Allowance not working

(26 Posts)
BastardDog Sat 06-Jul-13 16:44:04

My 12 and 13 yo get £9 per week allowance each plus £11 a week each for school lunches.

We have had problems with them not spending their lunch money at school, going all day without eating and then going to the shop in the evening to buy sweets and energy drinks instead.

The £9 allowance is being used by my 12 yo for buying the same things and my 13yo has just got back from town having spent all this weeks £9 allowance in McDonald's.

I do feed them - honest. There is always food in the cupboards / fridge, but of course they prefer sweets, energy drinks and fast food.

The deal is supposed to be that I buy school uniform, school shoes and basic toiletries, but that the rest of what they want or need is bought from their allowance. But there's no money each week and they are starting to look like tramps as well as sponging off mates and very embarrassingly their friends parents.

All this has been going on since January when we introduced this system.

They can and do get extra money for good school reports, helping with chores other than those that I usually expect, birthdays, Christmas etc

My mum thinks I should stop giving them money completely, but I'd really like to make this work if possible.

Any ideas please?

NatashaBee Sat 06-Jul-13 16:49:07

So they are supposed to buy clothes out of that £9 a week as well as going out, magazines etc? I think they may struggle with that. Do the school only let you pay cash for lunches or add it to an account?

ihearsounds Sat 06-Jul-13 16:52:42

So £9 a week is to buy daily clothing, pj's, underwear, recreational things and anything else tthey need?
What are basic toiletries?

ihearsounds Sat 06-Jul-13 16:55:21

Plus do you know if £2.20 a day will buy anything in school for lunch.
Round here it will get them a cheese sandwich made with the most vilest cheese around. I would rather starve than eat it.

BastardDog Sat 06-Jul-13 17:00:56

Basic toiletries = shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, sanitary towels for dd, but not fancy stuff like Lynx.

I buy nightwear and underwear. So I'm meaning for them to buy everyday clothes.

So for example the 12 yo has had almost £400 since January (incl her birthday money, but excluding school dinner money) and she has absolutely nothing to show for it. All gone on junk food and drinks. Plus the school lunch money that's gone the same way.

I am throwing food away at home as its past it sell by date, yet they spend all this money on food outside the home?

Do people think I'm giving them too little money?

I was working part time at 13 and got nothing from my parents so I'm finding it hard to be impartial.

BastardDog Sat 06-Jul-13 17:02:13

The meal of the day at school incls a desert and is £1.80. A drink would be on top of that price.

NatashaBee Sat 06-Jul-13 17:06:11

I assume they go out with friends and buy games/ magazines, that sort of general spending. £9 a week is fine for that but they're only kids, I can see why they're struggling to budget for clothes on top of that. I agree with what you're trying to do but I can see why they're not managing it on that amount.

NancyOsbourne Sat 06-Jul-13 17:13:54

They are too young to be expected to budget for their own clothes!! You are the parent and therefore it's your responsibility to buy clothes no question. I think you are expecting too much and frankly being tight.

I do think the allowance is a good idea though and a great way of getting them to value money and learn to budget just not for things a parent should buy.

PearlyWhites Sat 06-Jul-13 17:17:10

My dd 14 has £45 a month she has to pay for air cadets £ 10 a month £5 towards her mobile contract and any non essential clothes ie I buy enough clothes that she needs jeans tops underwear shoes etc but if she wants extra clothes eg Hollister or a new top for a party she pays for that. She also has £2 a day on her finger for her lunch. I think this amount is about right she seems to have more disposable income than me!

PearlyWhites Sat 06-Jul-13 17:18:03

Forgot to add she does specific chores to earn her allowance

bigTillyMint Sat 06-Jul-13 17:18:45

Perhaps you have launched them into the deep-end a bit too quickly? Did they have pocket money previously? I think they need to learn how to manage their money little-by-little, so that they budget for what they want/need. I think £9 a week is a little bit more than I would give at this age, but if you can afford it, no problem! It's a pain that they have to take cash to school though.

