More pocket money dilemmas

Recently, I asked you how much pocket money you thought I should give Belle.

We’d been trying out Roosterbank, a new online saving and shopping site for children, and not content with spending her birthday money, Belle was, unsurprisingly, keen on the idea of securing herself a regular income.

Now, in my post I said that I would take everyone’s comments, and try to come up with an average amount that would then become Belle’s weekly allowance. What I didn’t bank on however, (Get it? Bank? I’m so funny…), was you all being so darn flash with your cash. Seriously, five pounds pocket money a week?? What do you think I am, made of money??

"mansion"

Not my house, just so you know.

Still, a promise is a promise.

Although technically I’m not sure I did actually promise…

However, I have decided to offer Belle a basic rate of two pounds a week. For this, I expect her to do some basic things around the house, such as keeping her bedroom tidy, taking her plate out to the kitchen, not intentionally grinding food into the carpet, that sort of thing. So that’s it right?

Wrong.

Now I have another problem that I need your help with.

Once the money has officially left my purse and entered Belle sweaty palm, how much control can I maintain over what she does with it? Now obviously I’m not going to condone her saving up and splashing out on ten Benson and Hedges, but exactly how free a rein should she be allowed? If she decides for instance that she wants to spend two whole pounds every week or sherbet, am I allowed to step in, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, or should I leave her to make her own decisions?

"fizzy cola bottles"

Is this OK??

Using Roosterbank does to some extent alleviate this problem, as their site stocks lots of lovely, wholesome age-appropriate toys. It also requires me as the parent part of the account to approve every purchase, so we’ll never find ourselves in the position where a replica gun or a live guinea pig turns up on the doorstep without my prior knowledge.*

Roosterbank is designed though to give you the flexibility to spend your savings when you’re out and about too, not just through the site, so if we’re in Primark on a Saturday afternoon** and she insists she wants to blow everything on a pair of gem-encrusted denim hotpants, do I retain the right to say ‘no child of mine is being seen in those’ and drag her off to Waterstones instead?

Where do the boundaries lie? Please help me decide…

*I don’t think Roosterbank stock these anyway.

**Heaven forbid.

27 Comments

  1. 10 September, 2012 / 7:27 pm

    Having apprehended two of our four boys on a Top Sekrit Mission (sneaking back from the corner shop with a bottle of contraband Diet Coke* in hand) I’m thinking a total ban on pocket money being spent on anything other than Improving Books might be put in place round here.

    *boy no.1 has ADHD and is totally banned from a) artificial sweeteners and b) caffeine. Can you imagine the effects of a whole 2 litre bottle?!

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:20 pm

      Oh my goodness! It sounds like you stepped in just in time! There is that risk though isn’t there with anything that is ‘banned’, (although with good reason in your case), that it some how makes it more exciting.

  2. 10 September, 2012 / 7:42 pm

    Esteemed opinion of 11-year-old daughter (and I quote), “Like, she should be allowed to spend, say, £1.50 on sweets and be made to save the rest for something good” [like toothpaste, perchance?]. “And I would so totally respect the boundaries you set, and I really do”.

    Sometimes she spends small amounts of money on rubbish and I let her because she needs to learn the value of buying quality over trash and she won’t take my word for it – but if it’s something I inherently disapprove of, I say no and mean it.

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:21 pm

      Well, how can I turn down such sound advice?!

  3. 10 September, 2012 / 7:51 pm

    My 10 year old son only gets money in drips and drabs for going to the shop for me.Any money he and his two younger sisters get is kept for buying presents for family members birthdays or Christmas present for their dad (we’re separated).No money is to be spent on magazines, sweets or stupid fad toys.I’m harsh.

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:22 pm

      Oooh, hard core! I do like the idea of saving for presents though. To be honest, Belle is really very generous and sweet, and when she does have money she often wants to spend it on other people. She bought Bee a One Direction keyring with some of her birthday money :-)

  4. Beeface
    Twitter:
    10 September, 2012 / 7:51 pm

    Don’t let her spend all her money in Starbucks because that is a habit she will never grow out of.

