Pocket money sure has changed since I was a kid.
I literally did not get a cent for doing the dishes or keeping my room clean or being the perfect daughter that I was.
These days, I don’t know any child who doesn’t receive some sort of remuneration for contributing to the house – or for even just their delightful existence.
But what’s so interesting is the way that happens varies greatly from family to family.
The age, the amount, whether it’s chores-based, and what it’s supposed to be spent on, are all points for negotiation. And it’s a privilege to be able to afford to give children allowances in the first place.
Some families give pocket money in cash. Some allow family sharing of banking details via apps – which is becoming more relevant as the world becomes increasingly cashless.
One of the best ideas is ZAAP – Australia’s first low-cost, prepaid Mastercard for school-aged children – that is available as a card and a wearable band. You can choose from more than 50 different designs, or kids can even design their own card by uploading an image, such as a selfie.
I like that it’s fully controlled by the parent via an app, so you have complete visibility to their spending, and they’re learning how to be responsible with money.
And if they’re not, you can stop access at any time. You don’t have that kind of power after you’ve handed over cash!
Money transfers can happen instantly, so your child is never stuck in an emergency. Put that on your Christmas present radar.
But seriously, with options like ZAAP, it’s useful to know how other parents handle pocket money.
Here’s what five of them, including myself, have to say about doling out the dollars to our tweens and teens.
Child: Winston, 12
We used to do pocket money when he was little, but now Winston does so many things independently – school by bus, the movies with his mates – he really needs ready access to money, so he has a flexible allowance which depends on what he does each week. One thing I find interesting is that he doesn’t like handling cash – I guess that may be a generational thing. Everything has to be a tap away!
But he needs flexibility, so he can for example head out with his friends for a milkshake after school. He’s also craving the responsibility and independence of learning to handle his own funds.
Even though I feel like the richest woman in the world with my son, obviously I am not in monetary terms. Being a sole parent on a single income house means I watch every cent. So we do talk about what he should and shouldn’t spend money on.