Giving your kid an allowance is a great way to teach them priceless life lessons on how to manage money. But to get the most bang for your parenting buck, avoid these five common allowance errors.

Starting too late.

The time to start an allowance is when kids start to learn the value of money and become interested in it. Typically, that’s around kindergarten or first grade. Getting started when they’re young helps kids develop responsibility and learn to form good financial habits early.

Paying them for chores.

Some parents argue that you don’t get paid unless you work, so kids shouldn’t get paid unless they work either. But is anyone paying you to make dinner? How about mowing the lawn? Everyone in the family should help out around the house; doing regular chores is part of learning how to be a team player. An allowance, on the other hand, is a teaching tool. Giving kids an allowance helps them learn how to handle money, just like giving kids books encourages them to read. That said, if they want to earn more, it’s fine to pay them extra for additional tasks you’d normally handle yourself, like raking leaves or vacuuming the living room.

Keeping mum about money.

Don’t just hand them their allowance — talk about money. Explain what it means to spend, share (give to charity), save (wait until they have enough for a big purchase), and invest (put aside money to put into an account for college, say). You can even give them a piggy bank with multiple sections or separate containers for each purpose. Whether or not you decide to dictate how much they put into each category, letting them know that money is for more than just immediate gratification is invaluable.

Advancing them money.

Please, Mommy, I really want it! Can I please have next’s week’s allowance now?” Giving your kid an allowance teaches them impulse control, but only if you stick to the program and let them learn the virtues of saving on their own.

Telling them how and when to spend their money.

No, that doesn’t mean you have to let them buy a Swiss Army knife at age five. Family rules still apply, and you still have veto power. But it does mean that if they want to blow their entire allowance five minutes after they get it on a stuffed animal that’s almost identical to the 10,000 other stuffed animals they already have at home — remember, it’s their money, and choosing how and when to spend it is part of learning how to manage it wisely.

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