Wednesday, July 18, 2018
News Roundup

Giving your kids an allowance can save you money in the long run

Sometimes it takes money to save money.

This is what I've learned as a mother of three. By giving my children a weekly allowance they can spend on Legos, that Tinker Bell diary or those extra clothes they don't really need, I don't end up plunking down lots of money at once.

Any budget expert will tell you it's better to pay $25 to three kids once a week than an extra $200 when you go on vacation or $80 when two teenage girls head to the mall.

Opinions abound on the pros and cons of allowance.

Some parenting experts think children should do the basics, such as making their beds and clearing the table without being rewarded. It's a rule of the household, period. Others say they should make real contributions to the household, such as doing laundry or fixing meals without pay because families should support each other.

Other experts suggest giving kids money each week that isn't tied to chores so they learn to manage money. Then you can pay them extra for chores beyond the basics.

A 2010 survey of 506 families conducted by American Express found 62 percent of parents give children a weekly allowance. The average weekly amount is $12, or $48 a month. The majority of those paying parents, or 85 percent, tie the money to chores.

If you do decide to dole out an allowance, a pretty common rule is a dollar for each year of a child's age with a cap of $10.

The average allowances for the 6- to 8-year-old set is $4.80 per week, according to a recent Nickelodeon/Yankelovich Youth Monitor survey. For a 9- to 11-year-olds, it's $7 per week; and $16.60 for the 12-17 bracket.

The most frequently cited tasks children ages 6 to 17 performed were: cleaning their room, taking out the garbage, doing dishes, caring for a pet and doing laundry.

My kids have to do the basics — keep their room decent, handle their dirty dishes and feed the dog when he's kicking his bowl around — just to reside with their devoted parents in our house. For extra weekly chores such as emptying the dishwasher, babysitting a younger brother, yard work and cleaning windows, they receive an allowance based on their age.

Not only does this system allow me to give them smaller amounts of money regularly instead of a lot all at once, it keeps me from buying them stuff they don't really want or need.

It's amazing to see what they can do without when buying an item with their own money.

That Hagrid's Hut Lego set for $40? "I'm not as into Harry Potter as I used to be," my 9-year-old son decided when visiting a Lego store on vacation this summer. He opted for a $10 police helicopter and two Minifigures for $3 each.

My 13-year-old daughter asked me to buy her a $3.99 pink, plastic ball of lip gloss at the Target checkout line when we were buying school supplies. I balked, but suggested she buy it with her allowance.

"I don't want it that much," she replied.

Of course, I do bend sometimes and buy them stuff they should pay for themselves. And, once in a while, I can go three weeks in a row without cash to pay them on Saturdays, then I get hit with a big allowance bill at once.

I think it was our first trip to Disney World with two children in tow when I was hit with the sticker shock and emotional buying that convinced me they should have their own money to spend.

A couple of stuffed animals and colored pencils sets bedazzled with princesses set me back almost $75. This was after the admission tickets and four overpriced lunches.

My daughters were too young for chores at the time. So when they got crisp dollars from grandparents on birthdays, I told them they could spend the money right away or save it for our next trip to Disney World. When one wanted to spend hers instead of saving it, I reminded her that her sister would get to pick out her own toy at Disney, but she wouldn't. She saved it, of course.

The following summer, we were taking them to New York City for the first time and their birthday money was long gone. So we held a yard sale.

"If you sell your old toys and books that you don't use anymore, you'll have money to buy something new at the American Girl Store or the giant Toys 'R' Us store in Times Square," I told them.

A month later when my 5-year-old bought the purple stuffed unicorn with a horn that lit up and played music she declared: "I'm never going to yard-sale this." Sadly, she did four years later.

But I bought it for $3 and have it tucked away safely in the linen closet.

News researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

Comments
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Pinellas County softball team

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Pinellas County softball team

Player of the year: OF Faith Allen, Jr., Palm Harbor UniversityPitcher of the year: Tori Brennan, So., East LakeCoach of the year: Linda Derk, Admiral FarragutFirst teamP Alanah Rivera, So., Boca CiegaP Savannah Farkas, Sr., Northside ChristianP Bre ...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
AP sources: Kawhi Leonard going to Raptors, DeMar DeRozan to Spurs

AP sources: Kawhi Leonard going to Raptors, DeMar DeRozan to Spurs

The Kawhi Leonard saga in San Antonio is on the cusp of ending, with the Spurs reaching an agreement in principle on Wednesday to send the 2014 NBA Finals MVP to the Toronto Raptors for All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan. Danny Green also will be going to ...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game, 8-6, in 10 innings

Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game, 8-6, in 10 innings

WASHINGTON — A record 10 home runs . A slew of strikeouts. The all-or-nothing All-Star Game mirrored what baseball has become. Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer homered on consecutive pitches to begin the 10th inning, and the American...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Housing starts tumbled 12.3 percent in June

Housing starts tumbled 12.3 percent in June

Associated PressWASHINGTON — U.S. homebuilders sharply curtailed the pace of construction in June as housing starts plummeted 12.3 percent. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 m...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
The history of drinking straws: ancient beer slurper, erotic object, ocean polluter

The history of drinking straws: ancient beer slurper, erotic object, ocean polluter

Our plastic pollution pandemic has a new poster child: the straw. Buoyed by a disturbing viral video of a researcher prying a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose, the utensil rose to topple the plastic bag and six-pack can holder as the ite...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Food tours offer an informative, and delicious, look at different areas of Tampa Bay

Food tours offer an informative, and delicious, look at different areas of Tampa Bay

There is a running list on my phone of restaurants to try. A romantic evening at St. Petersburg’s Reading Room. The Safety Harbor double date night, so we can finally take our friends to Pizzeria Gregario. Splurging on the chef’s tasting menu at Nobl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Blake Snell’s All-Star debut

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Blake Snell’s All-Star debut

The Rays' Blake Snell makes his All-Star debut with a memorable first pitch, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says he likes the Rays' new stadium plans, and there is controversy at the Home Run Derby.Plus, Florida head coach Dan Mullen says the Gators ha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
EU fines Google a record $5 billion over mobile system

EU fines Google a record $5 billion over mobile system

BRUSSELS — The European Union fined Google a record $5 billion Wednesday for using the market dominance of its Android mobile operating system to force handset makers to install Google apps, reducing choice for consumers.EU Competition Commissioner M...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs’ new run defense will be tested early, often in 2018

Bucs’ new run defense will be tested early, often in 2018

Much of the focus on the Bucs upgrading their defensive line has been, understandably, that Tampa Bay finished last in the league in sacks last season, with just 22. But as Gerald McCoy pointed out several times in 2017, you can't get to the quarterb...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Hillsborough County softball

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Hillsborough County softball

Player of the year: P Jodi Handler, Sr., AlonsoPitcher of the year: Ashley Blessin, Jr., Plant CityCoach of the year: Bob Diez, ChamberlainFirst teamP Haley Murphy, Sr., East BayP Shannon Maloney, Sr., ChamberlainP Gabby Vallee, Sr., ChamberlainP Cas...
Updated: 1 hour ago