Why You Should Try a Weekly Allowance as an Adult

Couple paying bills together online

JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Imagine where we might be today if we'd stuck with the idea of the weekly allowance we received as kids. It’s never too late to use a great idea, and a weekly allowance is one that you might not want to let go just because you've left childhood behind. 

Business, life, and money coach Vickie Champion suggests bringing the weekly allowance back as a way of helping adults to budget more effectively. Vickie is a master at helping people improve their spending and savings habits by changing the way they think about money. She says: 

"I used to have a weekly allowance when I was younger. When I went to college I gave it up under the premise that it was for kids, and now that I was a grown-up I didn’t need it. I wanted to have what I called financial freedom. What a mistake! After several years of having constant financial difficulties doing it “the grown-up way,” here’s what I now know about weekly allowances."

8 Reasons to Use a Weekly Allowance

  1. It keeps you aware of how much money is going out.
  2. It gets you out of the habit of using ATMs and debit cards.
  3. It makes you think twice before spending money on spur-of-the-moment purchases.
  4. It teaches you and your family members how to manage money.
  5. It keeps things equal for couples, so one is not spending more than the other.
  6. It makes budgeting easier because you don't have to track the little purchases you pay for with your allowance.
  7. It helps you save lots of money.
  8. It encourages you to achieve your dreams by spending money on the things that are truly important to you.

Keys to Implementing

Determining how much you can spend each week is the key to using the weekly allowance concept. Train yourself to accept that there is no more money available when your allowance is depleted. When you hit your spending limit, you're done. There's no going to the ATM or charging things on credit to tide you over. 

It may mean that you have to wait a few days to visit the grocery store. You might be surprised to realize that you don’t go hungry. There always seems to be something to eat in the back of the pantry.

Restricting yourself to an allowance means that you might sometimes have to say no to going out with friends, or you might have to put off a home repair until you've saved up the money. But it can feel good to be in control of where your money is going.

If you don't feel comfortable putting off necessary expenditures like groceries or home repairs, dedicate a portion of your overall budget to these things, so they don't have to come out of your allowance. Of course, you may have to reduce your allowance to accommodate them, and they, too, should have a monthly cap. If you allow X number of dollars for groceries, you'll be less inclined to splurge on that T-bone if it means your grocery budget might run out before the month or week does. 

Do a Trial Run 

You don't have to commit to the idea of an allowance for the rest of your life. Try it for a week, two weeks, or even a month. If you find that you're miserable, tweak your system or abandon it and try budgeting in another way. But who knows? You might find that the allowance idea works for you.