Blake and I recently took notice of Shannon's great system of allowance for her 13 year old daughter, Payton. We adapted it to Carter and his age and what we want him to learn from it. Rather than giving him $5 a week, which really doesn't amount to much during our three-times-a-week trips to Target, we are now giving him $20 at the beginning of each month. Chores are separate and expected and have no bearing on his allowance.
From that amount, he has to deposit 20% into his savings account and then the rest is for him to spend at his leisure. But, once it's gone, it's gone and no more will be given out until the first of the month.
We're trying to teach him to manage his money - something I was never really taught as a kid. My parents instilled a a great sense of work ethic in all of us, but never any skills on how to spend/save/invest the money we made.
The $16 Carter has remaining each month goes towards toys, candy, video games, etc. Shannon's system takes it much further and Payton pays for her lunches at school, movies, gifts for friends, etc....which I think is brilliant. Carter is too young for such responsibilities, so we're starting small, but will work up to something similar when the time is right.
We don't buy our kids random toys throughout the year - instead, only for holidays and special occasions. We, of course provide entertainment and plenty to do, but try to stay away from always buying "things", as this can lead to expectations in life we'd rather him not have. So, his allowance becomes very important to him in this regard.
Upon explaining all of this to Carter, I was encouraged by his initial reaction:
"Mom, how much is 12 times 20?" He wanted to know just how much he'd make in a year, if he could find it somewhere inside himself to actually save the money each month. Unfortunately, my encouragement faded when he spent the entire $16 on one trip to Target the first chance he got. So, we've got some work to do. He'll learn over the next few weeks left in July that he should have saved some of his money for our trip to Texas, souveniers at Elitch Gardens, etc.
I told Blake that it could take months for him to learn from this and more than likely, he'll spend the entire $16 at the first of each month....but eventually, his doing without for the remainder of the month will sink in and some good skills will be learned. Wish us luck.