I have DC aged 12 and nearly 14. I buy all their toiletries, uniform, nightwear and underwear.

The 12yo gets £3 a week for pocket money (plus money on his school fob for lunch as he won't take in a PL any moreangry I think it's £1.50 for a Panini/baguette) I buy virtually all of his clothes, but if he wants extra fashion items, he can buy them himself. It is also for if he goes out to do stuff with friends after school/at the weekend.

The 14yo gets £25 a month and takes a PL. She buys most of her own clothes, though I sometimes treat her (Primarni bargainswink) and pays for her trips out, etc with friends.

Maybe you could cut down the amount you give them weekly and just give them some when you take them out on a shopping trip?

NatashaBee Sat 06-Jul-13 17:19:28

I think that's more reasonable in terms of the amount and the expectations, PearlyWhites. I think it's a bit too much to expect kids that age to manage an entire clothing budget.

Floralnomad Sat 06-Jul-13 17:20:41

I've never given pocket money or allowances to mine and they both know how to budget . I don't think birthday and Christmas money should be included as surely they should be able to spend that as they like as its in lieu of a present not have to use it to buy clothes. Personally I think you are being a bit tight ,but as I've never tried to do it I wouldn't like to comment on a suitable amount .

Madmog Sat 06-Jul-13 17:24:49

With regards to the money for school lunch, perhaps you could give them a packed lunch instead. If you are busy in the evenings and haven't got time to cook long winded meals, there are plenty of healthy meals that don't take too much messing around with - salmon or chicken with potatoes and frozen veggies, or perhaps you could make up a massive pasta sauce occasionally and freeze it.

Personally I don't think you're being tight with a £9 a week budget - we all give different amounts for pocket money. To be honest my 11 year old only gets £6 a month as she hardly ever spends it, she might buy one chocolate bar a month and currently has over £100 sat upstairs. We do give her £2/3 if she's off doing something with friends. My friend gives her 14 year old daughter a £5 a week allowance which is for clothes.

I appreciate you want to make it work, so perhaps you could give them a warning that you don't feel it's working and if they don't start spending some of the money on clothes, say 1-2 items a month, then they will be getting a lesser amount and you will get what you think they need as and when and they are less likely to get a choice.

Kleinzeit Sat 06-Jul-13 17:26:28

Are they possibly a bit young for so much freedom? Could you give them a packed lunch and buy (basic, inexpensive) clothes and shoes for them, and just give them (or let them earn) a bit of spending money to blow on sweets and energy drinks after school, treats like McDonalds, or else to save up for more fashionable clothes, computer games, or whatever matters to them but not to you?

ihearsounds Sat 06-Jul-13 17:32:51

Just after I posted I said to me dc's as of monday I will give you x to buy everything exlcuding uniform and basic toiletries.
I am still listening to them giving reasons, which Are all valid..

At the moment I give them pocket money. I buy their clothes and basic toiletries. Anytthing above the basic toiletries they buy. If they see a nice top or whatever, theh buy. They pay to go cinema and also their phone contracts. plus of course I provide food and drinks... To get the pocket money element they have to earn it. They dont do what is needed then they dont have as much that month.. I give their money weekly, tis better for me.

We regualrly renegotiate terms, beucae lets face it things have increased.. But bascially any money thhat comes into this house for them, goes back onto them.

BastardDog Sat 06-Jul-13 20:00:49

Thank you for your thoughts. Dh and I have discussed it with the dcs. It's clear from our chat that its too much responsibility for them at this stage / age for them to manage it successfully.

We've agreed to take back responsibility for clothes and other bits and pieces and reduce their weekly allowance accordingly. Leaving them a bit each week to blow at their discretion.

We're going to consider what to do about school lunches over the holidays as the kids are saying they need £3 a day each for lunch as they don't always like the meal of the day. £30 a week for the two of them seems a lot so we may compromise and do a mixture of PL and school dinners.

Our financial circumstances are changing significantly for the worse at end of this year and as a family we need to start keeping a much closer eye on where the money's going. The kids spending £20+ a week each on junk food while I throw stuff from the fridge away just can't continue.

