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Created on 13.03.2019 | Updated on 28.12.2023

Pocket money – from what age, how much and what for?

When they receive their own first “income”, children practise how to manage money responsibly. Our tips for parents on pocket money in Switzerland.

Pocket money for children: yes or no?

If your child has reached a certain age, you as a parent have no doubt already thought about the subject of pocket money. You aren’t legally bound to give your children pocket money. But most parents agree that pocket money is a good idea. With their own money, children and young people can practise independent planning, going without and saving – or even treating themselves. Your child can only have these experiences and learn these lessons if they have their own money. That’s why a number of Swiss associations, including Pro Juventute, also recommend regular pocket money. 

But how much pocket money should you give? From what age should children in Switzerland receive pocket money, and what for?

Practical pocket money tips for parents in Switzerland

The following thoughts and recommendations can help parents find the right way to handle pocket money for their family:

Tip 1: Set the amount of pocket money

“All the other kids get more than me!” How much pocket money children are given is often a sticking point at the dinner table in Switzerland. Set the amount of pocket money in accordance with the child’s age, the family budget and the intended purpose. The Swiss Budget Advice Association gives parents guidance.

Age in yearsAmount
Age in years
6+ (1st school year)
CHF 1 per week
Age in years
7+ (2nd school year)
CHF 2 per week
Age in years
8+ (3rd school year)
CHF 3 per week
Age in years
9+ (4th school year)
CHF 4 per week
Age in years
10 to 11 (5th–6th school years)
CHF 25 to CHF 30 per month
Age in years
12 to 14 (upper school)
CHF 30 to CHF 50 per month
Age in years
CHF 50 to CHF 80 per month

Tip 2: Youth salary instead of pocket money for children over 12

Around 12 years old is a good time to introduce a youth salary for your child. With this set monthly amount in addition to pocket money, young people take on responsibility for a portion of their living costs.

Tip 3: Give your children their pocket money on time

Pay pocket money regularly and without being asked − weekly for younger children and monthly for children and young people from the age of 10. For older children, the amount can be transferred directly into a bank account. This gives them the chance to practise using e-banking, debit cards and maybe even prepaid credit cards.

Tip 4: Agree on how the money should be spent

Decide at the outset what the pocket money is for, e.g. things they want, trips to the cinema or their mobile phone bill. Within these “ground rules”, children and young people can decide for themselves what they spend their money on.

Tip 5: Don’t base pocket money on achievements

Pocket money should not be used as a means of education and should be paid regardless of behaviour or performance at school. Extra work around the house can be rewarded with a “bonus”, however normal daily help should go without saying and not be rewarded.

Tip 6: Don’t give pocket money early

“Dad, I want to buy the new game! Could you give me 10 francs now?” It is not easy to escape endless consumerism in this day and age. We are all too quick to dip into our wallets and purses to give our children money. Stay consistent and avoid giving your children any pocket money early. Don’t give in to temptation. Instead, suggest they try to supplement their pocket money in other ways and save up if they want to buy more expensive things. Your child could well earn enough with a holiday job or by offering to do tougher chores around the house (e.g. cleaning the windows). Making mistakes with their money early in life is part of the process and offers children and young people a valuable opportunity to learn.

Tip 7: Learn how to handle pocket money in everyday life

The most effective and long-lasting way for children and young people to learn how to handle money is to practise in everyday life and gradually take on more responsibility. In the following video, a mother explains how she helps her child to build up their experiences with pocket money and shopping:

Parents can create learning opportunities for children of various ages to experience the value of money in everyday family life:

  • Allow children, even at preschool age, to save small amounts of money in their own piggy bank. once their piggy bank is sufficiently full, the child can buy something special with the savings – under your supervision.
  • After starting school, children are usually ready to manage regular pocket money themselves. First, talk to your children and clarify what the pocket money is intended for. But after that, let them have as much free rein as possible. Children learn best from their own experience – which also includes bad purchases.
  • Discuss the relationship between work and income at the latest when talk of career choices comes up. Explain how much you yourself earned at various ages and show your children the family budget, including income.
  • Give your children opportunities to be “entrepreneurial”, e.g. by running a stall at a flea market or a joint seller’s account on an online marketplace, taking on little “jobs” at home or (for youngsters over 13) having a part-time or holiday job.

Tip 8: Let them have their own experiences

Children develop their competence in dealing with money in different ways: through discussions, by watching others and – a particularly effective method – through practice. Most parents use pocket money as training ground for initial experiences in handling money. Parents often wonder how much responsibility they can entrust to their children. In the following video, one mother shows how she handles this:

Encouraging your children to be responsible with their own money pays off

Children and young people face the challenge of trying to resist the allures of our consumer society. Of course, there is no doubt they would love the latest trainers or smartphone, or perhaps some really cool make-up. Parents have a tough job, and dealing with their own finances is part and parcel of their responsibilities. Start talking to your child about the subject of money at an early stage, and make it a day-to-day topic. Our tips will help you teach your children how to be sensible with money. The PostFinance MoneyFit initiative supports parents and teachers in promoting financial skills for children and young people.

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