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    • MSE Nick
    • By MSE Nick 7th Oct 16, 1:42 PM
    • 254Posts
    • 78Thanks
    MSE Nick
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should we increase our son's pocket money?
    • #1
    • 7th Oct 16, 1:42 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should we increase our son's pocket money? 7th Oct 16 at 1:42 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    Our son's been complaining he gets less pocket money than his friends. We've told him that if he wants more money he should get a part-time job; he says he's working hard for his GCSEs and so hasn't got the time. Should we relent or stand firm?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

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Page 1
    • scotsbob
    • By scotsbob 12th Oct 16, 12:10 AM
    • 4,462 Posts
    • 6,958 Thanks
    • #2
    • 12th Oct 16, 12:10 AM
    • #2
    • 12th Oct 16, 12:10 AM
    If you can afford it yes. If you can't explain why you can't.
    • Lisbon
    • By Lisbon 12th Oct 16, 12:37 AM
    • 344 Posts
    • 317 Thanks
    • #3
    • 12th Oct 16, 12:37 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Oct 16, 12:37 AM
    You're his parents. Is he really working hard - studying at home, getting good grades at school etc? If so, why jinx it. Find him some things to do round the house or in the garden and pay extra when he does them.

    If on the other hand he's a layabout today, tell him so and stand your ground until you see a real improvement in his work ethic and school results.
    • kazt2006
    • By kazt2006 12th Oct 16, 6:44 AM
    • 34 Posts
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    • #4
    • 12th Oct 16, 6:44 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Oct 16, 6:44 AM
    I guess it depends on what the differential is between the friends!

    My initial reaction was stick to your gut instinct and say no. However, if it's a constant source of friction in the house, then I would suggest possibly talking to the other parents so if you know them to see whether the claims are true. This will also reinforce if there is no bullying going on or that he is not getting into bad habits.

    The other option is to bribe him with his GCSE results if you can afford it. Say he can't have an increase in pocket money but set a level he must achieve to receive extra reward. e.g. No. of A* Grades, or No. of subjects he gets better than predicted grades.
    • redfred66
    • By redfred66 12th Oct 16, 8:30 AM
    • 18 Posts
    • 239 Thanks
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 16, 8:30 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 16, 8:30 AM
    Very similar issue in our house so we found our son a part time job delivering leaflets. he only has to do it once a month and it takes about 4 HRS so not a huge impact on study time etc... he gets paid £25 a month and as an added incentive we agreed to match this if his homework and revision is done on time.
    • tgroom57
    • By tgroom57 12th Oct 16, 8:33 AM
    • 1,298 Posts
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    • #6
    • 12th Oct 16, 8:33 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Oct 16, 8:33 AM
    If you stand firm you run the risk he will get a part-time job and say to h3ll with the GCSEs.

    I'd meet him half-way and find a way to pay for his homework grades on an ongoing weekly basis, to encourage study and because it is only the start of the year, after all. This system worked very well for mine, and made one daughter realise that 20% in Maths meant lots more work before Christmas- and she did it too.

    • MAYK7
    • By MAYK7 12th Oct 16, 9:08 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 45 Thanks
    • #7
    • 12th Oct 16, 9:08 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Oct 16, 9:08 AM

    I think people (esp. young people) need to learn/ be taught the value of money, and the only way this happens is if they have to work for things they want.

    Just handing out money because it is asked for, in my opinion, does little more than foster a sense of entitlement.

    For the record, I'm speaking as someone from a VERY poor family background who worked part-time beginning at 14, and still managed to get great GCSE and A levels results, and two bachelors degrees that I funded by working.

    I was amazed while at University by the number of students content to never work, live off loans and overdrafts and then wonder why, even with a first degree, they struggled to gain employment upon graduation - the lack of work experience REALLY hurt them.

