Making Allowance Fun

Making Allowance Fun

It was great being interviewed last week for an article about fun ways to teach kids about money in US News & World Report.

But the reporter did not include some of my favorite fun financial activities:

Allowance Calculator. See how much your kids’ allowance would have been worth when you were their age or how much whatever you received would be worth today.

• Financial Responsibilities. Doesn’t sound like fun? Maybe it’s not the ha-ha sort of fun, but when kids feel like they are in the driver’s seat, controlling some of their expenses—a combination of wants and needs—they will be more engaged in making decisions. Some of those decisions will be mistakes. It’s important to let them do so, and feel the consequences. If they spend all their lunch money on a new video game, their tummies will growl at lunch time. They will not shrivel up and die; but they if they feel the consequences they will learn and think before they do that next pay day.

• Charitable Giving. Making this a family affair can be fun, meaningful and educational. After putting all those nonprofit solicitations in a folder for a few months, choose an evening or weekend afternoon to sit down together and decide which ones, as a family, you will support. Kids can pitch in whatever they have set aside for charity, and you can tell them how much you plan to give, and then discuss priorities. How much local versus global? How much for the latest weather or other disaster? Which causes resonate most to you and your children: perhaps research for a disease a family member or friend has; the local animal shelter; a loved one’s kickstarter campaign; or a school-sponsored cause.

• Board and online games. The reporter mentioned a few, but I also had suggested others that are equally fun and educational, including Payday, The Allowance Game (actually, I found two: one by Lake Shore Learning and another sold by Mayer Johnson).

Now find some time to sit down with your kids and have fun!