, savings and charity each week. The area's cost of living and price of entertainment venues should also go into the decision of how much an allowance to provide.

How To Earn It

Some teens earn their allowance by taking care of daily business. For example, you might want your teen to complete homework, keep his room clean and take out the trash each day. If he does, he gets his allowance. Other teens have a chore list, from which they choose which ones to do and then at the end of the week it is added up and he is paid. Discuss at the outset which chores will be tied to his allowance and when they are to be done to be considered for payment. Also discuss what things he is expected to do as part of the family without expecting payment to avoid an attitude that everything he does comes with a price.

Consistency Is Key

Your teen should receive his allowance at the same time each week without being rescued if he falls shorts between paydays. This allows him to practice budgeting, planning and saving. For example, if you pay him each Friday, do not give him any more money until the following Friday. This forces him to think about the week, what his needs are, what he wants to use the money for and how to stretch it out.

Docking the Cash

If your teen fails to complete the expected chores, his allowance should be adjusted. For a pay- by-the-chore allowance, he just doesn't get paid until the chore is completed. If he gets an allowance for an overall list that is expected, it becomes a bit trickier. Decide ahead of time how much of his allowance will be withheld for each infraction of rules or chores and then stick to it if the time comes.

Be Flexible

The amount you pay might have to be adjusted as your child gets older and his expenses change. The chore list might also change as his other obligations change. For instance, during the summer, when he is not in school, he should be expected to complete more chores than during the school year. You can adjust his allowance accordingly with each season.


About the Author

Candace Webb has been writing professionally since 1989. She has worked as a full-time journalist as well as contributed to metropolitan newspapers including the "Tennessean." She has also worked on staff as an associate editor at the "Nashville Parent" magazine. Webb holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in business from San Jose State University.

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