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Treating Your Kids Without Spoiling Them

In Candy Shop with FamZoo Prepaid CardLike most parents, I like to treat my kids: occasional movies, ice cream, the candy shop, that kind of stuff. I also like to emphasize the value of a dollar and encourage moderation. So how do you do both at the same time?

Here’s a technique I like to use:

  • Set a quick budget for the outing. No tedious haggling, or the deal is off!
  • Parent covers the budgeted amount.
  • Spend more? Kid picks up the difference.
  • Spend less? Kid pockets the remainder.

Simple. Effective. Even educational. The experience invariably leads to interesting discussions about things like comparison shopping, impulse buys, buyer’s remorse, pricing, relative value, marketing, etc.

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How to Load Your Prepaid Card from Wells Fargo

Load Your FamZoo Card from Wells FargoDo you bank at Wells Fargo but also use prepaid cards for your kids or for envelope budgeting purposes? If your prepaid cards have account and routing numbers, it’s easy to load them directly from your Wells Fargo checking account using a browser or your mobile phone. (Don’t bank at Wells Fargo? No worries. The steps are likely very similar at your own financial institution, so read on anyway.)

Here’s an outline of the steps:

  1. Find the account and routing numbers for your prepaid card.
  2. Add your prepaid card as a Non-Wells Fargo account in Wells Fargo Online.
  3. Initiate the account verification process which involves Wells Fargo making two small trial deposits to your prepaid card and then reversing the deposits with one withdrawal.
  4. Check your prepaid card for the trial deposit amounts after 3 to 5 business days.
  5. Enter the trial deposit amounts back in Wells Fargo Online to complete the verification process.
  6. Make transfers from your checking account to your prepaid card using Wells Fargo Online or from the Wells Fargo mobile banking app. Each transfer typically takes 3 business days and incurs a $3 fee from Wells Fargo.

Note: If you have FamZoo prepaid cards and you’d like to investigate other card loading options including instant and free options, see here.

Here’s a detailed look at each step with screen shots so you’ll know what to expect along the way:

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Chore Monster Meets Money Management

So you’re intrigued by the idea of using a fun, point-driven gaming experience to turn your youngsters into eager household workers. Kids doing chores without whining. What parent wouldn’t love that?

But you’re also drawn to the idea of using a virtual family banking system to teach your kids critical money management skills while they’re still young. “Start early,” experts admonish parents. Set your kids on an path to financial independence as soon as possible. What parent wouldn’t be on-board with that?

Why not do both?

It’s easy. Use ChoreMonster and FamZoo together to develop good earning, spending, saving, and giving habits. Parents can deliver monetary rewards for completed chores in ChoreMonster as deposits in FamZoo’s virtual family bank by crediting their kids’ IOU accounts or prepaid cards. The funds earned through chores serve as the basis for your kids to make real world spending, saving, and giving decisions. They’ll learn good money habits through hands-on practice and your ongoing guidance.

Here are the steps in a nutshell:

  1. Parents register.
  2. Parents add kids.
  3. Parents add chores.
  4. Parents add rewards — including monetary ones that map to deposits in FamZoo.
  5. Kids do chores for points.
  6. Parents approve work.
  7. Kids redeem points for rewards.
  8. Parents approve and deliver rewards.
  9. Kids learn by doing.

Let’s take a more detailed look at each step:

Register

First, you’ll need to register your family on ChoreMonster. Visit ChoreMonster.com. Click on the Sign Up Now button, and fill in the parent registration form. You’ll be asked whether you’d like to upgrade to a paying plan. You can see the cost/benefit comparison in this screenshot of the membership page. You can always start with the free plan, and upgrade later if desired.

Register for ChoreMonster

If you’re also new to FamZoo, you can learn about our virtual family banking system and sign up for a free trial here.

Add Kids

Create an account for each of your kids by choosing Add A Child from the drop down list at the top of the parent page. Fill in the form to assign your child an individual username and password.

Add Kids to ChoreMonster

Add Chores

Each registered child has three tabs on the parent dashboard: one for chores (the clock icon), one for rewards (the money bag icon), and one for settings (the pencil icon). Click the chore tab to add new chores for the currently selected child. You can review and edit existing chores on the same page.

Add Chores to ChoreMonster

Add Rewards

Defining rewards works just like defining chores. Just click on the rewards tab (the money bag icon) to add a new reward and to browse or edit existing ones.

To add a monetary reward, decide how you want ChoreMonster points to map to real money. For example, 100 points in ChoreMonster might translate to a $1 deposit in FamZoo. If your child is racking up points rapidly, you may wish to add a few more monetary rewards at higher denominations (say, a $5 deposit for 500 points, a $10 deposit for 1,000 points, and so on).

Add Rewards to ChoreMonster Including FamZoo Credits

Kids Do Chores for Points

As your kids perform chores, they sign into their ChoreMonster accounts to check off the completed items. The (alledgedly!) completed items go into the “Waiting for Mom/Dad” state until you explicitly approve the work to award the corresponding points.

Do Chores and Mark Completed in ChoreMonster

Parents Approve Work

You’ll get an email notification for each completed chore. Click on the link in the email to go to a page in the parent interface with a list of chores that need your review. You can approve completed chores individually or all at once.

Approve Work in ChoreMonster

Kids Redeem Points for Rewards

As the completed chores are approved, kids rack up points. They can visit the Points & Rewards tab within the child interface to see what rewards can be redeemed for the current point total. Selecting a reward decreases the point balance and initiates a request to the parent for approval.

Redeem Points in ChoreMonster for FamZoo Deposits

Parents Approve and Deliver Rewards

You’ll get an email notification for each reward requested by your child. Click on the link in the email to go to a page in the parent interface with a list of awards that need your confirmation. If you approve a monetary reward, deliver it by visiting FamZoo and making a credit for the indicated amount in your child’s account. If you’d like to split the deposit between multiple accounts — say, spending, saving, and giving — then look for the Split Credit link.

It would be cool if we could automate this deposit step so parents would not have to pop into FamZoo when delivering rewards. If you’d like to see that happen, then visit this discussion in the ChoreMonster support forum and give it a +1.

Approve Rewards in ChoreMonster and Deliver as FamZoo Deposit

Kids Learn by Doing

ChoreMonster helps parents teach kids the connection between hard work and rewards. As they build up earnings from their efforts, FamZoo encourages kids to spend wisely, save patiently, and give thoughtfully. Good habits are forged by consistent, hands-on experience.

Learn Good Earning, Spending, Saving, and Giving Habits By Doing

Got young kids? Give the combination of ChoreMonster and FamZoo a try, and let us know what you think.

Got older kids? You might consider FamZoo’s built-in chore checklist capability with it’s calendar-centric interface, direct integration with the virtual family bank, chore penalty options (handy for the inevitable “TeenMonster” years!), and the trust-but-verify approach without explicit approvals. See here for more info.