If you give a kid a dollar: Increasing children’s allowances

Do you remember those times as a child when someone gave you a dollar and you ran straight to the gumball machine and indulged yourself with newfound freedom of having your very own money?

Any money that came into my hands always left within a few hours. I never had a strict allowance, and my parents would give me any amount that they saw fit for whatever activity I needed it for.

A recent study has shown that parents are now increasing their children’s allowances since previous years. Around 4 percent of American families have increased their children’s allowance to about $50 per week.

Even more shocking, an article in the Chicago Tribune reports, “More than 1 percent of parents are shelling out between $91-100 a week.” These numbers seem shocking at first, and while $100 is pretty extravagant, a weekly allowance from a younger age might actually be helpful in the long-run, depending on how the parent approaches the topic.

The issue some parents have with giving their child an allowance is that it teaches their children the idea of “free money,” which we all know by now doesn’t exist. This could have repercussions in the long run for college students.

Children who receive an allowance without having to do anything in return may tend to think that good things come from the generosity of an authority figure, and they might ask a professor for an A instead of working towards it.

This is why it is necessary to tie a child’s allowance into chores, grades or even behavior. This would instill in the child the idea that you can get compensated for the amount of good that you do and that you have to work hard to get there.

Whatever money I got my hands on, I was unable to resist the temptation to spend it right away. Because of this, I never saved much money at all. This has definitely become my ruination in college. All of my paychecks go straight towards Thai food take-out and new clothes.

Maddy Bourque, DePaul sophomore, said that she has never received an allowance and has had to learn these lessons in college.

“I’m good at prioritizing my finances so my bills never go unpaid, but struggle with saving money for the future. I use most of my paycheck each month and luckily have help from my family for rent and tuition,” Bourque said.

Allowances can teach children valuable lessons about keeping track of where their money goes and not splurging on unnecessary items. Even a few dollars per week can teach a child to save their money for a few weeks in order to buy one big thing, instead of several pieces of gum at the store.

Alexander Haddad, a 19-year-old biology major, was given an allowance throughout high school, which has taught him financial responsibility.

“I’ve always been good with not blowing all of my money right away, but I’m glad I learned that lesson before I came to college,” Haddad said.