Pocket money: what to give your kids and how to make them earn it

Pocket money can help children learn about money management and responsibility so managing it correctly is essential.

piggy bank with coins
(Image credit: getty images)

Teaching your child about money from an early age has several benefits. It can help your child learn to budget and save and it can reduce your child’s chances of getting into debt as an adult. 

So, if you’re planning to give your child pocket money, how much should you give and at what age should they get it?

(MORE: Bank accounts for kids)

Pocket money basics 

One of the biggest decisions parents have to make about pocket money is when to start giving it to their children. There are no hard and fast rules on this and ultimately, it comes down to personal choice. 

Some parents choose to give their children pocket money from as young as four years, while others prefer to wait until their child is eight or nine. Whatever age you choose, it’s important that your child understands how much they are getting and when. 

As soon as you start giving your child pocket money, it’s wise to encourage them to put their cash in a money box so that they can save up. Rather than letting them rush out to buy the first toy or bag of sweets they can find, encourage them to save up their money over a period of time so that they can buy something more expensive such as a video game.

How much pocket money should I give? 

 The next big decision concerns the amount you should give. You might want to base this on factors such as your child’s age, how much you can afford as a family, and what you expect the money to pay for. 

Some parents like to give older children enough to cover transport costs or outings, while younger children may get a smaller amount to pay for new toys. 

To give you a better idea, family finance app, RoosterMoney, has pulled together some weekly averages as follows:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Child's ageWeekly average pocket money

Remember these are just averages – you should only give your children an amount you can afford each week or month. 

Household chores and pocket money 

Some parents choose to give pocket money each week regardless. But others prefer to give additional cash on top of regular pocket money as a reward for good behaviour or for carrying out chores around the home. 

Again, this is your decision to make but the promise of payment can be a good way to motivate your child to carry out household chores. 

Try to make sure the chores are regular, so younger children could be rewarded for tidying their toys away or setting the table, for example, while older children could receive payment for taking the bins out, hoovering or cleaning the car. 

Tips for giving pocket money 

  • Be clear about what pocket money is to be spent on and what it shouldn’t used for. As part of this, you might want to agree that some of the money goes into savings.
  • For older children, consider depositing the money straight into a bank account.
  • Set a particular day of the week or month that your child will receive their pocket money and stick to it. This will help your child get used to earning a salary in later life.
  • If you’re giving your child money for household chores, be clear about how much they will earn for each chore.
  • Try to avoid supplementing pocket money or paying in advance if they have run out of funds.
  • Let your child make mistakes - it’s an important part of the learning process.
Rachel Wait

Rachel Wait is a freelance journalist. She has been writing about personal finance and consumer affairs for over a decade, covering everything from credit cards and mortgages to pensions and insurance. She has written for a range of websites and national newspapers, including Mail on Sunday, the Observer, Forbes and the Spectator.

Rachel is keen on helping consumers understand their finances.