Looking for an easy way to manage and pay an allowance for chores? This chore app for kids is the PERFECT solution.
I’ve been wanting to setup an allowance for the kids for some time. They’ve been doing chores since they were young… I usually start involving the kids in chores as soon as they are walking. While they aren’t particularly helpful at that age (1 years old), they enjoy helping and we make it a game. My focus is just to keep them from getting into trouble while I am completing the chore. As the kids have gotten older though, my kids have become interested in earning money. Letting them do additional chores for bonus allowance takes a weight off my shoulders and they enjoy having money to spend.
My main concern, however, was managing their allowance. I am already overwhelmed with trying to work and parent and run a farm. I never have cash. While I wanted to set them up with their own bank accounts, getting them into the bank to do it during a pandemic was a hard no… taking three kids ANYWHERE in normal times is a mess.
But I started seeing ads for a chore app for kids called Greenlight. After checking out their app, I signed up. We’ve been using the Standard Plan (no option for investing money) for about three months now and we LOVE the app. It’s setup to make the process of allowance and chores EASY for parents and fun for kids.
This allowance app even allows me to setup HOW the money is spent; their allowance money can be split into spending money, savings, and money to donate. As a parent, YOU can decide how to split that money up.
When Greenlight asked if I would be willing to partner with them to promote the app, I was so excited to share more about this company. This is the sort of product that I LOVE to promote- the debit card and app make my life easier. It allows me to teach my kids how to work for money, how to save money, and how to spend money in a smart way.
I’m going to talk a little bit about WHY you should offer chores and an allowance to your kids, what types of chores and allowance should you give, and more specifically WHY you should use the Greenlight app to manage it all.
Table of Contents
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Why Offer Chores and Allowance?
I think chores are a VITAL part of growing up and learning how to be a member of a family or other community. If you live somewhere or participate in a group, you chip in and help with routine tasks. Learning how to take care of your room translates to learning how to take care of your apartment or home.
And chores allow kids to learn new skills and explore tasks they enjoy. It’s part of figuring out what you want to do with your life. Love babysitting your younger siblings? That translates into a job working as a pediatrician, school teacher, or day care provider. Love helping out in the garden? Maybe agriculture or landscaping would be a potential career. Even if they don’t find their career through chores, maybe they discover what they DON’T want to do.
As a parent, I believe in offering a variety of chores and teaching kids how to complete each; these are life skills. Teach them about using a washing machine…. they should understand how regular and HE machines work, how to avoid shrinking their clothes, and what settings to use. You can even teach them about household maintenance like changing out air filters in the HVAC system or cleaning lint out of the dryer vents.
The other benefit to chores is that it takes some pressure off parents. We have three kids and a small farm; I’m constantly overwhelmed. My oldest son took over cleaning the animal barns and it’s been a huge help to me. I often go out and help him, or do cleanup in another area while he works. It gives me an opportunity to get other things done.
In the long run, chores benefit the kids too. Doing chores as a team can be a great family activity. Even if everyone does their chores independently, it opens up time on mom and dad’s schedules to spend time with their kids doing fun things.
When everyone shares the workload, everyone wins.
And I want to raise young men who help their spouses. I don’t want to feel taken advantage of, and I don’t want anyone else to feel like that either.
Allowance teaches kids that their work is worthwhile and that they can work more or harder to earn more of it. With a limited allowance, kids learn to manage their money, make smart purchases, and learn the value of a dollar. They can decide how to use their time wisely; if they want to make a big purchase, they can opt to do additional chores to save up. They have to make decisions about the value of their time: How much time do I want to spend working? How much time do I want to spend playing video games? How do I balance both in a good way?
Chores and Allowance By Age
The one thing I struggle with is choosing the right AMOUNT for allowance. I’ve been known to over pay, and we’ve had to adjust our pay rates a bit as needed. For example, last year I offered them $1/bucket to pick weeds in my garden. But when the weeds are 2′ tall, you can fill up a bucket in minutes. We adjusted this year so I won’t go broke (wink).
To be honest, I don’t want my kids to have too much spending money. My personal belief is that they should experience the necessity of saving for the things they want to buy.
When I was a kid, I used to babysit the toddler next door for $1/hour. I remember going to a store and asking my mom for a cute pair of socks. She suggested I buy the socks myself… when I saw they were $6 for a pair of socks, I quickly decided they weren’t worth six hours of my time.Danielle Pientka
I want my kids to have that experience. If the chores and money are too easy, they might not learn the lessons behind allowance.
