Category Archives: Online Allowance Trackers

Review: bankaroo, The Basic Online Allowance Tracker

 

Some of the most popular posts on Growing Rich Kids are the reviews of online allowance trackers – or virtual family banks. One of the latest contenders is bankaroo, which is the brainchild of eleven year old, Danielle Gafni. I love to see kids experimenting with being an entrepreneur so after her Dad, Etny, brought bankaroo to my attention, I decided to check it out for our ongoing series of reviews.

As always with these reviews, I use our checklist of what our family is looking for in an online allowance tracker. You should bear in mind that what your family needs in a virtual family bank might be different.

bankaroo is a free, simple online allowance tracker that focuses on the core needs of tracking money coming in (for example an allowance, gifts or earning money) and spending.  It was easy to set up an account and add a child. The key highlights of bankaroo are:

  • Allowance – you can set a regular time – weekly, biweekly and monthly – for a set amount to be paid automatically. (It looks like this is time from the day you set it up.)
  • Goals – you can pick a product/service that your child wants to buy, enter how much it costs and then you have the option of stating how much will be saved towards this – weekly, biweekly and monthly.
  • Mobile access – the inspiration for bankaroo was from a conversation about allowances between Danielle and her Dad when they were out shopping so they have been careful to optimize the site for the mobile web. And they are working on an app for the iPhone.
  • Badges – mimicking the use of badges on sites such as Foursquare and GetGlue, bankaroo awards badges for everything from setting up an account to setting a goal to reaching the goal. On the site, they say that they will be running a contest based on the number of goals accomplished and amount of money saved and will award one bankaroo member some spending money towards a Club Penguin membership or to spend on iTunes.

This is how a sample account that I set up for T looked:

 

There are a series of great tutorials that they’ve put together which shows you how to use the site.

bankaroo has only just launched so clearly is in its initial stages of development. It worked really well for me apart from two things:

  • I set up an automatic $2.00 to be deducted from the weekly allowance and put towards the savings goal. This showed up in the Recent Activities box and the Upcoming Activities box (you can see this above) but didn’t show up in the Goals box.
  • I couldn’t quite figure out the matching funds. I clicked the box for automatic matching funds of $1 towards whatever T saved and it shows up in the Recent Activities box but I’m not sure when it gets applied.  When he receives his allowance?  If that’s the case, then he’s not really saved anything. As bankaroo is missing a specific balance for savings – it’s all just one general account – it’s hard to tell what he is saving.
Key items that are missing for our family, though, are the ability for kids to divide their allowance into spending, savings, charity and other accounts like saving for college and the ability for parents to pay interest automatically on some or all of these accounts.
Kudos to Danielle for coming up with an idea for a business and spending time and effort into designing it. Even more praise and admiration for her parents for turning this into a family project and helping her get this off the ground.
For our needs, however, bankaroo doesn’t meet our checklist. We’ll continue to stick with FamZoo.

 

 

Review: FamZoo – Flexible Enough For Every Family

Wrapping up our series on online allowance trackers, today’s post looks at virtual family bank, FamZoo.com. FamZoo was started back in 2006 by Bill Dwight to help manage allowances for his five children. Friends and family soon got to hear about it and clamored to use it too, starting in 2007. Bill and his partner,Continue Reading

Review: FamilyMint, The Goal-Focused Allowance Tracker

  I almost feel a bit redundant writing today’s review as FamilyMint does such an excellent job producing video guides to its site. To keep things useful, I’ll focus on what I discovered while playing around with the site and also evaluate how it stacks up against the criteria we set at the start ofContinue Reading

Review: How Moneytrail Tackles Allowances

Continuing our series of reviews looking at online allowance tracking sites or virtual family banks, today we’re looking at the new kid on the block. Moneytrail was launched in 2010 by Pam and Frank Whitlock. As parents of four children, including two teenagers, they had experienced first hand the struggle to keep on top ofContinue Reading

Review – ThreeJars: Ambitious But Flawed

When we first started giving allowances to our two boys in Kindergarten, we used three jars – three plastic containers for each of them with their names Sharpied on – to keep their money.  We followed the Spend-Save-Share approach and told the kids how much they should allocate to their Spending jar, their Saving jarContinue Reading

Review: Zefty, The No-Frills Online Allowance Tracker

Kicking off our reviews of some of the online allowance tracking sites out there, I decided to start at the end of the alphabet with Zefty. Zefty is a no-frills website that does exactly what it sets out to do: help kids and their parents track allowances. Opening an account is simple: just enter yourContinue Reading