I have been trying to decide between two options: an allowance that the kids receive because they're "my kids", and a wage that they receive for work they have done. I finally came down on the side of wage-earning. I want my kids to understand where money comes from, and I don't want them getting the idea that all they have to do is hold out their hand, and money will fall in it. Not that we've ever given that idea, but you know what I mean.
So here's the system we've developed. I've given them several cards on which I have written the chores that they have to do. Being 7, 6, and 3, these are things like "make your bed," "pick up all the dirty clothes," and "pick up toys." Matthew has a job of taking out the trash and feeding the dog and straightening up the bathroom. Annie has to take the clothes out of the dryer and vacuum. Some of these cards I give them once a week, other cards they have every day. (It's nice because I can just hand them the cards whenever I want them to do the job.) Each card, when turned back in (with job complete), is worth one token. They also receive a token for each school subject they complete.
Tokens can be taken away, and they are not given when the job is done in a grudging manner, or with whining. At the end of the week, we pay them for each token they have. Each token is worth $.05. They have the possibity of earning around $3.75 per week. It's not much, but is probably in proportion to our income, lol!
We have envelopes for them to divide their money. We insist that they use 10% for tithe, and %10 for a long-term saving. They also put %10 percent into an envelope towards something they are saving for (Matthew wants a Nintendo DS). The rest is theirs to spend, or to put towards whatever they are saving for.
So far, this is working really well. It gives them all a motivation for the work they have to do, and has given me and Jeremy an excellent consequence to put into effect for misbehavior. Matthew is drooling over this DS, and so it is very effective to remind him that we will take a token away for "x" behavior. Andrew even understands that tokens get taken away for whining.
I really am praying that they can learn to be more wise with their money than Jeremy & I have often been.