Did you get an allowance when you were growing up? As a young teen, I was awestruck at the notion of my peers getting five to ten dollars every week simply because they existed in their family’s home. In 1984, five to ten dollars went a long way! Having that kind of money at one’s disposal meant going to see the release of “Karate Kid,” heading to Pizza Hut with friends, or going to a summer carnival to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Scrambler.
Although I did get to do all those fun teenagery things, I always felt as though I was at the mercy of my parents’ case-by-case financial discretion rather than being empowered to make spending decisions myself. Consequently, I didn’t learn how to budget until I was an adult. At that point, spending no longer meant asking an authority figure for money to buy this or go there. I either had the money to pay for the things I needed and wanted or I didn’t. I learned as a young adult
that if I didn’t plan ahead for the expected and unexpected, the money wouldn’t be there unless I wanted to go into debt. (I didn’t.)
Fast forward a number of years. When we had children, my husband Travis and I knew we wanted them to learn budgeting skills and financial “cents” (ha!) at a young age and gradually introduce them to more financial responsibility as they got older. Here is what we did at various ages and stages.