Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis


My parents were big on teaching us the ways of the financial world. And the lessons started early.

We each got an allowance from a really early age. There was one rule and it was never ever broken. No advances. If you ran out of money, you were DOA until allowance day. Oh and the other rule is that we were required to give 10% of any money we got - allowance, jobs, gifts - to the church. No exceptions.

We were expected to help out around the house. Take out trash, load and unload the dishwasher, set the table, make our beds, keep our rooms tidy. These were requirements for living in the house and not tied to our allowance.

As little kids we got little money. And as we got older we got more. When we hit 8th grade, our allowances took a turn. We got allowances structured to cover everything we needed. Mother and Daddy would pay for the house, breakfast, dinner and snacks and anything medical. Our allowances would be structured to pay for anything else. No more random handouts from parents for anything. We got one amount once a month that covered clothes, movies, gas, books, anything we wanted to buy.

I don't remember the amounts. The amounts varied because they were based on needs. I ate a pre-paid lunch at school but my sister got extra for lunch money. I drove my self to school and back every day, so I got extra money for that gas. The rest was really enough to cover what we needed. It was enough to buy a new sweater or a new dress. But not two and not a coat, for instance. So you had to save some to accumulate enough for stuff you really really wanted.

It was really a smart plan and it taught up a whole lot. We could spend our money on anything we wanted. We were never told no. It was our money. We could blow it all on the 2nd day of the month on record albums or make up but then there was not a dime more until the first of the next month. You were only allowed to get a paying a job if your grades were excellent. Mine were not close. The exception was babysitting but, You could babysit ONLY on Friday and Saturday nights or weekend afternoons.

Early on, while still in Junior High, I had extra money added into my allowance to cover school lunch. So I just started making a sandwich at home and carrying it to school. I did this for about a week until, I went to kitchen to make my sandwich and saw a price list on the fridge. If you made your lunch at home, you had to pay for it.

Back in the day, there were fabric stores with really good fabric easily available and way cheaper than store bought clothes (not so much the case these days) so I honed my sewing skills and saved some there. I never got my hair cut. I made good use of the babysitting exemption. I learned the value of saving and rarely saved even a penny.

There were pitfalls. I envied my friends who, when they wanted to go to the movies or buy new shoes, just went to their parents and asked for money and got it. I had to wait, plan, budget. But, I didn't have to beg or justify. Their plan gave me a really nice financial foundation. I fell off the Good Ship Money Sense many times over the years but I was able to get back on, I'm convinced, because of the head start I got with their whacky allowance plan.

To Be Continued
Tags: tbc
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