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Parents play a crucial role in the habits their children form while growing up. Everything is picked up from mannerisms, speech, product choices, and even saving and spending habits.
Parents are already busy and have a lot on their plate, but the internet can be their friend-it is a great source for finding educational material. There are educational tools all across the web covering money management for children so mom or dad doesn’t have to take the time and effort to create educational materials from scratch.
Almost all of the sites we evaluated are centered on sharing, saving and spending and have three things in common; a platform for parents to monitor what their children are doing, a platform for children, and some form of a rewards tracking system. These sites were developed to streamline all your children’s allowance, track their chores and accomplishments, and to monitor all activity in one place.
With April being financial literacy month, we took the time to review the following sites geared specifically towards children and teens. Check out our top 5 free money management websites for children:
This site tops the list because the chore chart and reward system are very well thought-out by the designers. Parents are able to log in and assign their child weekly chores and the child can then enter in when the chore has been completed and points will then be added. Points are given a monetary value by the parent and the child can then exchange the points for money to be donated, saved or spent. Parents are able to link up a real bank account so the child can make safe, online pre-approved purchases with Amazon. Children are not allowed to directly click-through to Amazon, so you can be assured your children won’t buy anything that’s not already approved. This platform also allows emails between the child and parent and parents can receive notifications when chores are completed.
This site is unique because it allows for children to make online purchases in a secure environment within the limits the parent has set up. Parents are able to set up spending limits for individual merchants and children are only able to make purchases on approved websites. Child accounts can also be turned off if they fail to complete chores or received an unsatisfactory grade, for example. This site helps your child envision how much money they have to make a purchase, evaluate if they would like to spend now or save for a future purchase, and gives them the freedom to make “independent” purchases. Not to worry parents, your credit card information is hidden, so the child cannot use that information for other purchases elsewhere on the internet.
Kidworth is a unique site because it allows for family members or friends to contribute to the child’s savings by sending a gift card with the option to personalize the message. They can also view the child’s wish list, completely eliminating the guessing process for birthday and holiday purchases. Gifts received are tracked on the website so the child will never forget which aunt gave him/her that bike last Christmas. Like all sites, this one has 3 “jars” for spend, save and share. The child is able to visually see all the money they have in the form of cash or gift cards and allocate which “jar” to place them in. IOU’s and allowance can also be tracked so the child will always know if they got their allowance that week or not-Sorry parents!
This company stands out from the crowd because it brings to light the issues parents have with tracking allowance money and having the exact amount of change on hand to give to their child. Tasks or chores can be tracked separately from allowance tracking, or you can combine them to be tracked together. It’s up to the parent how they would like to reward their child for completing chores and tasks. The child requests to spend or give their earned virtual money, which is approved or denied by the parent. If they choose to spend their virtual money, the parent pays with their own credit card and the virtual money is subtracted from the right category. Tykoon selects which nonprofit groups can be donated to and which products can be purchased so the child is purchasing in a safe environment.
MoneyTrail made it on our list in the 5th spot. This site allows the tracking of money earned and allowance distribution, but it doesn’t offer anything unique to make it stand out from the crowd. It splits up your money into different categories like checks, cash, gift cards, etc. MoneyTrail comes with an Automatic Purchases option where the child can set up auto-charges for things like their cell phone or a gaming subscription the parent isn’t paying for. This process introduces the child to how auto drafts work in a checking account. MoneyTrail streamlines the IOU process and keeps your allowance on track if your parents don’t have cash on hand when a task is completed.
There are a lot of similar resources and sites like the ones listed, so keep in mind the above made the list because they are all free and include a platform for both the child and the parent. Some honorable mentions include Count My Beanz, Rich Kid Smart Kid, the credit card simulator at ChannelOne.com, Three Jars, and It’s My Life by PBS Kids. My favorite non-free money management site is FamZoo. Check out their price structure to see if it’s right for you and your family.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.