Working Out Pocket Money

Most of us need to earn money to live – unless we’re counting on a big Lotto win! Money certainly doesn’t grow on trees, nor is there an endless supply of notes in a machine in the wall at the bank. It’s a hard lesson for kids to learn.

Some kids get money whenever they ask for it. Some kids don’t get any money at all. Some kids will receive pocket money to teach them about earning and managing money from a young age. It can teach them about being rewarded for work. They can also learn about budgeting, spending and saving. If you want to give pocket money to your kids, there are a few things you may want to consider before you begin.


If you’re able to, take your kids to your work so they can see where you go and what you do to earn money to pay for things like food, clothes and petrol.

How old should kids be before they get pocket money?

There are no rigid rules. It’s really up to you to decide when they are ready for it. Ideally you don’t want to be giving a child pocket money to spend until they are aware of the value of money.

How much pocket money should kids get?

There’s no secret mathematic equation that’ll give you the answer. It will depend on how much you can afford to give them, and how much you think is a fair amount for what the money is to be used for.

Sometimes, kids get a set amount of pocket money each week. Sometimes the amount of money will vary. You could choose to link the amount of money to your child’s age. For example, if you have a 7-year-old, they could get seven dollars a week. Most of the time, the amount of pocket money that a child gets would increase as they get older.

How much are Kiwi kids receiving?

Wondering what the usual amount of pocket money is for kids in New Zealand? A report by CensusAtSchool in 2017 reported that in their survey of students aged 9 to 18, 59% of kids confirmed that they had received pocket money, a gift or an allowance. The median received was $15. A quarter of the students got between $1 and $6. Another quarter received $30 or more.

“Six in 10 schoolchildren taking part in the national CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura reported that they received pocket money, an allowance or a cash gift the week before participating, getting a median of $15.” Source: CensusAtSchool

Should kids have to earn their pocket money?

Ah, the great debate! You can give kids pocket money without expecting them to do anything in return or you can give kids a set amount of pocket money in return for doing household chores.

Make sure the chores suit the age of your kids – like making beds, picking up toys and putting dirty clothes in the laundry. Kids will have to do other chores to earn a little extra pocket money. This can help them learn about the value of money and that it takes time to earn it.

Other parents believe doing chores is part and parcel of being a family and choose to give their kids pocket money for other reasons like getting good marks at school, on their birthdays, or as a special treat.

How is the pocket money to be used?

Pocket money can be used for lots of different things. It really depends on the age of your kids, how much pocket money they get and what costs it’s expected to cover. For younger kids, some of the money might be used to buy lunch at school once a week. Older kids, for example, could be expected to contribute some of their pocket money towards buying clothes, shoes, or mobile credit. It’s important to give kids control over (at least) some of their pocket money. It’s how they’ll learn about spending money and saving money.

A lot of parents prefer their children to put a percentage of their pocket money into savings, say half into a savings account and half for their own spending.

This article was written for Kidspot – New Zealand’s leading parenting website. Sources include The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and Understanding Money.

Read more on Kidspot:


  1. TwinMum 13/12/2019 at 7:11 am

    We have 4 jars each for the twins labeled: SPEND, SAVE, INVEST, GIVE. They get $10 in $1 coins each, each week. $3 goes into each of their Spend, Save, Invest jars & $1 in Give. When the Save jar gets full (they are only little jars) we all go into the bank to deposit the $. This is used for their big ticket wishlist items that family also contributes to with cash gifts. Also they can use some of this when in holiday. Their invest jar is for money making schemes – lemonade stands etc. They can withdraw $ but it has to be put back from their profits. They can choose to spend or save their profits. The Give jar they choose which charity they wish to give to like an animal org or if they see a homeless person and give $1-2 each to them or to school run charities like Daffodil Day etc. They have just done the Shoebox Christmas charity and brought gifts to be given to children their age who may not get gifts this year.
    Hope that explains what we do.

    • Julie - Editor 15/01/2020 at 7:17 am

      That is a fantastic idea and love the spend, save, invest, and give split.

