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Should allowances be allowed?

I want to know if you think having an allowance system is a good idea. _ K.K., 10

Ramon says: I think parents should pay for most of your school clothes. But when you want something special that costs a lot of money, such as designer jeans or tennis shoes, you may have to spend some of your own money to get it. Or you may have to wait for a special day, such as your birthday.

John says: I believe an allowance system is a great idea. When I was in elementary school, I had a $3-a-week allowance. Having an allowance taught me a lot. The most important thing I learned was that money doesn't grow on trees. Having three bucks in my pocket taught me how to save and budget my money to last for the week. I also learned how to buy things from stores.

Mark says: An allowance system requires a lot of responsibility and dedication. If you want an allowance system, you should sit down with your parents and figure out what is fair. After you have talked it over with your parents, write a contract saying what chores you will do and how much you will earn. You and your parents should sign the contract and put it where you will see it each day as a reminder of what you have to do. The refrigerator is a good spot. Remember, don't blow the money you earn on useless junk, because then your parents won't want to continue the allowance system.

Mom says: Learning to spend and save money is an important lesson and one that is best taught early. Issues about allowances that parents and kids should discuss are: the amount, whether it should be earned or if it is given as a share of the family income, which expenses the child will be responsible for and how the amount should be spent. For instance, an allowance might be divided up on a percentage basis among long-term savings (a bank account for car or college), short-term savings (a fund for a special item such as a CD player or piece of sports equipment) and weekly spending money (movies, magazines, etc.)

The kids:

John Gehm, 17, is a senior at Gibbs High School, St. Petersburg.

Mark Mazurek, 12, is a seventh-grader at Our Lady of Lourdes, Dunedin, and a member of the X-Team.

Ramon Snow, 11, is a sixth-grader at Southside Fundamental, St. Petersburg, and a member of the X-Team.

And Mom:

Eileen Gilbert, former teen model and mother of two girls, ages 12 and 13, has a bachelor's degree in psychology and an associate degree in elementary education and is the coolest mom on the block.

Tell us about it!

Send your problems to X-Press Cool Aid, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33701-1121, or call the TimesLine number for your area listed on the television page and enter category code 7610.