*This story was published in April 2015.
I give mine, aged 17 and 18, R75 a week, which comes to a total monthly outlay of R600. This falls within the parameters of what British parents give theirs: according to a recent poll by research group Halifax, the average UK child aged between 8 and 15 now gets £6.13 (about R88) a week.
My kids – who both have weekend and/or holiday jobs – use their pocket money to fund their entertainment. They save up for big-ticket items like iPods and cellphones – unlike British kids which, according to the Halifax report, use their pocket money ‘for minor expenses, with parents buying more expensive items for their children’.
Of course, the term ‘minor expenses’ is fairly elastic – for instance, UK kids’ cellphone bills, which come to an average of £8.38 or R120 a month, are largely paid for by their parents. My kids pay their own phone bills.
While I give my kids, basically, what I can afford, it’s hard to pinpoint an ‘average’ allowance for South African children. My children have friends who get no pocket money at all – their parents simply can’t afford it. Yet they have others who are, in my opinion, vastly ‘overpaid’ – a few get over R500 a week! These ‘rich kids’ sometimes fund my own children’s entertainment – they pay for movie tickets, steakhouse meals and the like – and I must admit this makes me uncomfortable.
Another poll, this one done by Synovate last year, did point up something very interesting about us: the vast majority (91%) of South African parents teach their children to save money (compared to, interestingly, more than half of parents in Cyprus who teach their kids about the stock market). Also, according to the poll, more than half of South African children have to do chores to earn their pocket money, while 96% of American kids just get it given to them.
While my kids don’t ostensibly ‘earn’ their pocket money, they’re pretty cheerful about doing chores – they help out with housework, clean the car, look after the animals, and so on. And when I consider that my char, who works her butt off every Friday cleaning for my kids and me, earns R180 a stint and supports a family on her daily earnings, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that kids stretch themselves a bit to earn their moolah.
We asked our Facebook fans what they gave their kids for pocket money and this is what they had to say:
My 8 year old gets R20/week - he mostly saves until he has enough to buy something big, sometimes he would use some of it for the tuck shop at school, but that is only maybe once a month that he will do that. - Stephenie
No pocket money as yet only Tooth fairy at R20 a tooth... Eye and molars R30. - Takoda
R200 just spending money. R100 extra minimum into bank account for each 3. Oldest is 9. - Linda
My son is 3 so he doesn't get pocket money but all our change goes into his Lightning McQueen money box. That money will go into a bank account for him. - Bronwen
We don't do pocket money they get everything they need. They do chores like emptying the dishwasher, tidy rooms and make beds. They have a bank account where birthday money go into. If they want something special they must use that money. I have kids aged 11 , 10 and 4. - Amina
We put R500 into a bank account for them every month (since birth) as an investment for them, but for spending money, they have to work to get this there is no specific amount and depends on how they behaved eg. no fighting with each other, doing chores, listening to mom and dad. etc. - Tracey
R100 a month for my 9 year old. I feel that it is essential that they work for it and that they learn the value of money, how to save, budget and spend it to educate them for when they are older. - Bernadette
My 15 year old gets R150 pm & 11 year old gets R100 pm, they must use it for tuck shop, school outings & school civvies days. - Mandy
My son is 6. He gets 20 per week for feeding the dogs. His dad also gives money for chores. - Julie
To see more of their answers head on over to our Facebook Page.
Do you give your children pocket money? If so, then how much? And how much is too much? Send your comments to email@example.com for possible publication.