Allowance websites offer alternative to piggy banks

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28 2012 11:25 a.m. MST

Allowance websites offer alternatives to children keeping pennies in a piggy bank, but one writer looks at their value in teaching children money management, in an article on mintlife.com.

More than a dozen sites are available for parents and children to use in handling allowance. While some of these sites are free, they often make money through their online stores, according to the blog post. Because of this connection, children are tempted to spend their money, rather than save, during each website visit.

Other sites, which aren't sponsored by Amazon-connected stores, make their money through annual fees, which range from $30 to $72. The tendency to shop each time is less, but service provided by these sites is not significantly better than the sponsored sites.

Beth Kobliner, a personal finance commentator and journalist who wrote the blog post, prefers to pay her children's weekly allowance in cash. This, she said, provides the opportunity to communicate with them about money.

"My main concern: Allowance sites can be an impediment to money talks, rather than a way to facilitate those conversations," Kobliner wrote in an article. "Why talk about saving for a goal or the family budget when you can just automate your kid’s weekly allowance?"

But for those who do choose to use online accounts, she has some suggestions.

"Allowance is also a great tool to teach the value of saving," Kobliner wrote. "For parents who use these sites, I encourage you to set up your child’s account so that a high percentage (at least 25 percent) of allowance goes toward saving."

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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