Finances > Children & Teen Money Tips > Tips for Kids, Their Allowance, and Going Back to School

Tips for Kids, Their Allowance, and Going Back to School

Should kids spend their allowances or any money they earn (or are given) for back to school costs? These tips for kids, their allowance, and going back to school are from Karyn Hodgens, creator of KidsSave.

Before her tips, a quip:

“By giving kids an allowance, you teach that child to work for money rather than learn to create money.” ~ Robert Kiyosaki.

And, working for money is something your kids will have to do for the rest of their lives – so the sooner they learn it, the better!  For more info about allowance for kids, read The Kids’ Allowance Book by Amy Nathan and Debbie Palen. And, read on for Hodgens’ tips for kids, their allowance, and going back to school…

Tips for Kids, Their Allowance, and Going Back to School

Should your child pay for back to school expenses? If you’ve established an allowance program for your child that includes having him or her pay for their “essentials”, usually because you’re teaching budgeting skills, then your child would buy back to school items. The allowance was most likely established with this in mind, so there should be no worries about whether the allowance will cover back to school expenses. Your child may need to shop around to get the best deals – and that’s part of learning how to budget!

You and your child could meet halfway for back to school expenses. If you don’t have that kind of an allowance system set up, and for younger kids this is most often the case, then all “above-and-beyond” expenses get covered by your child. Say, for example, that your child needs a new binder and you’ve found one that meets all her needs. She wants the binder with all the whiz-bang nifty stuff. The solution: she gets to pay the difference between the “boring” binder and the nifty one. This is when you learn how badly she really wants the binder – now that some of her money is on the line!

If your children are older, you might find 7 Money Management Tips for Teens helpful.

2 Money Saving Tips for Kids Going Back to School

Include your kids in open discussions about the family budget. Have them help you come up with ways to reduce spending for the back-to-school season. Ask them what items (wants) they can live without this year. You may find that your kids will decide that, beyond the basics, they don’t really need anything. In fact, you may actually have to “force” them to buy a new binder.

Give your kids a back-to-school budget and a list, then let them go shopping. Tell them that when the money runs out, it runs out. But if they have any money left over, it’s theirs to keep. The key is, they have to buy the items on the list. You just may be pleasantly surprised at what savvy shoppers they are, especially when there’s something in it for them. But just think of all the real-life lessons they’ll be learning!

 What did we miss? If you have any questions or tips for kids, their allowance, and going back to school — please comment below…

Karyn Hodgens has a degree in child development and a multiple subjects teaching credential.  Her passion is educating parents on the importance of financial literacy for kids.

Hodgens also contributed Tips for Teaching Money Management Skills to Kids and Money Saving Tips for Kids Going Back to School, here on She Blossoms.


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8 thoughts on “Tips for Kids, Their Allowance, and Going Back to School”

  1. make money for kids

    The most important part on teaching kids about money is by providing them an extremely useful resources. I mean make the things that no one else goes to the effort to do.

  2. teaching about money

    Awesome read! You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material.

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your allowance tips, Karyn — wonderful advice.

    I think sticking to the plane is the most difficult part….it’s one thing to set up guidelines (boundaries!), but actually following through to the end can be our downfall. Just like with financial budgets, diets, career goals…it takes discipline!

    Looking forward to more money tips from you 🙂

  4. You’re absolutely right, Laurie. When it’s their money on the line, kids tend to value things much more. Which is why your idea, AnaMarie, of having your daughter pay for her cell phone bill (or, at the very least, part of it) is a great one.

    Here’s why I love the idea of tweens and teens being responsible for their cell phones. It helps teach kids to live within their means, pay bills, and budget. Here’s how it works:

    Teaching kids for over 22 years has taught me that the best lessons are taught in the context of things that are meaningful and relevant to kids. And what is more meaningful and relevant to a teen or tween than their cell phone! It’s their lifeline to their friends. So we’re going to tap into this and sneak in the life lessons of budgeting and paying bills.

    Talk to your child about the responsibilities that come with having a cell phone: not losing it, keeping it turned off during class and dinner, and making sure they have budgeted enough money to pay their monthly bill. If they sign up for a pay-in-advance service with unlimited text and talking and no contracts, you won’t need to worry about overage fees which can be ridiculously expensive. (I know. I have two teenage boys, each with expensive cell phone stories…both involving girls!) If they forget to pay the bill the consequence is they don’t have access to their phone. It doesn’t take them long to learn how to make sure their phone bill is paid!

    And your idea, AnaMarie, about buying minutes is along the same lines. No minutes? No talking. Kids are quick to learn that they’d better budget their money correctly or they won’t have enough for their phone.

    The parents role here is to stick to the plan. Don’t give in to your child if they don’t have the money to pay for their phone. It is critical that kids learn that when the money is gone, it’s gone. If you bail them out now, they’ll come to expect it. Do you really want to set yourself up for this? (By the way, a recent study indicated that over 40% of parents whose kids run out of money, succumb and end up giving their kids more money. Don’t do it!)

    So, right on AnaMarie! You are definitely teaching your daughter to be responsible by putting her in charge of her cell phone.

  5. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi AnaMaria,

    This sounds like the perfect way to balance giving your kids what they want (and need) with teaching them the way the world works. Plus, don’t kids value the things they bought with the money they earned? That seems to be the consensus, from what I hear 🙂

  6. My 12 year old daughter asked me for an allowance and a cell phone, but I don’t want to just give it to her because I want her to acquire a sense of responsibility and work. So I’m making her do chores around the house (simple chores like doing dishes, cleaning her room, dusting, etc.). She receives an allowance of 15 dollar per month. By the end of her first month she will be able to purchase a cell phone on her own and buy minutes. I thought it was a good way to teach her responsibility, because she can buy it with her allowance.

  7. Hi Chelsey,

    Six years old is a great age to start an allowance. You’ll find that once given the responsibility of paying for her discretionary items (gum, stuffed animals, etc.) she’ll catch on pretty quickly. If you’re out and about and she asks for something your answer will be, “Sure, do you have enough money to pay for it?”

    A good rule of thumb for determining the amount is to start with half her age and then add on depending on how much she will be responsible for. So, begin with $3 per week. If you find that she’s needing a little extra you can add more. But don’t add so much that she can’t experience the life skill of creating a goal for something she wants to buy.

    I agree with not having her pay for her school supplies yet. She needs practice just handling an allowance first. Giving them a budget for their school supplies and clothes is great for middle schoolers.

    Good luck!

    Karyn Hodgens
    Money Management Educator, Kidnexions

  8. Thanks for the useful information. My daughter is 6 years old — is that too young to for an allowance? And, how much should I give her? I don’t expect her to pay for her school supplies yet.