This week, Money Explained tackles the topic of pocket money, exploring the benefits and possible pitfalls. Our series looks at the money basics for everyone in the household, breaking it down into bitesize chunks.

Giving your children pocket money can be a great way to get them thinking about finances from an early age.

There are two general ways people give pocket money - either a regular allowance that is agreed upon and given each week no matter what, or money that’s conditional on the child doing certain jobs around the house like helping with the washing-up, hoovering, dusting the living room or a spot of gardening.

Pros and cons of pocket money

Many adults say that as kids get older and more independent, the act of giving pocket money can be a real conversation starter that can lead to lots of enlightening conversations. Other benefits of giving your kids pocket money include:

  • Learning the value of money - by having their own cash, they can begin to see how much things are worth, and can decide whether to spend or save it.
  • Allowing them to develop a healthy relationship with money – this is an important life skill.
  • Helping to build their independence – by giving them some responsibility for their money.
  • Discovering that money is something you work for - assuming they earn it by doing chores.
  • Teaching that money you have can only be spent once - for example, if your child buys a new video game today, they won’t then be able to buy lego next week with the same money. Once you spend the money, it’s gone. This can help to start learning on how to budget and how to choose between buying different things.

Research has shown that money habits form early, as young as seven, and giving pocket money can really help to boost your child’s understanding of how money works.

It’s worth being aware of some possible negatives to giving pocket money as well:

  • Your child could start to expect money for nothing - if you don’t peg their pocket money to work or tasks accomplished.
  • It can create envy - if your child earns more or less than their friends.

Ways of giving pocket money

One option is to give your children cash for their pocket money, which you can then encourage them to look after and keep safe.

However, you might not always want to give them cash at all, especially with the current concerns around physical contact.

An alternative to cash is to make use of Starling Kite, a debit card for young people aged 6 - 15. It’s like a bank account, but as the adult, you get better control and visibility. Starling Kite is managed through our app, and you can load on pocket money in an instant. As the adult, you can also check and control specific activities such as cash withdrawals or online payments, and set daily spend limits. A Kite card comes ready blocked for merchants that aren’t age appropriate, including pubs and betting agents. Real-time notifications let you know exactly how they are spending.

Another useful thing about the Starling Kite option is the security. With Kite, if there’s ever a scare about the card being lost or stolen, you can lock / unlock the card with just a tap, in the app.

How much pocket money should I give?

This is a big question that we’ll look at in a future Money Explained article - ultimately it will come down to how much you can afford and how much you think your child should get, but we’ll explore factors you can use to help you decide.

You could also ask friends how much they give their kids, and encourage your children to chat to their friends about how much they’ve been able to save. Talking openly about money isn’t something that comes naturally to some people, but it’s really helpful for your children to learn that money isn’t a taboo topic.

Read the other articles in our Money Explained series:

Sharing and giving

Saving up for something special

Money: Needs vs wants

Teaching kids how to stay safe with money

How children learn about money

Different ways to pay

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