You probably think that I'm going to be talking about kids here and if you have none at home that this will not apply. Not today.
I remember almost thirty years ago my aunt sitting at the table working on the books. My uncle came in the room and she handed him a $20 and said "Here's your allowance". I was quite amazed as he already was fairly gray at the time. When I asked her about it she said that was how much he got a week to cover his gas, snacks, and whatever else he might want or need. At the time I didn't know that they were millionaires.
Most of the time since then I have made sure I had my own allowance. When funds are tight it is easy to skip all spending thinking that the extra $20 would help with the bills. (It rarely does because at that point a person is so close to the edge that the whole budget strategy needs review.) On the other hand the established amount causes me to have a boundary on myself so I am less susceptible to the splurge factor. When the money is gone it's gone until next allowance day.
It is not often our kids who break the budget because they don't have control of it. It is the adults. Lack of planning, not knowing how to say "no" or "later", or treating the checkbook like it is a personal spending limit all can cause immature money management practices. Hmmm... some are going to be offended by that. Should I take it back? No, I have been guilty myself at times and it is only one great deal away for almost all of us if the right internal button gets pushed.*
My allowance is $100 a month right now. From that I have to buy my clothes, make-up, haircuts, impulse purchases, coffee, books, etc. You get the idea. All personal items. Some months I have a little money left over but just as often I'm waiting for the next time I get my allowance.
So...am I treating myself like a child? Or, am I expecting myself to act like an adult?
*I posted this link to Beating Broke a few days ago but I liked it so much I'm putting it up again for those who missed it:
Are you a Peter Pan Spender?