13

Every month, I give a good amount of money via bank transfer to my Mom (ideally so she can spend it on things she wants. What she does with it is none of my concern).

What should I call it? Pocket money seems like a small amount given to a child.

3
  • How old is your Mom? What is her status, i.e. does she live independently or is she under care of some sort?
    – MikeB
    May 10, 2023 at 8:45
  • A debt of gratitude. A stipend. May 10, 2023 at 21:44
  • Several years ago I told my bank to assign the reference Largesse to a transfer of funds I made to my adult daughter. Because that reference remains on file at the bank, they just re-use it by default whenever I give my daughter any more money. May 11, 2023 at 15:21

9 Answers 9

31

You could call this an "allowance". This is more often used for a regular payment to an older child, but it could be used as "John sends his parents an allowance of £100 per month to cover their winter fuel costs."

A particular payment could be called an "remittance" "John's remittance of £1000 on the second of May, was so that his parents could go on a cruise holiday". "Remittance" is very often used for payments made by people living in the UK or USA to family living overseas. "I make a regular remittance to my mother for her to buy things she wants."

But in normal and general speech or writing you wouldn't need to use a specific noun for this. "I give my parents £500 a month from my salary". You don't need to use a word like "pocket money" or "allowance" in many situations. The general term for money given without expectation of anything in return is a "gift".

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  • 2
    Just to add, the word "allowance" may sound pejorative because of the association with money given to a child. Same with "pocket money." May 10, 2023 at 0:32
  • I will add that where I live, remittance is a semi-official term for money sent home to family living overseas. Usually being one of the primary reasons for immigration to the US. May 10, 2023 at 20:32
18

You could call such a payment a "stipend", which is a fixed recurring payment like an allowance or small salary. A stipend is most typically a relatively modest sum intended to meet various needs, like a student worker who gets paid by the university to defray their education or living costs.

A stipend usually connotes an element of need, so it might be a better term for an allowance spent on food or rent than for a large payment freely spent as luxury spending money. It is also usually a formalized arrangement akin to a salary, rather than something that could be more ad hoc or subject to change like an allowance.

Depending on the size and nature of the payment, "stipend" may or may not be an appropriate descriptor. It could fit well if you've needed to assume control of your parents finances and limit their spending by allocating a monthly budgetary sum, but would not fit well if you're lavishing lots of extra spending money on them at irregular intervals.

15

The term regular gift seems appropriate. You could call it support if the money was needed for essentials (e.g. rent, fuel, food, etc.).

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  • 3
    +1 for offering alternatives, depending on the amount of specificity desired. While "regular gift" doesn't imply that they are necessarily in need of the money (though it certainly allows for that possibility), "support" does imply that they would be in dire straits without it. This is a rare example of a brief (indeed, shorter than this comment), yet very complete answer.
    – Jeffiekins
    May 8, 2023 at 17:49
8

"Monetary support" is both accurate and neutral in the sense that it don't imply any particular age range.

5

It's not a description of the money itself, but the act is often described as sending money home—particularly if the speaker lives remotely from their parents. So you might say, “Now that I have a good job, I send money home to my mother every month.”

You can also mention a specific amount, as in this example from actual use:

“When things are good, I can send $500 home,” Andrew said, “but I try to send at least $250 a month.”

Living Hour-to-Hour: The New Reality of Retail Work

As for the money, if you described it as money sent home or money I send home, I think it would be pretty clear to most speakers what you mean.

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  • 2
    The term "remittances" is also used in the context of sending money to relatives "back home". May 10, 2023 at 20:23
4

In the UK, in Scotland in particular, money given to parents by a grown-up child still staying in their parental home is referred to as "keep". As in, "I pay fifty pounds a week towards my keep."

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  • 1
    That sounds like "rent". May 9, 2023 at 18:50
  • 1
    From the North West of England (so a little further south) and "keep" was my initial thought for this too.
    – Solarflare
    May 9, 2023 at 21:02
  • 1
    @MarkLakata No, not really rent. "Keep" is far more closely aligned with food and bills.
    – MikeB
    May 10, 2023 at 8:47
1

"Pocket money" does not imply that it is for a child, but it does connote a small amount given irregularly that is intended for frivolous things.

