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How to Approve Chore Earnings Before Handing Over The Cash

Checklist, IOU account, prepaid card.

If you’re like most parents, you’re way too busy to be approving every little chore your kid checks off in real time. That’s why we’ve taken a trust-but-verify (and hold-accountable) approach with our chore checklists.

Your kid can check items off and earn rewards without your intervention. That’s the trust part.

You can get notifications when your kid checks items off — either through checklist alerts or card activity alerts. That’s the verify part. If Junior is a little too quick on the trigger finger, you can un-check an item, and it will reverse the award.

You can also let Junior know there will be repercussions for checking off items inappropriately. Maybe reduced screen time, a deposit to the family swear jar, or a financial timeout. That’s the accountability part.

But what if Junior is also quick on the trigger finger when it comes to spending ill-gotten rewards as soon as they hit the card? We’re talking real money here, and the horse has already left the barn. That’s a problem.

Here’s a nice middle ground solution that maintains convenience for parents while eliminating temptation for kids.

  • Set up a Chore Earnings IOU account. Create a separate IOU account called “Chore Earnings” for your child where rewards and penalties can be tallied up between paydays.
  • Accumulate rewards and penalties into Chore Earnings. Instead of allocating rewards and penalties directly to your child’s prepaid card account, deliver them to the Chore Earnings IOU account. That way, a record of the earnings can accumulate throughout the pay period, but nothing can be spent until payday.
  • Review earnings on payday. When payday rolls around, perform a quick consolidated review of all the chores checked off or expired during the last pay period. Chores that weren’t really done can be unchecked. Chores completed but never recorded can be checked off. The running balance in the Chore Earnings account will automatically adjust accordingly.
  • Pay out approved earnings. Now that the earnings for the latest pay cycle have been confirmed, transfer the balance from the Chore Earnings account to the child’s card account. That will reset the earnings IOU account to zero and pull the approved earnings amount from your parent funding card to your child’s card.

Note: If you’d like to use a predefined spend/save/give split when making the payout, do a two-step for the transfer: debit the total amount from the chore earnings IOU account, then issue a split credit for that same amount choosing the desired split definition.

It’s a chore system that avoids the tedium of one-at-a-time approval while eliminating the temptation to spend ill-gotten gains.

Trust. Verify. Hold accountable. Then pay.

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