So bear with me… I saw a website that suggested $1 per year of the child’s life, but I’m not paying based on age. I’m paying based on chores completed. I’m fairly old school in some respects; I expect my kids to do some chores as a natural part of living in the household. They’re expected to put their dishes in the sink after eating, unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher daily, and they wipe down the table after we eat. They are also expected to keep their rooms and bathroom clean. They put their clean laundry away after we wash it. My oldest son has a pet rabbit and he is expected to clean the cage and give her food and water. If he doesn’t, he can’t earn allowance doing anything else.
I do give them a small allowance for the household chores: they each have a base allowance of $5. If they don’t do their household chores, they won’t get it.
I have their allowance split up as:
- 40% in Spend Anywhere
- 40% in General Savings
- 20% in Giving
They can earn additional allowance for doing activities during the week. My 9 year old is the only one interested in this right now; he earns additional money for cleaning out the barns each week ($10/week for cleaning the horse run in, the chicken coop, and the goat shed). My other two sons are 3.5 and 7 so they’re less focused on earning money at this point. Occasionally my husband pays our oldest son $1 to run garbage or recycling bins to the curb as it’s a good 1/4 mile away from our house.
This is a good run down of chores that I feel comfortable offering to my kids. My 9 year old helps with lawn mowing (with a push mower) and weed whacking, however, and does a few more ‘advanced’ chores. We felt like he was able to safely perform those tasks, but we haven’t allowed him to mow with the riding mower yet.
What do you have your kids do for chores? Should I add anything else to this list?
Greenlight: A Kids Allowance App with a Debit Card
There are a lot of benefits to using an app rather than dealing with allowance the normal way. It’s certainly a lot easier to manage when you’re a busy parent.
Benefits to Greenlight:
- Easier to manage chores and allowance.
- No need to keep cash around.
- The kids can setup their own account to track their chores.
- YOU get help with chores, leaving you free to do other things.
- Low monthly fee (cheaper than a large latte).
- Ecofriendly- Paper free! Nothing to print out.
- Quick and automated.
- Encourages saving and donating money.
Spending Money with Greenlight
This is, obviously, my kids favorite feature with the Greenlight app. They each have their own standard debit card that they can use to make purchases. They’re only allowed to spend money from their spending portion of the account. When they make a purchase, I get a pop up from the app that tells me how much they spent and where they spent the money.
The spending portion of the account is setup for ‘spend anywhere,’ but you can set limits on what they spend money on. For example, you can section off a portion for gas, groceries, or online gaming. This keeps them from spending all of their money on Robux (which is probably what my kids would do). My kids aren’t earning much as their ages, but this would be useful as they get older.
Saving Money with Greenlight
I setup Greenlight so a portion of the boys’ allowance goes into savings. I haven’t worked out WHERE the savings should go. Originally I was thinking that it could go towards their college savings, but savings can be for a lot of things. It can be for spending money on an upcoming vacation, go towards a 401k, or go towards their future car.
Putting money in a retirement account at a young age can be advantageous because the account will have many years to grow. Read this article about the compounding interest if a child saved $40/month starting at age 10 in a 401K; ultimately the $15k that the child saved from 10-18 years old would be around $84,601 at their retirement… with absolutely no other savings added after 18. Just remember to transfer that money from Greenlight into the proper investment accounts if needed. The article recommends a custodial Roth IRA.
The reality is that once kids get into college and then into their career, expenses start adding up fast. When you’re paying student loans, home loans, medical bills, and daycare costs for your kids, saving money can be a lot harder. I wish I’d done a better job saving money as a kid.
Donating Money with Greenlight
I love the option to have some money set aside to donate. When kids are ready to donate, they can search for a charity using the charity navigator website. They can find a charity under categories such as animals, arts, environment, human and civil rights, and more.
Investing Money with Greenlight
If you upgrade to Greenlight + Invest plan, the kids can even learn how to invest their money. I’m intrigued, but my kids are still young to understand the concept so we haven’t started that yet. While I haven’t explored this option, your kids can explore stocks, buy real stocks with as little as $1, and learn how to track performance on their investments. It’s certainly a good way to teach kids how to earn money with money, and also to teach them that investments can result in financial losses as well.
How to Use the Greenlight App
All tasks can be completed in the Greenlight app, including ordering, replacing, and activating a new card. You can also change the pin in the app.
My only wish list item for the app would be if I could check off which chores they did and deduct a percentage if something wasn’t completed. I’m hoping they add more flexibility to add tasks that aren’t weekly, but it’s a new app and I’m sure those things will be added at some point!
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