  2. felicity beets 01/11/2018 at 7:13 pm

    It must be hard to decide what pocket money to give especially when their friends are all getting something different. I like the idea of saving some and using whilst on a family holiday.

  3. Alezandra 31/10/2018 at 10:34 pm

    This was such a good read. And all the comments of other parents gave me ideas of how kids get to earn their pocket money. It’s good to teach kids how to save too even at a young age, it teaches responsibility and discipline as well.

  4. Shelz69 31/10/2018 at 1:49 pm

    My two children get $2 a week and they have small scheduled amount of chores, ie diswasher 3 times a week each, they have to make sure there room is tidy everyday, make their school lunches, do there homework, and take a turn mopping and vacuum.. It isn’t much money or tasks but I plan to take the kids on a holiday once a year and this gives them $104 each to spend, and that saves me money when we go on holiday 🙂 Plus it is less chores for me 🙂 The kids also like to earn more money for there computer games etc and this is usually based on bigger chores like cooking tea, cleaning the car. I think it is good for them to learn that chores are a part of life and getting the habit installed into them now makes it easier for adulthood. I also like to teach them about money and let them learn whether they are a saver or a spender and how to enjoy the best of both worlds.

  5. Kjgee 27/10/2018 at 8:21 pm

    Chores in our home is just part of being in our family and in the house. And chores start from early on (my 3 year old loves to vacuum!) so it is a very normal part of their lives. They don’t get regular pocket money, but do get money if we are going to a fair or during school holidays etc.
    they get a fair bit of money for birthdays from our (large) extended family, and my eldest spends straight away, where as my son saves and saves it all up! I don’t think forcing my daughter to save would help her either … their money personalities just seem to be who they are!

  6. MuddledUpMolly 23/10/2018 at 9:32 pm

    This is definitely something my husband and I are looking into for our 8 year old. Currently his only ‘chores’ involve cleaning up after himself and following a list as he is very forgetful. We have told him though that once he starts doing his jobs without the need to be reminded, that we would look into starting to give him pocket money.

  7. Shorrty4life1 20/10/2018 at 7:59 pm

    This is a great read with lots of tips and tricks about pocket money. My children get $5 a week for doing tea time dishes. I think this is great for them to know that us as adults work for money so kids need to also.

  8. dawnblyth 16/10/2018 at 10:44 pm

    When I was a child I had chores to do weekly and we would earn pocket money which we could spend on whatever we wanted – it wasn’t much but it was teaching us the value of money, that you have to earn it. My 9yr old son has jobs that he does around the house, that contribute to the daily household chores such as emptying dishwasher etc. I think this teaches him that he also needs to take responsibility for things in our house. He doesn’t always get cash pocket money but he does get things in kind – entry to a soccer tournament, new football boots, extra playstation time. He earns them all and he knows if he doesn’t do his share that his rewards will be removed.

  9. Bevik1971 15/10/2018 at 10:58 am

    I think earning pocket money is important – they need to learn the value of a dollar and that it doesn’t grow on trees! Our nearly 6 year old is just starting to do the pocket money thing now, we haven’t really made it a thing until now. I am in the process of doing a chart for her so she can do some little chores like tidying her room daily and maybe helping with dishes etc. She’s keen to do it and we will reward her for it – but it won’t be a lot, probably $1 at the end of a week or something 🙂

  10. Mands1980 13/10/2018 at 9:15 pm

    We don’t give our children pocket money but if they really do want something then they may have to work extra hard or do favours for grandparents and they pay them for chores. We try get our kids to make there beds and put clothes in the wash, tidy there rooms to a certain extent for no money.

  11. SarahBlair 13/10/2018 at 4:40 pm

    We don’t give pocket money as money is often tight and we expect our children to contribute to the household chores without getting paid because they live here too. If they do something above and beyond the norm they will get paid for the extra effort or if they do particularly well in school they might get money or a special treat.

  12. kymmage 12/10/2018 at 8:03 pm

    We don’t really do pocket money. The kids have chores they do and I just buy them something at the shops every now and then as a treat. However, in summer we also do a money prize for reading. So they have to read x number of books and difficulty level is taken into account as well. And they have to answer questions about the books too.

Leave A Comment