Teach Your Kids How to Track Expenses

Tracking expenses is certainly one of the top personal finance skills to master. FamZoo’s virtual accounts provide a nice mechanism for tracking your children’s spending history. They’ll help you teach your kids to live within their means and make intelligent spending decisions.

Until now, it’s been up to the parents to record purchases as transactions in their children’s virtual accounts. But, what if you feel it’s time your children learned this responsibility themselves? Maybe you’d like to put your tween or teen in charge of recording clothing purchases. Or, have your child track the family entertainment spending.

Well, now you can. Last night, we rolled out a new feature that let’s you, the parent, (optionally) allow your child to enter, edit, and delete transactions in selected accounts. To stay in the loop, you can even set things up to alert you by email or text message whenever your child makes a change.

All you have to do is check the box in the Child Permissions section of the Create Account Form (or the Edit Account Form if you’ making the change for an existing account). Here’s the section we’re talking about:

Child Permissions for Accounts

You can see that I’ve set it up to send me a text message alert to my cell phone whenever Haley makes a change to her Clothing account. I could add additional alerts — like one for my wife (email, text message, or both). Here’s what the alert looks like on my cell phone when Haley enters a transaction:

Sample Debit Alert

Now, when I sign in as a parent, I can see which accounts have the kid permissions switched on by looking for the open lock icon next to the account name. Here’s what it looks like:

Parents View of Editable Account

When Haley signs in, now she’ll see the credit and debit icons next to the Clothing account. She can click on the debit icon to record a clothing purchase. Here’s what it looks like:

Kids View of Editable Account

When she clicks on her clothing balance amount to go inspect the transactions, she’ll notice that the transactions page for the Clothing account now includes a form at the top for entering new transactions. When she hovers the mouse over an existing transaction below, she’ll see she can now click on the pencil or trash can to edit or delete it.

Transactions Form

So, that’s how it works.

Is it time for you to let your child track expenses in an account? Let us know how it works out.

P.S. Tracking expenses and making a budget go hand-in-hand. See this related post for how you can use FamZoo to teach your child the fundamentals of making a budget. And, here’s an example of a teen clothing budget.


Reine Marie aka The Blog Post Author

When I was a kid, our allowance was tied to our grades when we would get a report card. An A was worth a certain amount, a B was a dollar less, etc. So of course I had to get straight As ;)

Bill Dwight aka The Blog Post Author

You might be interested in this post about some research indicating that paying for good study habits might be more effective than paying for good grades: http://blog.famzoo.com/2011/03/ten-financial-pearls-pay-for-studying.html

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