Money Moves

5 Affordable (Or Free) Allowance And Budgeting Apps For Kids

Teaching kids about money at a young age can help set them up for financial success.

Budgeting apps can help teach kids financial literacy.
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What's the best part of adulting? Paying bills, of course! Said absolutely nobody. Ever. But the harsh truth is that knowing how to budget money is a critical life skill. For many, financial literacy isn't learned until later in life and can lead to a lot of trial and error. That's why teaching kids early on about money and the importance of saving and budgeting is a must. Thanks to the allowance and budgeting apps available to kids today, this just got a little bit easier for parents and kids!

While it's true that learning from mistakes can lead to success, financial mistakes can literally cost you. But what better time for kids to make money miscalculations than when they have their parents to back them up? "One of the best ways to teach kids between [the ages of six to 17] how to manage money is to let them practice with real money. Give them an allowance or help them earn money from an outside job and encourage them to save every time they receive money. Most importantly, let them make their own decisions and make mistakes. The consequences are minor at this age, but the lessons they learn are invaluable," says Liz Frazier, CFP, Executive Director of Financial Literacy at Copper Banking, and author of Beyond Piggy Banks and Lemonade Stands: How to Teach Young Kids about Finance.

If you're reading this and feeling overwhelmed, remember that teaching your kids about money doesn't have to be complicated. Even if your child is on the younger side, they're probably not too young to earn a small allowance and learn the value of a dollar. And essential financial concepts like cash inflow and outflow might sound complicated but are actually simple enough to be taught in everyday situations, such as a trip to the grocery or toy store. "Walk through how much money they have, how much they'll earn, and what they plan to spend. Talk to your kids about making smart decisions when buying something, such as avoiding impulse purchases and comparison shopping," Frazier advises.

Ready to get your kids learning all about money? Check out these debit cards and apps designed just for kids!

1. Greenlight (Basic: $4.99/month for up to five kids)

Greenlight is a debit card and app that allows parents to manage their child’s spending while allowing kids to master financial skills. The app even has a feature that helps kids keep track of their chores and earnings.

2. Copper (Free)

Copper’s mission is to teach teens how to “bank, invest, and thrive.” More than just a debit card and app, it’s a complete tool for teaching teens financial literacy. Quizzes, videos, and opportunities to earn rewards are just a few of the tools that Copper uses to motivate teens. And, of course, parents can monitor and review activity anytime.

3. Homey (Basic: Free; Unlimited: $4.99/month)

Perfect for kids as young as six, the Homey app is designed to teach kids the value of money. The kid-friendly interface makes earning and saving fun by allowing kids to easily track their progress toward customizable incentives. The family chat feature keeps everyone connected and gives kids the opportunity to be part of their family’s financial goals.

4. GoHenry ($3.99/month per child)

The GoHenry debit card and app enables parents to track their child’s financial moves while motivating kids to “make their way through the K-12 Personal Finance Education National Standards—earning points and badges as they go.” Kids will be especially excited to choose from over 45 customizable debit card designs.

5. BusyKid ($3.99/month for the whole family)

Parental control features like the ability to lock kids’ spending capabilities ensure limited account activity while they learn money management skills. BusyKid has also partnered with almost 50 charities so that kids can donate to causes important to them.