Allowance Lessons: Teaching Kids How to Save and Spend Properly

Anne Marie Chaker:

Allowance has undergone a major overhaul at the McDermott household this summer.

Beatrice McDermott, 14, and her younger brother, Jack, 11, started getting $10 a month three years ago. Their parents paid them for a set of daily chores like setting the table, clearing dishes and emptying their lunch boxes after school.

But “it wasn’t truly teaching them how to save or spend,” says their father, Matthew McDermott, 45, a Washington, D.C. information technology manager. He and his wife, Christina Gorski McDermott, 43, would find crumpled up bills around the house. “These guys had no sense of money,” he says.