Pocket money is a hot topic when your kids are small – because it seems every parent has different ideas about how much it should be, and whether it should be payment for chores or “just because”.
Once your kids have grown up, the issue changes to: Should adult kids pay board?
Like pocket money, it is handled differently in different families. Some parents don’t charge board; others put it away secretly in a savings account to present to their child when they leave home, or want to buy a house.
I’m a bit of a
cow mean old mother; in our house, the kids pay board.
How Much Board Should Adult Kids Pay?
But when should kids begin paying board? And how much should it be?
I was raised by a single mother struggling on a pension. When I started teacher’s college, Mum no longer received any child allowance (or whatever it was called) for me; instead, I received a study allowance, and was expected to pay board from that to help contribute to the family’s coffers.
The hubster on the other hand, lived at home free of charge until we got married, although he *was* strongly encouraged save hard for his first home from the moment he started work.
When the hubster and I discussed it, we decided that we wouldn’t ask our kids to pay board until they completed full-time studies. At this point, we asked for 10% of their take home pay each week – as both of them started out on casual wages, we thought that was fairer than a set amount of say $50 or $100 each week.
So why did we ask our children to pay board? It’s not as if we suddenly needed it to continue running the household. Rather, it was about teaching our children that reaching adulthood might mean extra privileges – being able to drink alcohol, go out, drive, etc – but it also came with responsibilities. Nobody gets a free ride in life and the sooner they realised it, the better.
We used to joke that Miss 18’s board paid for the hot water bills (she of the long hot showers!), while Mr 21’s went towards the power bill (he of the “I can’t live without air conditioning 9 months of the year” tribe) – and there was probably a fair amount of truth to it.
The kids were still expected to do certain household jobs, despite paying board. After all, that’s what would happen if they were renting or sharing a house.
At the moment, Mr 21 is looking for a job so we are only charging him a token amount of board. He is not eligible for Centrelink yet so has been living off his savings. I’m not sure that he fully appreciates it though; Miss 18 doesn’t think he realises how lucky he is. She has been living out of home since January and pays $140 in a share house – so she *knows* just how good he’s got it!
What do you think – should adult kids pay board? And if so, how much?!