How much pocket money is the right amount?

A child hanging out the washing

How much pocket money is the right amount? Tips and advice on rewarding with money.

Do you give your children pocket money? According to our recent research, the majority of parents do, with almost 80% of parents paying pocket money, at the following average rates:

Table of pocket money received for various age groups


Our research also found that most pocket money is given in exchange for work. So that raises the question: what types of “work” should you expect your child to do in exchange for pocket money? While the actual work itself will vary depending on your child’s age, there are a few common categories, including:

Household chores

Paying pocket money for household chores is a win/win situation: your child learns that money is earned and you have less housework to do. Various chores that my children have been responsible for include making their bed, keeping their rooms tidy and putting their belongings away. As they got older it progressed to mowing the lawn, putting the clothes on the line to dry and doing the dishes.

Things to consider:

Pocket money for chores can help children appreciate the value of money.

Potentially fostering a mindset in your child that they should be paid for anything helpful they do around the house.

School results

13% of the children in our survey received money as a reward for good marks at school. Certainly, paying regular pocket money for all homework being completed correctly and on time could potentially save many household arguments.

Things to consider:

Financial reward for school results could motivate your child to concentrate in class, really work hard and improve their results.

Adding a financial pressure to succeed could possibly stress your child and make them quite anxious.

Behaviour

What parent has not been guilty of bribery at some point when desperate to make their child behave? A more debatable question though is whether pocket money should be given regularly as a reward for good behaviour.

Things to consider:

Tying pocket money to an overall expectation of polite and respectful behaviour can be a good way to help young children particularly to practice their social skills.

Potentially developing an attitude in your child that “being good” is something that can be bargained for.

Community service

Whether it’s fundraising for homeless animals, supporting a local community group or raising awareness of a particular charity or issue, it’s fantastic for kids to find a cause that they really care about. Having their parents tip in some extra money – either through extra pocket money or perhaps matching their fundraising efforts - can help energise them. 

Things to consider:

Rewarding their community service efforts can help to foster their enthusiasm and motivate them to continue.

Kids love to be in charge of their own projects, so parents should be careful not to cross the line between occasionally helping and permanently bankrolling.

Once your child has started to earn pocket money, consider opening a childrens savings account so they can see their money grow.

The above are just a few possibilities, of course. When it comes to pocket money, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. Practice what works best for you and your children.

For related posts and downloadable activity sheets about financial literacy for kids, visit The Beanstalk.

This study was conducted among 1001 Australians aged 18 years and over who are parents of primary school children. Fieldwork was completed on Tuesday 7 January 2014. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.