Pocket Money Tales

Today’s topic for Throwback Thursday is chores and allowances. Let me share my experiences.

Regarding chores, I could easily be short and sweet: no, I did not have any. Neither did my sister. We were raised with the expectation that we’d leave the house as soon as we graduated high school, but we were hardly taught any of the skills of independence, much less expected to contribute to the household on a regular basis. My sister was occasionally expected to do the dishes once she was about twelve or so. Same probably for me, but my parents quickly decided I took too long, didn’t do it right or made too much of a fuss over it, probably all three.

My sister, who’s non-disabled, somehow managed the skills of independence by observing my parents anyway. I, being blind and multiply-disabled, did not. When I left for the independence training home right after high school, I had virtually no skills necessary for living independently. I am forever grateful I persevered and decided to take this step rather than moving out on my own right away.

Regarding allowances, or pocket money as it was known in our family, the situation was a little more interesting. I got my first pocket money at age seven. I got one guilder a week. A few months later, I’d turn eight and my father promised me I’d get two guilders a week provided I’d stop leaving the lights on in my bedroom when I wasn’t there. The reason being that, if I no longer left the lights on, he would save on electricity and could give me more pocket money. I doubt it’d seriously make a difference of one guilder a week, but I’m not entirely sure he hadn’t possibly calculated it somehow. That’s how he is, after all.

That brings me to my next pocket money story, some eight years later.
I originally couldn’t remember whether we already used euros at the time. Not that it matters for the morale of the story, but I saw the official documentation relevant to this story and now know we already had euros. I must’ve been sixteen and was rather angry because my sister got a higher allowance than I’d gotten at her age, so I now wanted more too. At first, my parents got all defensive, calling me selfish because I was playing the “not fair” card. Then, after both of us at calmed down, my father asked me to write a budget of things I’d need pocket money for. If it was within reason, I’d get what I’d asked for.

I had asked for €10 a week. I created a budget (that’s the “official documentation” I referred to above!) fitting all my personal expenses, including candy, jewelry, memberships to the children’s choir and the political party I was a member of at the time, into this budget. Ultimately, my budget showed I needed €555,60 a year. When my father saw it, he commented that I’d been far too careful to try to fit my budget into what I’d demanded. I particularly remember him saying he couldn’t believe I’d just spend €2,50 a week on candy, for example. And I must admit he was right. My father told me that €100 a month was a more reasonable allowance and so it happened that I got more than twice the amount of pocket money I’d originally fought for!

Were you taught about budgeting as a child?

12 thoughts on “Pocket Money Tales

  1. Astrid, it must have been challenging to move out feeling ill prepared. I am glad independence training was available to you. We never had any exposure to budgeting as children nor did we receive an allowance. Yours seems generous. Good for you for advocating for yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Well, “advocate” isn’t necessarily the right word. More like demand. Then again, my father is really open to reasonable demands, even if the tone they’re voiced in isn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I too am impressed with your advocating for yourself. Your dad did the right thing, it seems. When I was in high school, part of home ec class was budgeting. I think everyone should understand not spending more than you have coming in. Thanks for joining in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by. As far as I know, our home ec class never taught us about budgeting. My father though was always very strict about keeping the family finances in view, even though my mother for the majority of my youth was the only breadwinner. My sister took after him and is keeping a tight overview of her family’s budget, even though again my brother-in-law earns more than she does. I think then again that it maintains some type of balance in the family dynamic too. I, on the other hand, though I do make sure to check my bank account regularly, don’t keep track of everything I spend money on like my father and sister do.

      Liked by 1 person

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