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:23 pm

      I think it’s more about individual self-control. I don’t remember you spending all your money in Starbucks when you were ten… Anyway, you have gluten free bread to blow your earnings on now :-)

  5. 10 September, 2012 / 8:24 pm

    Why not show her how to budget – she could divide her pocket money up – sweet money, toy/whatever it is that 10 year old girls like money and saving for something special money?

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:24 pm

      Perhaps now is the time to introduce her to spreadsheets?? *gets excited*

  6. Fiona
    10 September, 2012 / 9:33 pm

    Having developed my own Starbucks habit (and stilletoes etc), I’m keen to ensure that my kiddo learns how to manage his own finances responsibly so Roosterbank sounds like a good option.

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:24 pm

      There is something about being able to log in and see your balance in a fun display that I think kids really like!

  7. 10 September, 2012 / 9:47 pm

    In a couple of years even waterstones wont be safe the vampire books my daughter bought as a teenager in the young adult section would have made my dads hair curl had he had any…the best you can do is try to get her to consider why she wants things and whether they are really worth the cash she has to part with

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:26 pm

      You are so right – just think of Fifty Shades of Grey! Honestly, you can’t go anywhere without seeing piles of them, and it’s hardly child friendly is it? Not that I’d let her spend her pocket money on porn obviously… there’s freedom of choice and freedom of choice…

      • 18 September, 2012 / 3:35 pm

        A.S. Neill of Summerhill (the school where lessons are not compulsory, and kids seem to learn better without coercion) says: “Freedom – not licence”. A fine distinction!

  8. 11 September, 2012 / 10:03 am

    does anybody tell you what you can spend your money on? again part and parcel of growing up. Is it not the case with children you tell them no they will do it all the more? as was proved in Rachael’s case ( can see why that not a good idea Rachel my son was the same with coke-a bit like putting a lit match to a firework -stand well back and wait!!)
    I agree £5 is a lot and if you do it for one child you have to be able to maintain for all the rest as well.

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:27 pm

      Well, not directly Elaine, but when you think about it, a lot of your financial decisions DO get made for you, like I have to spend money on gas and electricty and rent and food. I agree that she needs some freedom, but perhaps it’s a valuable lesson to learn that we can’t always just spend every penny on whatever we want?

  9. 12 September, 2012 / 7:47 pm

    As the mum of under six’s I am not in a position to advise you. However my gut tells me to let her buy £2 worth of sherbert because the whole point of pocket money is that its hers.

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:30 pm

      And I can drop her at yours on the way back from the shops yeah? ;-)

  10. 14 September, 2012 / 7:58 am

    I like the sound of Roosterbank – one to share. As a mother of younger children, I was useless at pocket money-consistency, but now my kids are grown-up, they are better at budgeting than I. I was however fanatic about no white bread and Barbies. We did have one Sweetie Day a week (Saturday) which helped control the sugar habit. (And when the eldest girl inherited a second-hand Barbie, she chopped Barbie’s hair off and covered her with tattoos.). I think trusting our kids
    is probably a Good Thing.

    • 18 September, 2012 / 3:31 pm

      I’m always fascinated by the things people get passionate about. White bread and Barbies seem like pretty solid choices, but it’s so hard isn’t it when there is so much shite in the world. We’ve boycotted Nestle for ten years, but I drink coke and eat in McDonalds, and sometimes wonder what the point is of anything, but I guess you can’t do everything, you just have to choose your battles!

  11. 25 March, 2013 / 6:11 pm

    What a great blog, hopefully £2 wont get spent on Lemon Sherbert every week, and maybe some will go on some toys which will last a little longer, but if she is happy and she cleans her teeth often enough then its all good experiance on handling money for the future.

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