Gimi Gimi never gets …
… unless their chores are done I guess.
Oh, wait, that’s not the way the old saying goes.
But it is an accurate description of the Gimi allowance app – a wonderful little gem I found to keep track of kids chores and allowances and it fits so nicely with our technologically advanced kids.
Before I explain the app and how I have been using it to motivate, pay and foster accountability in my kids, let’s take a quick journey down the Allowance Path that we’ve been navigating since they were wee little things. (They are soon-to-be 16 and 18 … like in two weeks. Yikes!)
Should kids receive an allowance?
This seems like a logical starting point. Do kids get an allowance or do you simply provide for them and give them money, or not give them money, at your discretion?
I’m an advocate for allowances, for two simple reasons:
- For the parents: Control and planning
- You set an amount for each child and can plan for it
- It supports good budgeting or money management skills as you can ‘build it in” to your spending plan.
- For the kids: Planning and accountability
- Your child(ren) know how much money they will have which begins the process of conscious spending
- It fosters critical thinking as they have to be creative in determining how to get (earn) more money or when to ask Mum and Dad for more.
And the second question that is always debated…
Do they have to do anything for the allowance?
There are three different viewpoints here:
- Yes, kids should ‘earn’ their allowance
- No, kids should not be expected to do anything specific for it, and
- A combination of the two
There is no right or wrong way to do it. You do what fits you and your family. Personally, I am a fan of number three and that is how I structured the kids allowance system from the beginning (around the age of 5).
Both of my kids received $1 per year of age per month. So, at the age of 5, Julien received $5 per month and Finn, who was 7, received $7 per month. That amount was not tied to any specific chores. They were, however , expected to tidy up after themselves (ie. pick up their toys and put their clothes in the hamper) and help out with everyday things like taking their dishes to the sink/dishwasher. As they proved they were responsible, I would arbitrarily give them an increase in the base amount. At the time of writing this, my 17-year-old receives a base amount of $25 per month because he has proven to take care of his expected chores without fuss and diligently takes on extra tasks. My 15-year-old has not, so he still gets a base amount of $15 per month although lately he has been ‘stepping up’ and I see an increase coming 🙂
In addition to this base amount, they always had extra cores that they could do to earn additional income. The chores changed as they got older.
Examples of early chores:
- put your toys away
- wash the dishes
- dry the dishes
- make the bed
- clear the table
- pick up pet toys
As they got older, we added things like:
- clean a window
- tidy the living room
- water the plants
- fold the clothes
And eventually all things were game and items such as these made the list:
- wash Mum’s car (I’m still waiting for that one to be done) 😉
- mow the lawn
- tear out the upstairs (or any other household project) – currenty ‘in progress’ (yay!)
I found this nice summary- list of chores by age – to offer as a reference.
And then the most difficult part … motivating them to do the chores. Over the years we tried many methods including chore charts, sticker systems, you name it. The one thing I learned is that kids get bored. Like, really fast. So changing your systems and methods is a must.
The one that we did the longest was using Mom Bucks. In fact, if I look around the house, I will surely find some of these lying around. The kids received physical rewards in the form of Mom bucks. Each Mom buck was worth 10 cents (I know, that doesn’t make sense) and they could cash in every ten for a dollar or collect them for more money later. (I recommend reading the article in the link above to fully appreciate this method).
When that stopped working I implemented the “chore draw”. All of the chores (pretty much anything that needed to be done around the house) were put on pieces of paper and put in a plastic container. I added two “free weeks” just for fun. Each week the kids chose two chores for the week. I made a note on the calendar and kept track of what was completed and how much extra allowance was earned in additional to the set amount. The kids simply kept watch on the calendar and requested funds when they were in need.
And then the kids got bored. Again. 🙁
Enter the Gimi App.
The Gimi App allows you to add your children to the app and send them an invite. You then add either a fixed allowance amount and/or chores with specific amounts that can be earned. As mentioned above, mine has both, and on ‘payday’ (you set the day) the kids get a payout. The money gets recorded in a virtual bank within the app and you pay it out to them and ‘deduct’ it from the amount payable. That’s a very rough summary of how it works of course as there are many more things you can do.
Here are some of the features I have used and some of the ways I have used them:
- My kids ask for a payout when they need it. As they complete chores and payday comes, they get notification that their allowance bank has increased or decreased. They can check it any time to see what is in their allowance app.
- You can request that they submit a picture to show the chore has been completed. My youngest goof-ball son has submitted some very interesting pictures that have NOTHING to do with the chore. 🙂
- I budget for the set amount and put that money in a separate account each month so it is there to be paid out upon request.
- I have added extra to that account to cover the additional chores. At the end of each month when I reconcile my accounts I make sure there is enough money in the “kids fund” to cover their payout amount in the Gimi app.
- You or your child can mark the chore complete. You have to approve it, however.
- Your child can reject a chore…that did not go over well the one time my son decided to try it out 😉
- Kids can add their own chores … it’s not likely but it can happen. ha ha
Overall, I have found it to be a worthwhile app, certainly working well with mid to late teenage kids.
As I write this post, my oldest is turning 18 in less than two weeks. He has been informed that his allowance stops at that time. As a resut, he is busy doing and marking chores complete to build up his bank before that happens. My 15-year-old gets his beginners license in 11 days and wants a car. I’m hoping that means more chores will be completed. (fingers crossed)
Whatever you do with your kids, just know that it is trial and error. Not all kids are the same. They are motivated differently and respond to different types of rewards/punishments. Try different methods to see what sticks. And have fun with it 🙂
Gimme, gimmie never gets…unless you’re using the Gimi app 😉
Wishing you all happy, healthy finances.
aka Dr Debt
(Licensed Insolvency Trustee, Allan Marshall & Associates Inc.)