I’ve used several different chore apps over the years. I’ve even tried Choremonster at one point. One thing that I didn’t like about them was trying to remember to cash out my children’s allowance.
Like most people these days, I rarely carry cash, and even more rarely go to the bank. Every time I’m checking out at the grocery store, I keep forgetting to get cashback until after the transaction is complete.
If I keep forgetting to get the cash, the kids start forgetting to do their chores. It’s a vicious cycle. Also, the kids would always forget to bring their cash to the store, so we’d have to remember what was in their spending jar, I’d have to loan them the money at the store, and they would pay me back when we get home.
I really didn’t feel like it was teaching them how to budget and spend their money wisely. I was looking for a better way to manage chores and teach my children finances. That is when I went on the hunt for a better solution. I really wanted debit cards for my kids.
I ended up picking Greenlight for a number of reasons. The main reason I selected Greenlight is that it would send each of my kids their very own debit card! This isn’t just an ordinary debit card though, I have complete control over it! I also get notifications whenever my kid’s card is used.
Debit card for kids
I could have just gone to the bank and gotten my children standard checking accounts and transferred money easily to their account, but Greenlight gives you much more control than that. You can designate money as “spend anywhere” or you can move some money to only be used at a specific place, or type of place like an ATM.
When you sign up for the service, you can customize the card they will send your child with a photo they have taken or one they really like. You can also just get a standard green card. You can set or change their PIN number right from within the app if your child forgets it.
If there is money in their “spend anywhere” they will be allowed to use exactly that amount at any location. However, you can create your own “greenlights” to allow them to spend money at a specific location. If they are going somewhere fun with a friend, you can set it to only allow them to spend a specific amount at that location so they don’t overspend.
Speaking of overspending. There are no overdraft capabilities, so they won’t have to worry about going over their limit. They can check their balance on their phones before they get to the cash register so they know how much they have. This really helps them to understand the value of money!
Another great thing about Greenlight is that it is teaching my kids how to budget. This includes putting some money towards savings and putting some towards charitable donations.
I have each of their allowances automatically set to put 60% towards “Spend Anywhere”, 30% into savings, and 10% into Giving. Even though this happens automatically, it is still teaching them where their money goes. Some might prefer to have their kids manually move the money into the different sections to help them grasp it even further.
Teaching savings and interest
One really cool feature is that parents can elect to pay out interest for kids who save their money. You can set this up through a percentage of what is currently in their “savings” section, or just a monthly payment. The money to cover the interest still comes out of your parent wallet.
Transfer money easily
Speaking of the parent wallet, this is the “holding place” for money to be disbursed according to the schedule you have set. I really like the way this works. You can fund your parent wallet at any time. Money is available right away if you connect your bank account.
I like to fund my wallet once a month with enough money to cover allowance for the month. This way it’s really easy for me to manage it in my own budget. If I ever need to send some extra money to my kids for school supplies or a special event, it is very quick and easy to complete.
I have set my kids’ allowance to a set amount every week, but you can choose twice monthly or once a month as well. You can also pick which day of the week you want the allowance to be transferred.
Teaching kids how to work
The app also includes the ability to assign chores and even extra chores. My kids both have “weekly” chores that repeat daily and some just straight weekly chores like doing their laundry. The One-Time chores can have a dollar amount assigned to them so when they complete those extra chores the money for those can be transferred right away.
When they complete their weekly chores, you can see that they have checked them off. If your child is constantly missing chores, you can pause their allowance until they clean up their act. I wish you could select to automatically pause their allowance if the chores haven’t been completed.
I would also like the ability to “approve” whether or not the chore has been completed. At least at first, this would be helpful until I know that my kid can complete the task appropriately. You can create your own chores, or select some of the pre-created chores included with the app.
You can even set up a direct deposit if your child is employed by a company. It’s not quite as easy as it sounds though, and the company will have to manually send you the routing and account number to set it up. It also doesn’t work for deposits from PayPal or Venmo.
Even the Grandparents can get in on the action by sending a gift to your child through the app. If they visit greenlightcard.com/gift they can purchase a code that will be sent to your child. You can then enter the code into the app and have the money available to use right away!
What do you need to sign up?
Greenlight does cost $5/month, which could deter a lot of people from using the service. For me, it is completely worth the cost. You can get Debit cards for up to 5 kids for that amount. Since I only have 2 kids, it’s like I’m only spending $2.50 a month per kid. If you have more kids it makes it even more affordable.
It used to be required that your child has a phone number in order to use the service, but they have fixed that. So now, if your child has a phone with no service or no phone at all, they can still use the card.
My kids LOVE using their debit cards, and even their Grandparents loved it. My Mom recently took my children to a pumpkin patch/carnival. The kids brought their cards and were able to purchase things they wanted instead of asking Grandma to buy it for them. My Mom was so impressed by their ability to use their own money.
This is a really great way to help your kids learn how to budget their money. Definitely go check it out. (This post is not sponsored in any way shape or form)
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.
Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com