TeenAndTween Sat 06-Jul-13 20:49:12

They don't need £3 per day because they don't always like the meal of the day. If you give them £11 per week for lunches thats 4 x £2 plus 1 x £3. So they look at the menu and make an informed choice which day to overspend.

I have made my DD go through phases of making and taking her own packed lunch every day as she was consistently making poor choices over meals (e.g. no fruit or veg ever). I am lucky we have a cashless card system and and see what is bought.

In your situation I would make them make their own packed lunches for say half a term, and then reinstate the £11 on condition they buy lunch. If they don't, then back to packed lunches.

specialsubject Sat 06-Jul-13 21:20:09

clearly they are still too childish to manage their own food. Stop the allowance so they have to come home to eat, or, perish the thought, eat what they are given at school.

Turniptwirl Sun 07-Jul-13 15:21:57

Maybe separate amounts for general spending and clothes? You keep the clothes money for them (money boxes? Or maybe they think that's too childish) and they ask for it when they want to go shopping, on the understanding that you expect them to have something to show for it.

flow4 Sun 07-Jul-13 22:24:05

I think your amounts are generous tbh!

£11/wk for food is fine. I give £2.20 to my DS2 (13) on days he has school lunches, but I expect him to make and take a packed lunch on some days. Most schools have a way that parents can pay/top up lunch accounts, online or by phone or cheque... If you can do that, it will save them spending dinner money on other things.

£9/wk allowance is a lot from my POV! My DS2 gets £10 per month and is expected to buy everything except clothes and basic toiletries with it. He is good at budgeting and does fine - including always having enough to buy for presents for people on birthdays/Christmas. (This isn't meant to sound smug btw: my DS1 (18) is lousy at budgeting, wastes every penny he gets and is always short of cash! hmm But £9/wk is definitely enough... )

Junk food is a huge waste of money. I understand the appeal to many children, and some parents may think their kids should be able to buy McD's etc for social or 'peer matching' reasons. But it's totally unnecessary and actively bad for them, and IMO it's really useful for kids to learn that if they waste their money on it, they'll have to do without a lot of other things.

I'd be inclined to reduce what you give them and split whatever amount you decide so that they only get half of it in their hands. I'd suggest you pay the other half into basic accounts, so that it is saved for clothes etc. You could keep the cash cards and make them come to you to tell you what they want to buy before you let them withdraw more... At least for a fixed time until they have proved they are learning how to manage their money better, and not waste it.

Arcticwaffle Mon 08-Jul-13 14:46:17

My dds that age get half that (£20 a month) but don't have to buy clothes or toiletries. They would go ragged and unwashed if I tried that, they're not very bothered about grooming or image.

I'd cut down the allowance and buy them more again. And also I'd make them take packed lunches if they make unhealthy lunch choices, though I know that's hard to control at secondary and I don't want to be too controlling- but I do want to encourage healthy eating.

If they have less, but don't have to buy essentials with it, it doesn't really matter if they "waste" it all. And they can have more when they feel capable of being more responsible with it. I had a clothes allowance at 13 but my 13 yo is really totally oblivious to clothes so it wouldn't work.

Palika Mon 08-Jul-13 15:24:36

I agree, they are way to young to budget for their clothes etc. Maybe when they are 15 or 16.

titchy Mon 08-Jul-13 15:30:49

Blimey mine get £6 a week (12 and 14yo) and have to buy their own clothes out of that - they should be perfectly capable of that tbh.

BastardDog Mon 08-Jul-13 18:54:02

Thanks everyone. It's fascinating reading all the differing views on what's the 'right' amount to give and what level of budgeting responsibility they should be capable of at this age.

I think the last 6 months with my two has demonstrated that they're not mature enough yet to handle anything more than the odd few quid here and there that I am happy to dish out knowing it'll be blown on sweets and energy drinks.

Other than that I'm going to have to hold onto the purse strings, which is a shame.

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