Ted Johnson is a kid in allowance heaven. He gets $20 a week.

For kids who receive an allowance, the weekly average is $9.65, according to a poll by Harris Interactive.

"I feel pretty good about it," said Johnson, a 12-year-old Laurel resident. "I can buy shoes or get clothes. I can buy anything I want."

Ted's mom, however, is worried he doesn't understand why she is giving him an allowance.

"If I don't remind him to hold onto his money, he'll spend it all," said Iris Smith. She requires her son to save $2 every week and give 10 percent (another $2) to their church. That's called tithing. "I want Ted to learn he can't live paycheck-to-paycheck or allowance-to-allowance. He's a good kid. But if he's going to be a husband or father one day, Lord knows he's got to learn how to save."

Ted says he doesn't save because it's not fun. "If you keep saving, it really gets boring. I get tired of it," he said. "I get a lot of allowance every week. So what's the use of saving it?"

Well, saving part of your allowance is important because it teaches you to wait for the things you want. In the future there will be times when you have to rely on the money you have saved. So it's a good idea to practice now saving a percentage of any money you get.

Why do you think parents give an allowance? Is it just so you can buy stuff? And should your allowance be tied to chores? Should it be based on how well you do in school?

I'm sure many of you will be happy to know that most financial experts say that it's a good idea to give children an allowance. An allowance is a way to teach you how to manage your money.

For example, if you get $5 a week you could spend it all on candy or snacks or save up to buy the rare Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card you really want.

Many experts also believe an allowance should not be tied to how well you behave, the chores you do or the grades you get.

"An allowance is one of the privileges of being in a family," said Jon Gallo. He helped write a book called "Silver Spoon Kids."

"Parents shouldn't think of it as a way to get kids to do their chores."

But what if your parents make you do certain jobs before they pay you your allowance?

Sorry, you may be stuck.

"If the parent feels tying it to chores is working successfully, why change something that is working?" Gallo said.

-- Michelle Singletary

A typical 8- or 9-year-old saves $16 a year. Kids 10 to12 save about $62 a year, and kids 13 to 15 save $478 a year, according to Harris Interactive.