Did you get pocket money when you were growing up? Many in the Spring Chicken Community not only remember how much they got, but also what they had to do to get it and exactly what they spent it on.
We only got pocket money if we’d done our chores, and it was always given on a Friday. We got threepence each which I’d spend on sweets and my sister would get a comic – we were in our element. Loved Fridays!
Pocket Money Chores
Not everyone was lucky enough to get pocket money on a regular basis, but those who did often had to earn it. Household chores may have included setting the fire in the morning, washing the dishes, or helping to hang out the washing on the line, but memories shared through the Spring Chicken Facebook page demonstrate that there really was no such thing as a free lunch when it came to pocket money back in the day.
“We only got pocket money now and again, but we had a chores rota in our house. One week you’d have to clear the table after dinner, the next week you’d have to wash up everything from dinner, then the next you’d dry up everything from dinner, and on the fourth week you’d tidy your bedroom up. If we’d done everything properly, we’d get 2 bob pocket money once a month.”
“We got half a crown now and again, not on a regular basis. I babysat my little sister after school (I was 8 and she was 5), prepped the veg for Sunday dinner, spread the marg’ on the bread and set the table for tea every day, and made my bed. I also polished the front door knocker, fire surround, and my mum’s horse brasses, did the dishes, helped around the house, and went to the shop to buy my dad’s fags. When I started work, my mum took the whole pay packet, but she’d give me back half of it and I was always thrilled to bits!”
Some of the more unusual chores included following the milkman and scooping up the horse manure deposited along the way for 1 penny a bucket, walking the greyhounds before races at the local dog track, taking vegetable peelings to the local pigs, or knocking on people’s doors to wake them up for work in the morning, and it wasn’t unusual for the youngest in the family to find themselves doing chores for their older siblings:
I used to get money off my older brother for polishing his shoes before he went out on the beer!
Pocket Money Buys
For those who were lucky enough to get regular pocket money, there was often an age-related pay scale.
We didn’t do jobs, but we all got paid on a Saturday. The eldest got 2 shillings and sixpence, the next in age got 2 shillings, I got 1 shilling and sixpence, and my little sister got 1 shilling.
Weekly pocket money would then be spent immediately on a weekly treat. Sweets and comics were top choices, but a trip to the cinema was a regular Saturday highlight for many.
“I got a shilling on a Saturday, and I’d use it to go to the Saturday morning pictures. It cost sixpence to get in, and I had enough left over to pay my bus fare and buy some sweets. Happy days!”
What was your favourite pocket money treat?