kids

Australian parents are paying out $1.8 billion a year to their kids.

If my kids are being really well-behaved, have done their homework and not made me yell too much, I give them $2 on a Friday to splurge at the school tuckshop.

For two bucks they can get a bag of seaweed snacks, a frozen fruit popsicle or an “energy ball” and a bag of popcorn. Long gone are days of the Paddle Pop at lunchtime.

Last week, my eight-year-old called his younger brother an “idiot” so he missed out. The younger brother, who, truth be told, was being a bit of a twat, missed out too on account of his idiotic behaviour.

This week they’ve done okay so they’ll probably get that shining gold coin to spend up big.

I always thought I was being generous, in fact I even wondered whether I was being extravagant giving them a gold coin every week but it turns out my lot are at the lower end of the pocket money spectrum when it comes to Australian kids.

A survey has shown that Aussie kids are given $1.8 billion annually in pocket money. The Cartoon Network’s annual “New Generations” study has found 
that parents are giving their children on average $556 a year.

A separate survey showed that children’s pocket money changes according to where they live – with 
kids on the Sunshine Coast getting around $40 a week.

That’s over $2000 a year, and makes for a hell of a lot of mixed lollies.

Who we pay and the amount seems to mirror society.

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Frustratingly, studies have shown that boys get more pocket money than girls ($48.00 versus $45.00) – and for those who pay pocket money based on chores, the study showed that boys get more outdoor chores while girls get more indoor ones.

We also pay more depending on where we live and again not surprisingly our own salary.

A Commonwealth Bank report on pocket money earlier this year found that 82 per cent of those that give their kids pocket money said their children were expected to complete chores.

But it’s a controversial method.  Clinical psychologist Terri Sheldon told The Gold Coast Bulletin that while pocket money was a good thing, it should not be tied to chores.

“Chores are not really about being paid for them – they’re really about contributing to the family,” she said.

But others go with the “whatever works” theory and if it works for you to pay your kids to do their homework and make their bed (and not make you yell too much), then get out the cheque book.

The benefits of giving children pocket money are vast, from helping children feel independent to teaching them the value of money, to giving children a sense of financial literacy for the future.

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How much would you pay to have the dog washed. Image via iStock.

And it seems everyone has an opinion on it from how much, to how often, to how it should be paid.

Tom Sefton, economic adviser at the Church of England, has called for parents not to turn pocket money into an electronic transfer.

“We think it is very important that children do not skip straight to a cashless society,” he said.

“For many children, transactions done on a card or over the internet does not feel particularly real.”

He has a point.

The Church of England says kids need cash not a card. Image Via Stock.

For pocket money to mean anything for kids they have to be able to spend it, there is not much point in them accumulating hundreds in their online portfolio while you fork out for the football cards.

As for what you pay them, well it depends on their age, what you expect them to spend it on and how often you’ll pay them.

Me? Until my kids realise they are being ripped off, I'm sticking with the two dollar payout.

Just don't let them know about their Queensland compatriots hauling in the big bucks.

ASIC’s tips for pocket money: via ASIC Money Smart.

The 50%, 40%, 10% rule - Save 50%, spend 40% and donate 10% to your kid's favourite charity.

Three jars - For younger children, you could have three jars for saving, spending and donating and your children could put money into each jar. This method helps your kids understand the difference between saving and spending.

Budget - You could work with your child to draw up a budget and decide together how to split up the pocket money.

Investing - You could consider investing a small amount of your child's pocket money.

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