Introducing an allowance

A couple of years ago we started giving both our kids (Mr10 and Mr13: not their real names) a $5 per week allowance. I hadn’t introduced pocket money in exchange for chores before, because I felt that chores were just something we all did and we don’t get paid for them when we move out of home, so why make that association in the first place. But eventually, I needed some sort of currency (see what I did there?) to bribe them with when they started to whine too much. They literally only had one job back then—Mr13 had to unstack the dishwasher and Mr10 had to empty the bins—and we decided paying them $5 a week was fair enough.

Mr13 wearing dish gloves
Mr13 at 3 years old, back when he thought washing the dishes was fun.

Neither of them spent much back then, so the $5 would just accrue each week in my mental balance sheet and every now and then they would ask to spend some of that or cash it out for something a bit bigger than junk food from the local grocery store. As you can imagine, that became unsustainable and the handwritten tally on a piece of paper was often neglected. We needed a better way to keep track of their spending and try to encourage some saving.

Working in tech and around startups every day, Matt met the founders of Spriggy and he felt it was a great way to get the kids on board with creating some savings goals as well as giving us an easy way to monitor how much allowance each kid had available to spend.

Spriggy comes with an app and a pre-paid Visa credit card. For the parents, the app allows us to pre-load an account that services a Parent Wallet and the kids’ spending money. We can see the savings goal, adjust pocket money, track spending, and lock the card if we need to. For the kids, they each get the independence of using their allowance wherever a credit card can be used, they can see how their savings are going in their app, and they can get used to making decisions about saving versus spending.

When we introduced Spriggy to the kids last year, we bumped up their weekly allowance to $10 and insisted they save half. As a 10 year old with no social life, Mr10 found it very easy to save his money. He even decided against buying a Wallace & Gromit souvenir when he checked the price, saying, “eh, it’s not worth it”. He topped out at about $165 dollars or so, before spending money on a few Steam and Xbox games. We can see Spriggy works for him.

At 13, though, Mr13 was burning through that cash like the card was on fire in his pocket and then coming to me for more. So, we’re trying something different and I’ll get into that in a coming post.

We do not have a commercial arrangement with Spriggy, except as customers, but if you sign up with this affiliate link, your account will come pre-loaded with $5 and our account will be topped up with $5, too.



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