Looking for a powerful yet super easy tool to begin kids allowance? This is it…
This post is sponsored by Greenlight. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.
“Mom, can I get this with my own money?” my daughter asks holding up a fuzzy leopard print vest.
I stare at the vest as my mind floods with questions:
- Do I know how much allowance she has?
- Does she know how much allowance she has?
- Will we agree?
More than once we’ve gotten into an argument about this – in the middle of a store. What followed were tears, angry words and concerned looks from other shoppers.
What was supposed to be a lesson in money management would turn into an argument.
This is not what I signed up for.
But the problem is that managing kids allowance takes a lot of time and organization and is simply a PAIN. Here’s why:
- Having to always make sure there are enough dollar bills in the house makes me feel like my job description expanded to a part-time manager of a mini bank chain.
- Every Sunday morning I have to remember to hand out allowance money. While a phone alarm helps – there have been times I was busy with something else and forgot.
- Shopping trips frequently erupt into arguments if the girls find something they want to buy. Since they don’t carry their cash with them at all times – often neither of us can accurately remember exactly how much they have at home.
When the girls were little and we first began allowance, dealing with the cash was fine. I thought it was important for them to at first understand the difference between dollar bills and coins and have a concrete understanding of how much money they had saved.
But after three years of managing allowance, I was done. Done with the dollar bills, done with remembering to pay them, and done with the uncertainty of knowing how much allowance each daughter had when we weren’t at home.
It was time for a better solution.
How to manage kids allowance with ease
I’ve tried a number of methods to make this allowance thing easier but so many came up short – some couldn’t be accessed by phone, some were way too complicated, and others just didn’t suit our needs.
But recently I came across Greenlight and immediately knew this was exactly what I was looking for.
Since I’ve tried a few different apps over the years I was at first doubtful that this would be the answer, but instead, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Here’s why I love it:
- Each week Greenlight automatically deposits the correct amount of allowance into separate accounts for each girl. No more phone alarms!
- When we’re out shopping I can quickly look at the Greenlight app on my phone to determine how much money is in each girls’ account.
- Best of all – the Greenlight app is very easy to use – It’s intuitive, dynamic, and makes giving kids an allowance SUPER SIMPLE.
Here’s how Greenlight works:
- Parents download the app on their phone and then set up the account (this took me about 10 minutes maximum) including depositing a small amount into a parent account plus depositing select amounts into children’s accounts.
- Next, the parent can choose to have a weekly allowance deposited into each child’s account AUTOMATICALLY (I love that word) each week or whatever timing works best for your family.
- Each child then receives his or her own debit card that is tied to their Greenlight account. This means kids and teens are able to pay for products on their own and begin to understand how to use card readers.
- For older teens, parents can designate money into four buckets – “Spend Anywhere”, “Limit Spending to a Specific Store”, “Limit Spending to Any Gas Station”, and “Limit Spending to Any Restaurant”. Of course, once teens are proven to be responsible enough parents can simply place all of their allowance into the “Spend Anywhere” account.
- There’s also an option for teens to request money while they’re out shopping. Say your daughter needs to buy a dress for prom – she can send you a photo of the dress she wants to buy along with the price and you can approve or disapprove. If you approve, Greenlight will automatically deposit that amount into her account. (see the video below).
What happened next was simply amazing
This time after my daughter asked to buy the leopard print vest (I claim no responsibility for her fashion sense) – I quickly realized I no longer had to wonder how much allowance money she had to spend.
Two weeks before I had set up our Greenlight account and knew I could easily tell her how much money was in her account.
“Let me get out my phone.” I said, quickly flipping over to the Greenlight app.
“You have $26.” I said – enough for her to buy the discounted vest.
Searching through my wallet I found the debit card with her name on it and handed it over to her.
With the confidence of a leopard-print-wearing diva, my daughter walked up to the cash register and with a little guidance from me, completed the transaction on her own.
No fuss. No drama. No argument.
And best of all, since we knew how much money she had right there in the store the lesson of spending choices was more evident than ever.
Next on my to-do list – find an app that teaches kids the finer points of good fashion sense.
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About the Author
Kerry Flatley is the owner and author of Self-Sufficient Kids. She has a BA in economics, an MBA, a certificate in financial planning, and has been investing ever since she landed her first job. Kerry also has two girls, ages 11 and 13, who have been receiving allowance – and learning money management – for the past five years.