A dollar per year of age. Fifty cents for each load of dishes washed. A $5 bonus for that A in Geometry.
Whether you link your kids’ allowance to chores, dock their spending money for a less-than-stellar report card, or pay them just for existing as decent human beings, you need an effective method of monitoring that stipend. And if you’re only using pen and paper—or worse, your memory—you might be making it a bigger hassle than necessary.
Instead, try outsourcing your bookkeeping to your phone. From customized budgeting options to prepaid cards, these apps let you—and your kids—virtually keep track of who’s getting paid what and when.
So, if you’re toying with the idea of giving your kids an allowance, don’t let the thought of being nickeled-and-dimed hold your family back. Give these apps a go and streamline that piggy bank situation.
What this app lacks in looks it makes up for in flexibility and customization. FamZoo is the only app on our list that boasts two setup options: the first, a set of four linked prepaid cards loaded with real money (and FDIC insured); the other, an IOU account that allows you to track money held elsewhere. While you still have access to the budgeting tools if you forego the prepaid cards, you won’t have to separately track a bank account or remember to grab cash if you use them. You can also opt to use a combination of the two options if that works best for your family.
Even the under-13 set can benefit from the prepaid card accounts, which according to FamZoo are issued to the parent (as legal cardholder) on the child’s behalf. An account nickname like “Timmy’s Pocket Money” is embossed on the card, and little Timmy has access to his balance and transaction history via the app. You can also manage allowances via your web browser.
There’s a learning curve to this one, but FamZoo’s myriad options give you functional tools to impart sound lessons in budgeting, saving, and even compound interest. You can get it on both Android and iOS.
- Choose between prepaid cards or simple money tracking accounts if you prefer to hold money elsewhere
- Customize budgets and savings goals
- Create to-do lists and link monetary rewards to checked off items
- “Bill” your kids for missed chores or a share of the cell phone bill
While RoosterMoney’s functionality is somewhat simpler, it’s also more visually appealing and intuitive. Setup is fast: add yourself as a user, then your kids, and set the amount, frequency, and payday for a regular allowance payout. Add to and subtract from account categories for spending, saving, and charitable giving. You can also add money to a “Goals” account if your child would like to save up for a big-ticket item. You can download RosterMoney for both Android and iOS.
Once you’re set up, adding and removing funds is as easy as tapping the plus or minus sign. You can also transfer funds between these accounts, such as from the Spend account to Goals. The app keeps transaction history and account balances available for each kid to access via his own login. They’re fun to look at and easy for kids to understand, with the size of each circle corresponding to the amount in that account.
The basic Rooster account offers enough to suit your family’s needs if you don’t plan to automate the process of paying your kid for chores. Otherwise, upgrading to the app’s paid version grants access to this feature and some others, such as the ability to award interest on money saved.
Of course, Rooster isn’t holding any actual money for you. You’ll still need cash or bank accounts for funds to actually change hands.
- Easy format for younger kids
- Pause or restart an allowance with a simple tap
- Split allowance payments by percentage to Spend, Save, and Give
- In Plus, payments can be made contingent upon chore completion
RoosterMoney’s basic version is free. Their monthly Plus subscription will run you $2.99.
The PennyBox app could be described as a stripped-down version of RoosterMoney. PennyBox is as simple as it gets: there is no way to categorize each child’s funds. The app creates one “wallet” per child, and the parent can cash into or out from this wallet in limited ways. The only frequency setting for regular allowance payments is weekly, though you can choose the day of the week. It also lacks prepaid cards.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it, however. If all you’re looking for is basic and free, PennyBox could be the one for you. The PennyBox app is iOS only, but the company says an Android version is coming soon.
- Add one-time, weekly, or task-based payments
- Lets child add a photo of the completed chore as proof
- Completely free
These days, it’s not just an allowance: it’s an opportunity to teach financial literacy. And with these tools and some simple planning, that just got a little easier. Which app that works best for you will depend on your lifestyle and what you find is most effective.