    If you want something, I see nothing wrong with having to earn it. If you have enough free time to spend money, you have enough free time to earn some.
    • BlaEm
    • By BlaEm 12th Oct 16, 9:20 AM
    • 213 Posts
    • 179 Thanks
    • #8
    • 12th Oct 16, 9:20 AM
    • #8
    • 12th Oct 16, 9:20 AM
    You certainly should never do something just because 'all my friends get X' but he does have a point that his studies should come first, but if he's in his teens it's a good time to learn responsibilities.

    When I was about 15 my parents starting giving me an extra £50 each month (on top of my £5/week pocket money), but from that I was expected to buy all my clothes, toiletries, shoes, pay for days out with friends etc. I did also have a Saturday job - which they only let me keep because my grades didn't suffer.

    I'm sure they'd never have let me go without essentials if I mismanaged my money, but it was actually a very good lesson in budgeting and money management - knowing that I had cash in the bank but it wasn't all 'fun money'.

    We were also bribed with cash for grades in our GCSE's - and were told that there would be no extra help for driving lessons. Living in a tiny hamlet with no public transport, this was the best incentive to study hard they could think of
    Last edited by BlaEm; 12-10-2016 at 9:22 AM.
    • stmartinsdiver
    • By stmartinsdiver 12th Oct 16, 9:28 AM
    • 111 Posts
    • 115 Thanks
    • #9
    • 12th Oct 16, 9:28 AM
    • #9
    • 12th Oct 16, 9:28 AM
    Teenagers are very good (as are all children) at telling parents all their friends have better/more things than they do. Too many of them are so well funded by their parents they never get to learn the value of money as it magically appears when needed. If he gets a small weekend or early morning job he will not only appreciate what he earns or is given but he will also realise how important those GCSE's are if he wants to get a well paid job when he is no longer a student. Perhaps an offer of a small increase in pocket money if he finds and keeps a part time job would do the trick?
    • Emmagreen80
    • By Emmagreen80 12th Oct 16, 9:53 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    I went from oxbridge hopefully to ending up at a poly due to being forced to work 20+ hours a week by my parents while at college. I couldn't get the graduate job I wanted with such poor results so I went back to college in my 20's, then to uni again and ended up being a graduate in my 30's. Everybody is different but that's what happened to me.
    • ButterflyLC
    • By ButterflyLC 12th Oct 16, 10:01 AM
    • 47 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    So your son has sat you down and complained that you don't give him enough free money? I had to work to get my pocket money, i.e cook dinner, clean my room, hoover the house, do the dishes etc. When I complained that my sister did a lot less than me and wasn't taking her turn, our pocket money was stopped. So I had to work all the way through my exams, I still got high grades and went to university. It won't do him any harm to get a Saturday job so I think you are quite right to say get a part time job. I think kids need to learn the value of money these days and not be handed everything on a plate. Otherwise you are left with whiny adults that can't look after themselves properly. Stand your ground, he's being a typical teenager and just toeing the line to see how far he can get. If he's that bothered he will find a job.
    • lika_86
    • By lika_86 12th Oct 16, 10:01 AM
    • 1,263 Posts
    • 4,598 Thanks
    As he's under 16 he may struggle to find a part-time job that would have him. At least until he's 16 I'd increase what he gets (if you can).
    • EvianBackwardsIsNaive
    • By EvianBackwardsIsNaive 12th Oct 16, 10:06 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    I don't have kids myself (yet) so I'm not talking from experience, just what I think I would do.

    Rather than trying to offer rewards for attaining certain grades (which I don't believe works well in life in general, because it ALWAYS wears off and is not a true motivator) I think I will offer my kids the opportunity to increase their pocket money (up to a max weekly limit) based on how much of it they are saving rather than spending.

    This might be a dumb idea, as I've not thought about it in too much detail (No need to right now) but I figure if they are saving it rather than "wasting" it on junk then I could reward that with a larger weekly amount - When they stop saving or drop below a certain % being saved on average then their weekly allowance gets dropped back down to the starting point.

