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Allowances go to electronics and games more than anything else

2 minute read

Back in my day, if I got an allowance for chores, I’d save the cash or buy bubble gum. But us millennials didn’t grow up with smartphones.

Apps are the number one things kids buy with their allowances, British money management site Rooster Money says. Toys and candy round out the top 3. The report also details how much kids earn on average and how they’re making their money.

It turns out kids are keen on saving what they earn. The No. 1 thing children are stashing their cash away for are LEGOs. They’re also saving hard for a phone, a bike, and other toys they really want.

How do kids earn their money?

Rooster Money says more than two-thirds of parents have decided to give their kids an allowance, and some children as young as four years old are earning money. The survey showed that children 4-14 years old are making money, with 14-year-olds averaging about $8.32 a week. Their 4-year-old friends make about $2.58 a week.

Most of the time, kids make their money from doing household chores, like cleaning their bedrooms, washing the dishes, and laundry. But they can earn a few extra pretty pennies from doing other odd jobs, like washing the car ($5.20), babysitting ($9.37), or selling their things ($20.99).

It turns out parents financially reward their children for good behavior ($2.89) and brushing their teeth ($.61) — things I assumed kids were already doing? They’re also already losing teeth, and kids these days get rewarded for that, too. The Tooth Fairy is forking over more than $5 per tooth, higher than average.

Kids should also already be doing their homework, but it turns out kids are earning extra cash from doing that as well — about $3.45. An age-old reward, good grades, is still going strong, with kids making nearly $8 from doing so.

Sometimes kids need to keep doing things they’re already doing to make money, and other times just being alive is enough. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents turn over nearly $20 to a kid just for existing. Enjoy it while it lasts, kids.

And it’s not just family members that are contributing — kids 14 years old and under are making $40 on their birthdays alone.

How to teach kids about money

It turns out paying kids to do things they should already be doing is a good thing. Many times, parents reward their children with sweets, toys, and screen time instead of cash. They should skip the line and go straight for the cash.

It makes sense: giving your child money shows them that being responsible gets rewarded. It also teaches them early on the value of a dollar. They’ll learn to earn their own money and save it, too. If they want to buy something and spend their own money, they’ll realize how much they need and if it’s worth the purchase. Budgeting lessons are invaluable, but they’re also hard to teach without hands-on action.

This might help you as a parent, too. Many parents don’t know enough about personal finance to teach their kids, so showing them early on how to earn money will essentially show you how to give it. If you’re having trouble paying your kid for chores, good grades, and simply existing, maybe you should be re-working your budget to include them in it.

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About the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn is a full-time freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She’s president of Blossomers Media, Inc., a web development and online media consulting company. Along with her work on, she’s been a longtime freelancer for Money Talks News — a personal and consumer finance website — and South Florida Gay News — the largest weekly LGBT newspaper in the South. Zinn has written for a variety of other publications, including Huffington Post, The Week, Quartz, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Indulge, and

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