Let’s talk about pocket money!

This week Maggie asked us about; Chores and Allowances

I grew up in Pakistan where household help is very readily available. So when I was young there were no chores assigned to me or my brothers.

When I grew to be a teenager, I was supposed to handle my own laundry, ironing and was supposed to keep my room tidy. I didn’t have any responsibility regarding other household chores.

I kept on looking after my own room and my stuff till my stepmother had to undergo breast surgery. At that time I was around 18 and was waiting for admission to med school. It was the first time that I did regular cooking for the family. My grandmother would tell me how to cook some dish and I would follow her directions and produce food for the family. One thing I never could do was to make roti. It was either too thick, too thin, not round, or had holes in it. It was a temporary situation and that was the only time I had to take responsibility for the meals.

We always got pocket money. First, it was Rs 5 per month. It was enough to buy 2 books per month. All three of, the older siblings would use our money to buy books. It gradually kept on increasing as I grew up. There were no conditions linked to getting our pocket money. In fact, since I don’t have a job, my husband still gives me pocket money! I think it’s very sweet of him.

When I became a mom, I didn’t give any chores to my kids either. They could fend on their own but it was voluntary. When my daughter moved to America for her studies, her son was 5 yo. She taught him to be independent and also to help around the home. But he still doesn’t get any allowance. His mom takes care of his needs and wants!

After reading the responses to this prompt, I realized the difference between eastern culture and western. Over here the people who can afford, have household help and their kids don’t learn to manage on their own. There is someone to do their chores for them. But in western culture, kids are made responsible early in life and hence grow up with the knowledge of how to manage their own affairs. I admire this trait and feel that it should be the way all kids are brought up.

Written for Throwback Thursday, hosted by Maggie and Lauren



44 thoughts on “Let’s talk about pocket money!

  1. I am always intrigued by our cultural differences. I am sure there are benefits to both. I am also sure there are many households who do not require chores of their children. Both my children were given chores to do and a small allowance.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My mom left my brother and I a legal sized yellow page, single spaced with chores on the front and continuing to the back. We were very young and she was taking classes at the University of Washington an hour away. Looking back, I believe she was keeping us from getting bored and staying out of trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love to read about other cultures. I was raised for many years by my great-grandmother. She raised 7 children and expected all children male and female to be able to complete all activities in the home to be self-reliant. We do an allowance for work in the home. There are community chores that we expect to be done because they are part of the family. I learned to make roti this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 🙂 I have noticed that you referred to an “Allowance” as “Pocket Money.” Technically, they are one and the same.

    Here in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, we refer to “Pocket Money” as the money that you place inside of your pocket for the purpose of buying anything that is for sale around the neighbourhood or outside of the neighbourhood (Think of it as having a sum of money in your pocket that is readily available to spend on anything while you are taking a stroll).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha! Cultures are so fascinating. I’ve grown up doing chores and getting an allowance for it is out of question. Even now as a young adult, when I go home I’m expected to do the chores like it’s my duty and honestly, I don’t see it as a big deal because that’s how things have always been. From Kenya.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Ngina. Thanks for sharing your customs. It’s a great way to raise children by making them responsible and independent. As adults, I think we all help when we see the need.


  6. Thanks for joining in Sadje. I always enjoy learning how different people grow up. Much to my children’s dismay i made sure they knew how to work inside and outside. My daughters learned to mow the lawn, weed a garden, and pick up after the dog. I feel all kids should know how to take care of a home.
    When I was teaching i had students from very wealthy homes that had never made a bed or their oun lunch
    I also had students who had to do too many chores and care for siblings to the point that they were often absent from school .
    I don’t know the perfect answer. I think both extremes are not good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think what you did with your kids is the right way to go. It teaches them to be responsible and independent. Putting too much workload on the young kids is not kind or good as they will start to resent it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I grew up in the USA, the eldest of six children…and I learned I was responsible for household chores early, even though there were periods when there was also paid help. We called “pocket money” our “allowance”…it seemed meager for what was expected of me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There should always be equitable distribution of chores among the children. Our allowance/pocket money was dependent upon my father’s income so we never wanted more than what he could afford

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is an interesting one to reflect upon, Sadje. I always had chores, and also earned an allowance for these chores. I am super grateful that my parents expected me to learn all of these necessities, though, at the time, I didn’t like it much, 😅 as it has helped in raising the boys.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, this cultural difference is quite obvious when people grow up. The girls/ women are supposed to learn and tackle all the house work while the men would just help if they want or are asked. This thing needs to change

      Liked by 1 person

  9. For my pocket money and my education, I’m completely dependent on my mother. Papa helps too.

    After coming back from Navodaya, I have studied books of interest. One of which is “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai.

    Her story is relevant to me because of similar periods. I was in the school where we used to read news about her. Education is the demand of developing South Asian countries.

    I don’t know much about life in Pakistan, I have watched some YouTube videos, read Malala and there is a Pakistani columnist called “Jahida Hina”. She writes articles in Dainik Bhaskar about the common culture of India and Pakistan (movies, music and literature etc.).

    “I AM Malala” gives a detailed understanding of Pashtun people, their culture and traditions, it’s also a story of his father’s struggle to open a school, especially for girls and poor children.

    Malala’s story summarises that there are always be people who love you for your work, feel proud and the people who hate you for your work and wanted to stop you from raising your voice.

    I lack a lot of things, the world is new to me, somehow I have found what I want and don’t want. It’s about living a noble life and contributing to the community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a noble ambition Lokesh. I admire your desire to learn and to be willing to put aside prejudice in favor of openly embracing knowledge. I wish you all the best my young friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. When my older brothers and I were growing up, we had help every now and then but my mom gave us chores. On weekends, we weren’t allowed to watch TV until we did our chores. My younger brother didn’t experience this due to our huge age gap. We still taught him chores and now he doesn’t wait to be told but he does grumble at times 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s interesting to learn about cultural differences. Growing up, my family had a maid (which was the term used at the time). However, I was still taught how to cook and clean, and I received an allowance for doing my chores.

    Right after I graduated from college, I got a job and worked past the normal retirement age. I still cooked and cleaned throughout but most of the time I had help. My hubby and I share the household chores now.

    I feel cultural differences should be respected. I also feel it’s important to learn responsibility and how to survive.
    I’m not and never was interested in being a culinary goddess but I can put together basic meals. I am picky about having a clean house. My home may not always be perfectly tidy but it is clean.

    Different strokes for different folks keep life interesting (within reason).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right Eugenia that children need to learn to be responsible for their chores early on. What our culture lacks is that early training. Girls still get some training in cooking etc as they would need it later on but most boys don’t. This creates an imbalance in the way people behave after they are adults. The men expect everything to be done for them and their wives, moms or sisters should be the ones doing it. There are a few exceptions but mostly the society here is messed up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, Sadje, and the same archaic ideas that men expect everything to be done by wives, moms or sisters are here, as well. Women joining the work force has helped the situation some.

        What’s unfortunate is marriage as an institution isn’t as stable as it once was and women had to find their own means of support. Some women try to keep up with it all while others get help. It’s difficult for women to shake the subservient role.

        Liked by 1 person

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