You’re schlepping through Target, trying to pick up one little thing, and a toy catches the eye of your six year old. She begs, pleads, debates, and wraps her body around your thigh. No way are you caving into this impulse, right? You proudly hold your ground (or not). And you tell her she should bring her own money the next time (like that’s gonna happen).

But where is her money? How much does she really have? At home I used to find stray bills tucked here and there. Tooth fairy money had slipped off the nightstands or had been buried in jewelry boxes or desk drawers. Sometimes my kids spent the money the second it hit their hands and later forgot. Try explaining to your six year old, who can’t remember what year it is, that she already bought a Beanie Boo with the five from Grandpa.


There had to be a better way. That’s when we discovered an app called iAllowance. This free app allows you to track your kids’ spending and saving. Download it to your phone so you can access it at any time, even while strolling those tempting aisles. When your kids see something they want, you simply consult the app to see what they have in their account. Sorry, not enough. Or, you’ve got it. Then, deduct the amount on the spot. You can also encourage saving by setting an artificially high interest rate so your kids see their money growing quickly.

The underlying concept behind teaching kids about money, as we learned from The First National Bank of Dad by David Owen, is this: your kids need to first have money in order to learn how to manage it.

Here’s how easy the iAllowance app is:

1. Download. Cute piggy bank logo, huh?

2. Set up an account for each child. You can upload a photo of them, too.

3. The next time your child is given money (through allowance or small jobs/tooth fairy/birthday/holidays), put the bills in your wallet. You’re the bank. (This concept is a tad tricky for younger kids, but they’ll get the hang of it.)

4. Open the app and make a deposit into that child’s account. Show your child. If she doesn’t spend it by next week, it grows. Your child will love to watch it grow!

Here’s the catch—you have to let them spend their money on whatever they want. Don’t worry. They will probably surprise you. And no more haggling, debating, whining! It’s hard to watch them blow money on something you think is ridiculous, but then they learn.

Check out this ten minute iAllowance setup video on uTube

Carolyn Menke writes blogs, novels, and sappy notes in her daughter’s lunches. Follow her on Twitter at @carolynmenke