Help! My House is a Disaster :: Allowing My Kids to Get an Allowance


“I am NOT giving my kids an allowance,” says young wife to young husband. That was months before their first was born and years before they would finally cave. (That was me, by the way.)

In today’s world, parents are hit with 101 reasons why and how certain types of parenting create entitled kids who turn into entitled adults. As a young mom, I put giving kids an allowance in that category. But just like I had to find Santa on my terms, I also had to find this money-for-chores thing on my terms as well.

It started when we went to Target for the umpteenth time, and my 6-year-old wanted a treat for being good. We had trained him to be good for a treat. Hello?! Not acting like a lunatic in a store was a part of being a good citizen and did NOT deserve a treat. I was disappointed in myself for relying on a treat just to enjoy a trip to Target. (Don’t get me wrong: bribery has its place!)

The next time we went to Target, my 4-year-old really wanted a gumball machine. It was five dollars I just simply couldn’t justify for a piece of plastic and gross gum that lost its flavor in 5 seconds.

These two experiences really stuck with me over the next weeks as I struggled with how to handle this allowance thing. With an almost 7-year-old who clearly couldn’t work, it was definitely nearing the time we would need to make some decisions.

You see, I grew up where certain chores were just a part of being in the family. I was never paid to set the table or wash/dry the dishes. No one even did my laundry for me. I was taught to do that when I could reach the knobs (and mastered the sorting concept).

And on the other hand, I wanted my kids to have their own money to waste spend on gumball machines and fidget spinners that forced them to make difficult decisions when the money ran out. Plus, let’s be real: with 3 kids, 2 full-time jobs, and a dog, our house was a disaster and could use a few extra, albeit tiny, hands around the house, even if said hands left more streaks than clean!

So after lots of research of what all the Pinterest moms were doing and asking around to some friends, we decided (as a family) on a chore chart.

Chore Chart Organization

Certain chores are expected as a member of our family. These chores pay out $2/week for simply working to keep our house in order.

  • Putting your laundry away
  • Putting clothes in the dirty clothes basket
  • Cleaning up toys nightly
  • Cleaning your plate after dinner
  • 1 family chore (one feeds the dog, and one puts him in and out of his crate)

Other chores are considered “extra.” They have payouts per chore based on difficulty (and how many times Mommy has to redo the chore).

  • Window washing
  • Storm door washing
  • Vacuuming bedroom
  • Vacuuming living room
  • Mopping hall and living room
  • Mopping kitchen floor
  • Cleaning toothpaste in the sink

This felt good for us. It’s giving the kids responsibility with their things, our family common areas, and with their money—particularly lessons on instant gratification vs. saving up for something that’s more meaningful. It’s a win-win-win if you ask me.

I’ll have to admit that our house is still a bit of a disaster, but at least they’re trying. And the best part is, I don’t have to feel guilty for saying no to that crap in the $1 bins at Target. Although let’s be real: it’s really me we have to keep out of that section.

What kind of system do you have in your home? Allowance? Chores? Please share, because I’m sure as the kids get older, our chart will need editing!


  1. This is something I’ve been debating on myself… I grew up the same way… chores are part of being family… I’m thinking I might have a happy medium… expected chores, because you’re family, and family helps. But then extra chores that can be completed for some spending money.

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