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Your child’s allowance: How much is enough??

(Adaptation from Reader’s Digest)

Adapted and Edited by:

Kit Fabito (PVA Member)


            SCHOOL DAYS are here again, signaling not just frantic mornings of Mom and kids rushing to breakfast, bath time and dressing up before the school bus arrives and rush hour at the LRT,MRT stations, but also pitched battles over a vital issue: School Allowances. Both sides of the “Battle“ are quite clear about their positions. Children invariably feel they’re not getting enough. Their parents, on the other hand, are of the opinion that their children receive way too much, prefacing comments with “ Why, in our days, we could buy lunch for 50 centavos…” Of course 50 centavos these days isn’t enough for one LRT, FX or jeepney ride. So how do we know when enough is enough??

            **For Grade Schoolers, who live within walking distance or one short ride away from school, an allowance just enough to cover jeepney fare to and from school plus sandwhiches and drinks for recess is enough.

            “ The idea is to give them enough, but not more than enough, “ says a 30-year old Dad. Grade schoolers still normally have a guardian to bring them to and from school, so they will need to spend their own money only at the school canteen. An allowance should Enable a child to have greater leeway in choosing from among a variety of goodies at the school canteen. Granting them this little freedom will help them make “Little Decisions” and bear “Little responsibilities” at their age.

            Older grade schoolers normally develop awareness of the value of money at ages 10 to 12.

   “Parents should consider that these this kids, at their age, are mature enough to handle their own money. At this age, they already know how to save for something they want to buy, like a new sxhool bag or the latest Barbie fashion doll. They can save by setting aside a part of their daily allowance to be able to buy what they want, without help from their parents” says a Montessori guidance Counselor. With these “ Little Goals,” it would help if their school allowance contains a little “margin” to help them save!

            **For High schoolers, enjoy the time of their life as they discover the joys of friendship, rushes, partying, and everything that goes with teen life. While making sure, Of course, that they don’t lag behind in their schoolwork! These are the years when the young ladies need money to try cosmetics and the latest fashion, when the young men groom themselves to look slick and hip, and when they all want to hang around, enjoying themselves. School allowances therefore have to be bigger than their pre-teens, and parents should understand that by this time, young people have special needs. At the same time, though , parents should guard against over indulging their children, which may tempt them into trying unsavory and expensive pastimes, such as drugs. Young people need to be reminded that with freedom (of spending) comes responsibility (of saving). They should be able to justify purchases in terms of school requirements, or for their “ Growing up” needs.

            High school may also be the time to develop in your children budgeting skills, including the ability to justify their demands. In one large family, the father, a labor lawyer skilled in negotiating agreements with unions, would sit down with his children before the start of every school year and ask the older children to draw up their own allowance budgets. They would be asked to “defend” their request and justify their projected expenses. This was important not just to the older children, but to the younger ones as well, sine their allowances were determined according to a formula based on the allowance of their older siblings.

            To make up for occasional impulsive spending, high schoolers and even college students can hone their entrepreneurial skills on little business: Selling t-shirts to classmates, or other stuffs and items that are likely to be a hit among their co-teens.

            They can also try looking for summer or after- school jobs, including doing chores at home like waxing the car or putting up the curtains in exchange for extra money.

(Don’t make the mistake, though, of paying fro normal everyday duties, such as washing the dishes or making the bed.) As teenagers try to earn cash on the side, they learn the value of money, and would think twice before parting with their hard-earned cash and splurging on what catches their fancy at the moment.

            **For College Students, being on the verge of entering the bog, wide world, would do well to try working while studying. Being a working student is one big continuing lesson on the value of money. It also teaches the student maturity and level headedness in dealing with people from different walks of life both in school and at work.

            Nonworking students, on the other hand, should have learned by this time the skills of budgeting and setting aside money for personal purchases. Parents can help this process along by giving allowances on a weekly or monthly basis. If your child runs out of cash before the next allotment, he or she should be made to justify the “emergency” allocation. “Date money” can be incorporated into the allowance, or negotiated for on a “case to case” basis. Some parents offer their children extension credit cards for use on outings or dates, in lieu of a cash allowance. This has the added advantage of a means of checking on your children’s expenses (activities) without need of a confrontation. And when your child overspends, it’s a simple matter to shut down your credit line.

La Consolacion College Manila* Guidance and Counseling Center* 8 Mendiola StreetManilaPhilippines * 1005