Friday, 7 September 2012

To pay or not to pay...

A flyer was included in Polynesian Princess’s newsletter today.  It was about pocket money, and it got me thinking.  When do people start paying pocket money, if at all?

As a child I didn’t get pocket money, but I had chores.  I had to help clean the house, I made the lunches (for my Dad and myself, and when the time came, my baby brother) and I washed the dishes after dinner.  But I never felt like I was missing out, not getting pocket money.  If I ever needed money, I just got it.

But now that I’m a parent, I’m wondering whether it has some merit.  This flyer goes on to say that giving children pocket money from a young age can help them to learn about managing money.  This is a drawcard for me, because I used to be terrible with money.  Horrible.  Infact, when I first moved in with The Architect, he caught me throwing envelopes in the bin that clearly had red lettering on it.  He asked me what they were and I gave some kind of vague answer.  After fishing the envelopes out of the bin (oh yes he did), I finally confessed that I had an overdraft in Scotland, a credit card bill in New Zealand and two (count ‘em, TWO) huge credit card bills right here in Australia.  Just looking back at that sentence makes me cringe.  He was incredulous.  “I don’t understand”, he said “what do you use your credit card for?”  I was totally dumbfounded by his question.  Speaking to him like he was the village idiot, I said “I. Use. It. To. Buy. Things. I. Can’t. Afford”.  I mean d’uh….isn’t that what they’re for???  To say we had opposite views on this topic was a total understatement.

That night changed my financial life.  The Architect helped me manage and pay off all my debts.  It took me months to do, but that feeling of freedom when I was down to only one credit card with no money owing on it, is definitely up there on my “proud moments” list.  It changed the way I spent money.  I now have no credit card debt.  None.  Ever.

When we went on an around the world trip in 2005, I spent thousands upon thousands, and when we returned to Australia I owed nothing.  Why?  Because I was busy jumping online every few days to pay off whatever amount I had used in that period.  I actually became quite manic about having a zero balance.

But I digress.  This is about children and pocket money.  And I’m genuinely curious.  Do you give your child/ren pocket money?  How old were they when you started?  How much do you give? And is it directly related to chores?

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