    Like I say, maybe a stupid idea but I am definitely going to be trying to make my kids savers rather than spenders and this is one way I've always thought I'd encourage it. I'm hoping saving can be as addictive as spending was for me when I was younger (and stupid)

    When I was younger I got into trouble with debts and I'm still paying for it in some ways now - I am one of the "lucky" ones who has ended up in a flexible job with a nice annual salary and my partner makes a decent wage too so I don't really need to rely on my poor (but improving) credit score as much as others might and am able to live within my means whilst paying off any remaining bad debt.

    My problem was becoming addicted to having meaningless things that my younger self thought were important, but if I'd been encourage more to save I might have got hooked on this instead - I must say that as I get older and am able to save more of my salary it is quite addictive to try and live frugally and save up larger and larger amounts where possible.

    So maybe this could work with kids pocket money, where as long as they maintain a saving target they get a bonus on top, the longer they save the bigger the bonus grows (up to a limit where it sits for as long as they maintain the target)
    • kazwookie
    • By kazwookie 12th Oct 16, 10:09 AM
    • 9,653 Posts
    • 121,957 Thanks
    First I'd check with other parent what they actually give their children.

    Kids have a way of expanding on this, so not to seem the odd one out, and expand on money etc
    Sun, Sea
    Slinky start date 29.01.18 28 to go / -10 so far and counting!!
    • janiebquick
    • By janiebquick 12th Oct 16, 10:10 AM
    • 405 Posts
    • 507 Thanks
    If he is working hard for his GCSEs, then you should not force him to work, although you could pay him to do little jobs about the house.
    'Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.' George Carlin
    • charis18uk
    • By charis18uk 12th Oct 16, 11:05 AM
    • 444 Posts
    • 553 Thanks
    I am in exactly the same situation as you as it happens.

    My son is in year 11 studying for GCSEs.

    I have been giving him £5 a week in pocket money but covered activities such as visits to the local indoor skatepark and occassional money for sweets etc.

    I have found that my purse seemed to always be open and I was not really keeping track of what I was giving him. Equally I also feel he was getting no idea of budgeting etc with me dealing with things on an adhoc basis.

    A post above highlights correctly that 15yr olds will struggle to find part time work as the minimum age is usually 16yrs.

    I actually would not want my son to be working during this important year but I still want him to feel like he is earning his money.

    Given that my son goes to school 0830-1600 each day (including travel) he has less free time on his hands than myself who works 3 days a week. I see school as his 'work'.

    As school is his work and I want him to remain focused on his GCSE's I am introducing a 'pay by results' or 'performance related pay'. I am directly linking his GCSE work and school commitements to his pocket money.

    My son does struggle to stay motivated at school and often gets pulled up for not doing homework. We have also had issues with lateness.

    I have decided to give him a base rate of pocket money and then this is enhanced by maintaining performance at school. Being on time, completing homework and other targeted goals all attracting uplifts to his pocket money.

    In addition (as it is a large increase) my purse will now be closed. I have also decided that online purchases will be limited to 10% (he likes to buy xbox points) and that I will oversee his management of his money.

    We are using the 'gohenry' childrens prepaid card to teach him about the 'electronic' nature of cash in the adult world and pocket money will be paid directly on to that.

    I am also considering a minimum savings amount too.

    If this increase teaches him something about budgeting or it helps him focus on his GCSEs and he comes out with good grades, it is money well spent in my opinion.
    • kimono
    • By kimono 12th Oct 16, 11:13 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    Definitely encourage him to get a part time job! I had jobs since I was 13 which didn't affect my school work at all, starting with a paper round just 1 day after school, then a cleaning job from 8-10am on weekends at a golf club, then I took some extra waitressing shifts at the golf club later on.

