How much Allowance for children in Primary and Secondary school (Updated 2024)

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The concept of an allowance for children serves as a foundational pillar in instilling financial responsibility from a young age. it’s about values, decision-making, and understanding the worth of hard-earned money.

In today’s fast-paced world, teaching our children about financial literacy has never been more crucial. With the cost of living in Singapore consistently on the rise, the lessons we teach our children today become the financial habits they carry into adulthood.

The journey of financial literacy begins not in the classroom, but at home. As parents, we’re not just caretakers but educators too, especially when it comes to money management.

But how do we strike the right balance? How much is too much, and what’s too little? And importantly, how do we ensure these lessons stick?

This guide aims to answer these questions. Let’s embark on this journey together, shaping our children’s financial future, one allowance at a time.

Understanding the Basics of Allowance

The Role of Allowance in Financial Education

Allowance isn’t just pocket money; it’s a tool. A tool that, when used correctly, can teach kids about budgeting, saving, and the value of money.

It’s about creating opportunities for our children to make financial decisions, face the consequences of those decisions, and learn from them.

This hands-on approach to financial education helps demystify money, making it less of an abstract concept and more of a tangible part of everyday life.

Setting the Right Amount

The question of how much allowance to give is often where most parents hit a roadblock. The answer isn’t straightforward, as it varies depending on several factors including the cost of living, the child’s age, and what the allowance is expected to cover.

For instance, the Department of Statistics Singapore reports a gradual increase in the cost of living each year, which should be considered when deciding on allowance amounts.

For primary school students (ages 7-12), a daily allowance of S$2.50 to S$3.00 could cover basic canteen food and occasional stationery needs. As they progress to upper primary, an increase to S$3.50 to S$4.00 acknowledges their growing needs and responsibilities.

Secondary school students (ages 13-16), on the other hand, navigate a more complex social and academic life, necessitating a higher allowance. Starting with S$4.50 to S$5.00 for lower secondary and adjusting to S$5.50 to S$6.50 for upper secondary can cater to their increased expenses, including meals inside school, transportation, and social activities.

Factors Influencing Allowance Amounts

  • School Canteen Prices: Regularly check the canteen menu and prices. This ensures the allowance covers basic meals and promotes healthy eating habits.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Activities that extend beyond school hours may require additional funds for snacks or meals.
  • Transportation Costs: If your child commutes to school, factor in public transport costs.
  • Personal Savings Goals: Encourage saving from a young age by allocating a portion of the allowance to savings.

Structuring Allowance for Different Needs

Needs vs. Wants

Teaching children to differentiate between needs and wants is crucial. A need is something you have to have to live and function, like food and transport.

A want, on the other hand, is something you would like to have but can live without, like the latest video game or toy. Encouraging children to prioritise their spending based on needs before wants can lead to more informed financial decisions.

Encouraging Savings

One effective method is the “Save, Spend, Give” approach. Divide the allowance into three parts: one for saving, one for spending, and one for giving. This not only teaches money management but also instils values of generosity and empathy.

Purpose of Allowance

Discuss with your child what the allowance is meant to cover. This clarity helps avoid misunderstandings and sets clear expectations.

For example, if the allowance is primarily for food and transport, any extra-curricular activities or personal wants should come from their savings or be discussed separately.

Allowance Management Tips for Parents

Setting clear guidelines and expectations around the allowance is essential. Consistency is key; fluctuating allowances without explanation can confuse children about budgeting and financial planning.

Encourage smart spending money by discussing purchases, comparing prices, and exploring the difference between short-term satisfaction and long-term benefits.

Monitoring and adjusting allowances as needed is part of the process. An annual review of the allowance amount, considering inflation and changing needs, ensures that the allowance remains relevant and effective as a teaching tool.

By approaching allowance as more than just pocket money, we can provide our children with a solid foundation in financial literacy.

Teaching Financial Responsibility

Introducing Budgeting Early On

Budgeting is a fundamental skill in financial literacy, and introducing it early can make a significant difference. Start with simple concepts: if your child receives a weekly allowance, help them plan how they’ll spend it.

For instance, if they receive S$20 a week, discuss how much should go towards school meals, how much they might save, and what portion can be used for personal spending. This exercise not only teaches them to plan and prioritise but also introduces the concept of living within their means.

Utilising Digital Tools

In our digital age, numerous apps and online tools can make learning about money management fun and interactive for children. Apps like ‘GoHenry’ or ‘Osper’ offer child-friendly banking services that allow kids to track their spending and saving in real-time, with parental oversight. These tools can be invaluable in teaching children about digital transactions, which are becoming increasingly prevalent.

Real-Life Financial Scenarios

Incorporating financial education into everyday activities can be highly effective. For example, involve your child in planning a family outing, including budgeting for tickets, food, and transport.

This not only makes them feel valued and included but also teaches them about the costs associated with leisure activities and the importance of saving for them.

Common Questions from Parents Addressed

“What if my child spends all their allowance too quickly?”

This scenario presents a learning opportunity. Resist the urge to immediately replenish their funds or give them extra money. Instead, discuss what happened and help them understand the importance of budgeting.

Encourage them to think about what they could do differently next time.

“Should allowance be tied to chores or academic performance?”

This is a personal choice, but many experts suggest keeping the allowance separate from chores and academic performance. Chores can be seen as a contribution to the family, while academic achievements can be motivated by intrinsic rewards. Allowance, on the other hand, is for teaching financial management.

“How can I teach my child to prioritise their spending?”

Start with setting goals. If there’s something expensive they want, help them work out how long it would take to save for it and what they might need to forego in the meantime. This teaches them about opportunity costs and delayed gratification.

“What do I do if my financial situation changes and I need to adjust the allowance?”

Honesty is the best policy. Explain the situation in terms they can understand and reassure them that it’s a temporary adjustment. This can also be a valuable lesson in financial resilience and adaptability.


Navigating the world of allowances for children in Singapore is about laying the groundwork for financial literacy and responsible adulthood. By setting clear guidelines, utilising digital tools, and incorporating real-life financial scenarios, we can equip our children with the skills they need to navigate their financial futures successfully.

Remember, the goal isn’t just to teach our children how to manage money but to instil values and habits that will serve them throughout their lives.

As we guide them through these formative years, let’s aim to create not just savvy savers but mindful, financially literate individuals ready to take on the world.

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