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 your name, email address and password. Next step is to create an account for your child with an email address and password (you can still use your email address if your child doesn’t have one yet). Your child can then access Zefty without you to check on balances, but then can’t withdraw or deposit amounts in their account.
One neat twist is that you can choose different currencies including Dollar, British Pound, Euro and Yen so it’s useful for families outside of the US too.
There’s no charge to use Zefty. The site is supported by ads.
You can choose to set up automatic addition of the allowance or just add it manually yourself. The automatic addition options include daily, weekly (but only on Thursdays at midnight), every other week (only on Thursdays at midnight) and monthly (set as the first of every month). So, you don’t get to set the particular day that works for you.
Here’s what the account page looks like. It’s a nice clean page with a discreet ad at the bottom.
If you click on either of the Withdrawal or Deposit buttons, a box drops down with easy entry options.
ZeftyCalc has two functions. In the parents’ section, you can use it to calculate how much allowance you should pay your child. I found this interesting as it takes a slightly different approach from ones I’ve seen before and it feels like it’s likely a more accurate suggestion. The calculation is based on:
- Parents’ gross household income
- Age of child
- Chore amount/difficulty
- How often you pay the allowance
Using this, Zefty recommended we pay $7 weekly to T (we currently pay him $6 with the option to earn more money through additional chores).
In the kids’ section, ZeftyCalc is a simple calculator for working out how long you would need to save your allowance to save up enough for a specific item.
There’s also a fun ZeftyCheck function in the kids’ section. Kids can print out a check and hand it to the parent for payment of cash. As a nice touch, they can only request up to the amount in the account so no possibility of an overdraft!
And that’s it. A simple, clean approach to the basics of managing a kids’ allowance online.
I always like knowing more about the people behind a website. Zefty was created by a Dad called Brandon who has three daughters with another one on the way. Juggling the allowances of the first three daughters (who love to shop!), he created Zefty as a hassle-free way for both him and his kids to manage their money.
There’s a lot more you can do with online allowance tracking sites as you’ll see in the coming reviews. Zefty doesn’t meet our checklist of criteria, but may work for you and your family if you like things simple. To see more Zefty screenshots, check out this review.
Questions to ask (both for Zefty and other sites);
- Is this site around for the long term? (Particularly if you are interested in having your child learn from their spending/saving patterns over time.)
- Who is providing the support for this site? (I’d prefer it if Brandon gave his real name and clearer contact details)
- How well are they protecting your child’s privacy? (I noticed that all of the URLs on Zefty are http rather than https so the account details are not secure.)