    Honestly, I don't believe that GCSEs are so time-consuming that he can't get a job at all. When you say 'part time job' he might be thinking of shifts at McDonalds that take up all his weekends, or having to work till 9pm every day after school... but just a Saturday morning cafe shift or a paper round twice a week will leave him plenty of time for schoolwork and socialising, as well as a couple of extra quid in his pocket!
    • Elisecas
    • By Elisecas 12th Oct 16, 11:24 AM
    • 50 Posts
    • 112 Thanks
    Being 20 years older than my youngest sibling, he always came to me when trying to work out how to get the parentals to give him something he wanted. I basically taught him the art of negotiation, and suggest you do the same. Give and take is what it is all about.

    You obviously don't want to give him extra money but he wants it. You clearly think he should get a part-time job (no bad thing, I personally think getting a part time gig is a good thing, if it doesn't disrupt studies and recovery time) but he does not.

    There is always a compromise, so what is it here? Maybe it's that you will give him extra during term time, on the basis he gets a holiday job in the summer for at least X hours a week. Or maybe its set out that he needs to get a Saturday job next year or.. What would work for you?

    Personally speaking, i think the pressure on GCSEs is phenomenally greater than when we sat exams; on the other hand I think there is great merit in earning a little money for yourself by the time you get to 15 or 16.

    I also have seen from experience that those with no work experience can suffer more than one might expect at the end of their education: when I was little my parents had zilch so the older siblings had jobs, washed cars, babysat and all that. The youngest got an allowance and didn't earn a penny of his own before graduation: it took him a year to get a job and then he was stuck in something really low paying until he pulled his finger out and made use of his expensive education. And it wasn't really his fault: I'd been telling my parents for years that when you give a kid everything they don't realise they need to work to get anything at all. Turns out I was right. Makes a change I suppose!
    • ripongrammargirl
    • By ripongrammargirl 12th Oct 16, 11:36 AM
    • 50 Posts
    • 55 Thanks
    NO, No, No! If your son wants extra money tell him to go out and earn it. At nearly 16 and revising for GCSE's (2nd year they had been done in 1989) I was delivering newspapers twice a week and working every Saturday in a supermarket restaurant from 7.30am-6pm. There is absolutely no excuse not to work and learn simultaneously, as this will be excellent experience for the future workplace when people have to juggle so much. Its all too easy to go to the bank of mum and dad who just roll over and give in to demands. What happened to parenting? Why do children just demand everything now and parents have given in to their greed for "fear of what might be said"? This is not parenting and is harming children by letting them be in charge of everything, with no boundaries or consequences imposed. The consequence here is he learns to organise himself with study and a job or he gets no money. I would love my parents to give me money each week for doing nothing because I demanded it, saying my sister earns more than me. It ain't going to happen. I am my own person and have to earn my own money. Stop giving in to this child (and all greedy kids), give them the life lessons they need to survive and say if you want money go out and earn it yourself.......
    but the OP won't because kids rule the world now as stupid parents in situations like this have allowed it to happen, and the consequence is this nation has bred a generation or two of whinging, illiterate, stupid children who thinks everything is rosy and comes easy just because they stamp their foot (like Verruca Salt) and say "I want"
    • joehoover
    • By joehoover 12th Oct 16, 11:37 AM
    • 138 Posts
    • 230 Thanks
    You are primed to teach an important lesson in life, that his friends may end up earning more than him too, cue a thousand previous dilemmas about not earning enough and expected to pay the same for a wedding gift etc etc

    Who didn't have part time jobs when they were young, many of us had no choice as our parents couldn't afford pocket money (so they said) but I've always grown up with a work ethic seeing how hard my parents worked to support us. Ended up learning how to cook as they were in late from working and got fed up with oven ready meals. Learning to fend for myself was great skill to obtain and I wouldn't have it any other way. I know rich kids who cannot even manage their travelcards without losing them every few days and losing mobile phones and having no skills to do anything for themselves as they've always been given money had things done for them and not had to sort out the consequences of their actions themselves.

    He'll be a better person and contribute more to society for working towards his goals.
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