Ask For an Increase in Allowance

Whether you are looking to buy something specific or want a general raise, renegotiating your allowance is the opportunity to take further charge over your finances. Asking for an increase in your allowance requires evaluating your spending, developing a thoughtful strategy, and being willing to negotiate. Being able to effectively manage your allowance is a skill that will continue to be an advantage throughout your life.


Evaluating Your Allowance

  1. Track your spending. Create a spending report by keeping a careful record of exactly what you are spending during a specific period, such as one week or one month. List your income during that time, then subtract your spending to determine your cash flow.
    • For each item, list what type of expense it is, like clothing, food, activities, or school supplies. [1]
    • Make additional notes for special expenses, like birthday or holiday gifts, big purchases, or loans.
    • Save your receipts. Small or trivial purchases are easy to forget, and saving all receipts ensures every last purchase is tracked.[2]
  2. Evaluate your wants versus needs. Make two lists detailing items that you want and items that you need. Cross out items that your parent(s) or guardian(s) already provide you. Determine which purchases are most important to you.[3]
    • Be realistic about how you define your wants and needs. You need school supplies, while you want toys.
    • Determine how much of your allowance would be required to buy your want item. If it seems a bit rich, you may not want it as much as the others. Scratch it off your list and focus on everything else.
    • Considering an item as non-necessary or unimportant doesn't necessarily mean you should eliminate it from your list. List those big ticket purchases as "goals" to save toward.
  3. Figure out your new allowance. Based on your spending report, did you spend more on necessities than you earned? If so, you can add that difference to your current allowance to determine the amount for which you should ask. Here are few other great methods.
    • Try asking for a percentage increase. Figure out what 5%, 10%, or some other percentage of your allowance is, and ask for that value.
    • Use a formula based on your age. For example, your allowance would be $1 for each year of your age. So, a 10 year-old would earn $10 per week. [4]
    • If your allowance is based on chore completion, consider asking for a raise in the price of tasks that are more difficult or require more time. Also, think of new chores you could complete for an allowance raise.
    • Your allowance should generally reflect your responsibilities. If you are only responsible for buying non-essential items (e.g. games, jewelry, candy), then minimize any surplus for necessities like clothes your parents buy.
    • Ask if you can earn allowance bonuses for good grades. Determine a dollar value for each grade and convince your parents of this concept's merits.[5]
  4. Make a plan for your spending. Create categories for your money, like savings, spending, and charity. Set realistic spending limits for each category. Include plans for how you will be spending you potential allowance increase. [6]

Presenting Your Case

  1. Be organized. Take your time and develop an effective presentation of your ideas. Create a PowerPoint, use a poster board, make graphs, or simply write a detailed outline of what you are going to say. Dressing sharply and treating it professionally could help your cause.
  2. Be proactive. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Think ahead about how the discussion may go and plan ahead. A few suggestions follow:
    • Provide straightforward and serious answers. Indicate you can handle the responsibility of an increased allowance.
    • Create a mock script of possible rebuttals to your proposal and have specific answers prepared. For instance, your parents may ask, "Why do you deserve more money?"
      • Justify yourself by saying, "I have worked hard on my grades and have taken on extra chores."
      • Perhaps something straightforward such as, "I'm older now, and raising my allowance is appropriate as I age."
      • Work their heart-strings with, "I'd like to buy newer clothes to fit in."
    • Start doing extra chores well in advance of asking for the increase. Having extra work to reference can be used as a greater worth bargaining tool.
    • Prepare yourself for setbacks. For a few days prior to the negotiation, practice calm, composed replies for moments of frustration. Again, you want to give the impression that you are mature enough to manage your money.
  3. Negotiate. Be prepared to compromise. Negotiating is basically an exchange of ideas until both groups can agree. Your willingness to cooperate will keep the discussion running smoothly.
    • Have a few options prepared for you parent(s) or guardian(s) to consider, such as raising your allowance by a certain amount, having them cover specific items, or increasing the amount or worth of chores.
    • Present your ideal amount or scenario first, then work your way down to your least favorable.
    • Once you have all agreed upon a new allowance, write that amount and any new conditions or responsibilities of the allowance you have to fulfill.
  4. Be considerate. The right timing can be a make-or-break factor in getting your desired allowance. Try to schedule a time to talk that works for all involved.
    • Think about your household's financial situation. If money is tight at the moment, it may not be the right time to get a raise on your allowance.
    • Approach your parent(s) or guardian(s) when they aren't busy or stressed. Their mood could affect their willingness to increase your allowance.
    • Stay calm and collected in your approach, and use a respectful tone of voice. Remembering to include the magic words (i.e. please, thank you, you're welcome, excuse me, and I'm sorry) wherever applicable conveys sincerity, respect, and consideration.[7]

Creating a Backup Plan

  1. Ask for creative financing. If you are requesting the extra allowance so you can buy a specific item, consider asking your parent(s) or guardian(s) to aid you in other ways. Try a few of the following options.
    • Inquire about a loan. Perhaps you could get some money early if you are willing to pay it back incrementally.
    • Ask for an advance. They might be willing to give you the allowance from a future week or month.
    • Layaway is a great option. There may not be enough funds to buy what you want immediately, so have your parents put it on layaway to keep it reserved just for you. It will be yours in no time.
  2. Investigate other financial opportunities. If you can't have your allowance increased, consider other ways to make money. Within your household, discuss taking on big cleaning or organizing projects for one-time payments.
    • Ask neighbors and friends if they need any help with yard-work, babysitting, or pet-walking to make some extra money. [8]
    • See if your parents would be willing to price match the money you make from your hard work. Just like a Invest-in-401K, suggest your parents match a certain percentage of the money you're willing to save.
    • Raise some funds through Sell-Online. Ask your parents to help go through your items, like Sell-Your-Old-Clothes, to describe, list, and take photos to maximize online selling potential.
  3. Use what you have. Cut back on all non-essential spending and use budget planning to make the most out of your allowance. Look for less expensive alternatives for items and activities to show your parents how responsible you are with money, and how you would use extra money wisely. Here are a few options:
    • Instead of seeing a movie on opening night, consider visiting the dollar theater. Not only is the movie ticket cheaper, but theaters often offer discounted concessions to entice more patrons.
    • Buy-and-Sell-Used-Video-Games. Try a local retailer, online retailer, or online marketplace to find a discounted price. You may even be able to trade in the games you no longer want for store credit.
    • Shop at a Shop-Well-for-Clothes-in-a-Thrift-Store or a Buy-from-Yard-Sales. Not only will the cost savings display a thriftiness and responsibility to your parents, but you could also stumble upon the newest or vintage fashion trend.
  4. Re-approach at another time. If your presentation for an allowance raise was unsuccessful, re-evaluate your approach and try again at a later time. Determine why you were denied the increased allowance and try to fix that problem on your next attempt. You may be better prepared then to express your idea, and your parent(s) or guardian(s) might be better able to approve your extra allowance.

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