What should you do if your child keeps complaining about how little their pocket money is?

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So your little one has been coming to disturb you, complaining about their allowance not being enough?

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to teach them money sense and the value of hard work. If not, as they mature into young adults, they might still expect everything to drop from the sky for them.

Nothing comes free in this world, you tell them. Talk to them and set clear rules on what they should spend on. Guide them on saving up for bigger items they want. This way they appreciate the value of money and don’t end up always complaining to mummy and daddy whenever they want something.

Why your child is dissatisfied 

Before you point fingers and start yelling, take the time to understand your child’s needs.

Is it because their friends are getting more? Kids often compare with their peers, and if their friends get more pocket money, they will feel like they’re being shortchanged.

Or maybe their needs (and wants) are increasing? As children grow, their expenses increase too. The amount that used to be enough may no longer cut it.

Perhaps they don’t understand the value of money? Some kids don’t appreciate how much things cost in the real world. They just want more money to spend because that’s what their friends are doing, without realizing the effort required to earn it.

Setting appropriate expectations

Before saying a big fat “no” or caving into their demands for an increase, consider these factors:

  • How much is really enough?

Evaluate if the current amount is indeed too little to cover basic expenses. Think about your child’s age and what the money is meant for—food, entertainment, or saving up for bigger buys. As they get older, more pocket money is reasonable since their needs and wants will increase. But don’t feel obliged to match what their friends get, especially if you’re barely making ends meet.

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  • Teach them financial responsibility

Pocket money is a chance for your child to learn money skills like budgeting and saving. If they blow through it all within the first few days of a school week, that’s a sign the amount may be too much for them to handle responsibly at this point. Help them create a budget and encourage saving for bigger purchases. These are lessons that will benefit them for life.

  • Set clear rules and expectations

Lay down some ground rules on what the money can be used for. Be very clear in communicating your expectations to avoid future complaints about it being too little. Let your child know that the amount will be reviewed periodically based on their needs (not wants) and responsible behavior. Establish that whinging will not get them an increase. With the right guidance, your child will appreciate the pocket money for what it is.

Encouraging earning extra money

Why not allow your kids to do some housework to earn extra money, like sweeping the floor, washing the car, or helping with groceries? Pay them a reasonable rate for their time and effort. This teaches them that money needs to be earned through work, not given freely.

If they’ve got the talent, they can also sell some homemade stuff to friends and neighbors, like baked goods or crafts. Supervise them to make sure the quality is okay and the price is fair. This shows them how a business works while building confidence. Let them keep part of the earnings and deposit the rest into their bank.

For the older ones, suggest to them part-time jobs. Things like retail work, tutoring, freelancing, etc. are good for teens. Make sure the job is suitable for their age and doesn’t affect their studies. Let them handle their pay to learn money management.

The more kids work for and earn their own money, the more they will appreciate its value. Be patient as it may take time for them to understand, just as it did for you while you were growing up.

When your kid keeps whining for more money, don’t just wave it off or give in to their demands. Show them some tough love instead. Explain your reasons why their allowance amount is what it is. Teach them financial responsibility and how to budget what they receive. Get them to earn some of it through chores or a part-time job. Also, set a good example through your own behavior. Kids often mimic what their parents do, so make sure you practice what you preach! Tough it out and your kids will thank you for these life lessons someday.

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