Do you give your children an allowance, or plan to do so in the future?

I remember one of the coolest times in my childhood: when we began to get an allowance. It was $5 a week, and boy did we earn it. Then again, who doesn’t “earn it” on a dairy farm? Most days we were in the barn helping Dad with the cows: getting them in and out of the barn, milking them, feeding them, feeding the calves, sweeping the walkways, scraping the manure…the list goes on and on.

That $5 meant so much to us. It was like our parents trusted us with something very adult (money), and at the same time we were being rewarded for all of the hard work we did. The fact is, I can’t even remember what I spent it on (though I happen to be a saver at heart, so I’m thinking I probably saved some of it up for bigger purchases, or stashed it in my sock drawer). I just remember the way it made me feel.

Online Tools to Give and Track Allowances

As with almost everything else, there are online tools for allowances now that I’d like to highlight to see if any would be helpful when giving/tracking allowances with your own children. Who knows, you may be raising the next Warren Buffett, and introducing him/her to some of these tools could spark their natural curiosity!

Free Online Allowance Trackers

  1. Allowance Manager: This is a free online tool to help parents reward good behavior, discourage misbehavior, and track chores through the online management of an allowance. Money is not actually sent through this service (unless you want to upgrade to Allowance Manager Pro), only manually tracked by you. Kids can sign into the website as well to see how much allowance money they have accumulated. It even includes a chore chart if you’d like one! Works on both computers and mobile devices.
  2. Active Allowance: This is a free (first two levels for kids aged 6-15) online tool that allows you to create accounts, responsibilities, checklists, and budgets for each of your children (there are budgets and chore charts available for you to use). Once this is set up, the work shifts to the kids as they receive their daily checklists of responsibilities and they also become responsible for checking these items off of the list. At the end of the week, parents enter totals into the column for how much each child gets (no actual bank account is associated, however). Kids can log in to see how much is in their virtual accounts, and can print off a “check” made out to their parents in order to redeem their money from you.
  3. Dough Main: This online tool is free, and offers the opportunity to attach a bank account with their system (you can also get retail and visa gift cards; the spending on both can be tracked through this site and money must be preloaded so kids cannot spend beyond their means). There are chore trackers, budget trackers, and games for kids to learn how to save, spend, and donate their money (idea: why not reward them with $0.50 for each financial lesson they complete? Of course if my parents had offered that incentive they would have had to hand over the monthly rent payment).
  4. Three Jars: This free (for kids aged 5-13) online allowance tool has some fun features, like the ability to pay your kids interest on their savings jars and even charitable jars so that kids learn the importance of more than just wisely spending their money (though that’s great learning as well!). The way the money works is that parents pay for odd jobs around the house, allowance or baby-sitting with IOUs. IOUs represent cash, but again, this service is not a bank and does not automatically put money into a child’s account or take it out of a parents’ account.
  5. Family Mint: The basic online version is free, which includes the option for your child to create their own SMART goals, track their money in/out, and give them access to The Family Mint Method to learn how to better manage their money.
  6. Oink: This particular free online tool is a bit more geared towards spending, but teaching your child how to spend and allocate part of their budget towards the things they want can be a great lesson as well. Kids can transfer money back and forth between their spending and savings accounts, give money to charity from the site, and buy gifts for their friends. They can also purchase from preapproved retailers within their spending limits (established by the parent).

Did you get an allowance when you were a kid? Do you give your kids an allowance, and how does the system in your home work? 

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