"Allowance" is a regular payment, but it is usually used with children. In any event, it implies a power dynamic such that you are 'allowing' them to have this money and they are in a dependent relationship with you. Its meaning is softened if you specify what it is for; "I give my mom a housing allowance because rents are so expensive in the old neighborhood."

If you wish to emphasize that they have earned the payment or are deserving of it based on their previous lives and actions, you could use 'stipend' or 'pension'.

Stipend

a particular amount of money that is paid regularly to someone

Pension

a fixed sum paid regularly to a person: (c): one paid under given conditions to a person following retirement from service or to surviving dependents

"Stipend" emphasizes the regularity of the payment and can be used for working students and retirees; the emphasis is that the person is worthy of receiving it (rather than, like allowance, the giver is indulging them). A "pension" is given to a retiree in return for their lifetime of work. Usually a pension is given by a government or private insurance company rather than a relative, but if you say "I give my Mother a pension" the meaning will be clear enough.

If your mother has another source of fixed income but you wish to emphasize that it is not enough for her to live as well as she should, you could use "supplement" as a verb. "I supplement my Mother's pension because the government payments are not enough."

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    Interestingly, the only stipends I've ever received or heard about have been one-time payments, to the point that the word to me actually clarifies that it will be a single lump of cash. I'm in the Midwest US if that's relevant.
    – Drake P
    May 8, 2023 at 17:16
  • 1
    @DrakeP I'm also in the US, and haven't heard it used that way. Could you give a specific example? Every university program I have had contact with that can afford to pay its grad students refers to such payments as "graduate student stipends", and they are typically meted out on the same biweekly schedule as those earning teaching salaries. A one-time payment would be called a "grant" or "award".
    – Kirt
    May 8, 2023 at 22:28
  • I was mostly thinking about internship housing stipends, especially as a lump sum: "The method of payment also varies. While lump sum payments are the most common, some employers elect to make weekly or monthly payouts or reimbursements." urbanbound.com/blog/…
    – Drake P
    May 9, 2023 at 3:55
  • ""Pocket money" does not imply that it is for a child" - Sorry, but I totally disagree with that. If you want to go back in time, then a housewife might get "Pin Money", but I've never heard of an adult getting "pocket money".
    – MikeB
    May 10, 2023 at 8:49
  • @MikeB I'd say pocket money isn't just for kids, although I agree it's less common for adults to have a small set amount to spend on frivolous things. But I can absolutely think of scenarios where an adult might have "pocket money", like someone who wins a modest amount on a scratch-off lotto ticket, or a college student who gets a birthday card with cash in it. May 10, 2023 at 14:11
1

If your parents own the house where you live (regardless of whether they also live there or not), then you can call it rent, even if the payment is not purely intended as compensation for such but also for other things.

Some people dislike using this term when applying from child to parent, especially in the same house -- another alternative term in more common use for that case is board.

Other answers have better terms for cases other than this.

0

All the answers were great but I would like to offer another perspective. I would call it "gratitude" money.

It is a very nice way of expressing what you are doing and it is actually what they truly are according to my understanding.

I think it sounds very nice and I find it very difficult for someone to interpret through a bad prism.

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    That would be a nice phrase. But unfortunately, it isn't a phrase that is idiomatically used in English.
    – James K
    May 9, 2023 at 21:43
  • 1
    "Gratitude money" suggests that you might be meaning a "gratuity", which is usually something entirely different (a tip to a service worker).
    – Miral
    May 10, 2023 at 6:54
  • I did see that this was an English-language forum. It's just a suggestion. I guess it will sound "strange" to someone hearing that. It's definitely a phrase that someone could start using though and even create a whole brand around it. <3
    – zpontikas
    May 10, 2023 at 23:52

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