Allowance Apps: A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

Keeping your tots motivated to do chores with monetary rewards is a good way to teach them responsibility, but it only works if you keep proper accounting. Otherwise, they will lose interest, or worse – think that you don’t keep your promises. I use a reward chart with stickers. When they’ve filled up the entire chart (20 stickers total), they get $5 to buy whatever they want. It’s a good arrangement, but I’ve been looking for something to keep track once they get their monetary reward. Whether you use a reward system or give a weekly allowance, getting an app to track everything not only saves your sanity, but also teaches your tots the basics of money management.

I like the KidsBank app because it does everything you need it to do, and it’s free! Some chores are already built in to the app with descriptions of what constitutes a completed task. You can use the preset list and edit the amount each pays, as well as create your own. The app splits the money into savings, spending, and charity, the percentages of which are adjustable. They can also earn interest (20% is the default setting – where can I get that for my own savings??), which is a great educational tool for teaching tots the power of compound interest! The free version has a lot of features, so the only benefit of upgrading to the full is the ability to e-mail a statement. This is kind of cool, but it’ll cost you $2.99. All in all, this is a great tool without too many frills!

The other one that impressed me is iAllowance ($3.99). It has much better graphics (you can put your tot’s picture on their profile!), as well as pie charts and other nifty features to give kids a good idea of what’s going on with their money. Tots are visual learners, so these features and the overall chalkboard look of the app will help them stay focused and interested. I like that it allows you to give them a green check when they’ve fulfilled their task and a red X when they haven’t. Simple features like these make it easy enough for your tots to use both of these apps themselves. That is assuming that when they’re old enough to do chores, they are also iPhone proficient. The last thing you need is one more thing to do!

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