(This article was originally published on June 26, 2016. The article has been updated and expanded with new data on June 19, 2017)
Gone were the days we got $0.50 or $1.00 for pocket money and that would be more than enough to last us a day in school. (Okay technically you can still give your child $0.50 or $1.00 but…maybe they can only buy half a bowl of noodles?)
Common sentiment is that parents are spoiling their kids. Are parents giving their kids too much money?
A look at current prices in primary school canteens in 2016. It now costs $0.80 for a plate of chicken rice and at least $0.40 for a drink. (Photos from Tao Nan School canteen)
Since we can no longer buy a bowl of noodles or plate of rice for just $0.50, we wanted to find out how much parents are giving their primary school children these days. A poll was conducted with more than 150 parents that have children currently attending Primary School.
How Much Allowance Are Children Getting?
The amount of pocket money parents’ give their children varies, depending on the involvement of their child in school. Some children have co-curricular activities (CCAs) more frequently than others, while some children go back home for lunch which saves them lunch money. Allowance given also differs significantly between lower primary (P1-P3) and upper primary (P4-P6).
The results of our poll showed that:
LOWER PRIMARY STUDENTSDaily allowance given (average)$2.25Lowest given by a respondent$0.8Highest given by a respondent$5People WITHOUT primary school children think that they should get (average)$2.52
UPPER PRIMARY STUDENTSDaily allowance given (average)$3.10Lowest given by a respondent$1Highest given by a respondent$10People WITHOUT primary school children think that they should get (average)$3.80
It is interesting to see that people without children in primary school generally think that the allowance they should give is higher than the daily allowance parents are actually giving their children.
Allowance on a Daily or Weekly Basis?
There are pros and cons of giving allowance on a daily or weekly basis. This also depends on how old the child is and how ready they are to manage their money beyond a daily basis. From our poll, we found that more parents gave daily allowance (especially for children in lower primary) than weekly allowance.
LOWER PRIMARYUPPER PRIMARYDaily Allowance80.5%56.3%Weekly Allowance18.8%38%Monthly Allowance0.7%5.7%
Parents shared that they chose to give DAILY allowance because:
- “Too young to handle more money”
- “Teach them how to ration effectively in smaller amount”
- “So they don’t overspend”
- “To monitor her spending better”
- “I want him to be responsible so he has to ask for the allowance”
Parents shared that they chose to give WEEKLY allowance because:
- “My child has to learn how to manage his allowance”
- “Let them decide how much they want to spend daily”
- “It is a reasonable timing and teaches the child to choose how to use his or her money wisely through the week.”
- “Teach the child finance management”
- “On some days, she may need to spend more and then she has to ‘take from’ other days to cover up.”
Besides giving your child enough money for them to spend on food and drinks during recess, it is also important to consider if your children will be able to save a little each day or each week.
Teaching your children to save up some of their allowance for items they would like to purchase will help to create good habits from a young age that will follow them as they grow older.
Each parent has different parenting goals and methods. How much money would you give your primary school child?
You can also check out the overall summary of our poll.
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