Tuesday 27 November 2012

Is pocket money a headache in your house? #pktmnyparents

When I was a child, regular as clockwork,  I used to get £1 a week pocket money. Every Saturday, my dad would ask if I wanted the cash or if I'd like to go with him to fill up his car with petrol and use my pocket money to buy a new Smurf to add to my collection. It became a bit of a routine and everyone was happy.

Somehow, this simple pocket money routine is something that I just haven't managed to get into with my own kids. Firstly, how much is a reasonable amount ? £1 won't go far these days but what's it going to be used for? Most parents these days have extra charges coming out of their pockets for their kids, in particular for mobile phones, so should this replace pocket money or just be an extra ? And how do you stop your kids from wasting their cash on sweets and magazines ? Another huge problem is that, when I actually remember to dole out pocket money, I never usually have any change in my purse. These days, most transactions are made online, using bank cards or cheques so actual hard cash doesn't change hands so much. I ended up giving Sophie (who is the only one of the Madhouse kids old enough to want/need pocket money at the moment) IOU's scribbled on bits of paper, which seemed rather ridiculous, and paying her £5 as a catch-up payment every now and then when I remembered. I was the first to admit, it lacked structure and regularity.

I therefore jumped at the chance when Britmums said they were looking for parents to try out a new pocket money management site and enthusiastically signed up to discover the vowel-challenged PKTMNY site. I was actually very impressed with the whole idea. As a parent, you can use your bank card or, more simply, start a standing order to credit your account with cash. From your parent's account, you can then transfer cash over to your child's account, either as a regular payment or as a one-off payment - for example, I've set up a regular £1 a week payment for standard pocket money but I also add specific tasks and bonus payments, such as £5 for a good school report or £2 if she hoovers her bedroom and the living room ! 

The child's account has a lot of fabulous features, such as a wish list, allowing you to see your savings increasing towards a specific goal, and - wait for it - your very own bank card, just like mum and dad's, that you can use online, in shops or at cash points. Before you start thinking there's no way you'd let your kids loose on the high street or online marketplace with a bank card, don't panic - it's all been cleverly designed so that you (the parent) can set limits, per transaction and per week, and whatever the limits, you can't spend money that isn't in your account.

It's a great introduction to the grown-up world of money management with enough parental controls and safety measures in place to make sure it doesn't all go horribly wrong. Sophie loves the fact that she is being given more control and responsibilty for her own cash, as well as the fact that I actually remember to pay her every week now ! She is also loving watching her balance mounting up week after week so she hasn't actually wanted to spend any yet !

We're still playing around with all the different functionalities on offer on the website but so far, I've been impressed. I'll be back in a couple of weeks to tell you if it's had any impact on the way Sophie thinks about her pocket money and financial matters in general.

This post is part of a project with BritMums, sponsored by PKTMNY, highlighting its launch. The new tool allows parents to easily pay and monitor their children's pocket money online, whilst allowing their children to earn, save, spend and manage their money in a totally safe and fun way. 

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Olympics Smurfs review 
Parents share top-20 ways to beat the squeeze - Add yours and win


  1. Me and my 6 year old have recently been discussing whether she should get pocket money or not, we have decided at the moment she probably does better out of me without it, as if i were to give her money i would stop buying the treats when we were out and about, this will probably change as she gets older. Looks like a great site for teens

  2. SMURFS!! I remember using my pocket money on them as well. I love the wishlist aspect of the PKTMNY site as well--can you imagine what ours would have looked like then, loads of little Smurf links on it...! ;)

    1. LOL Yes !! And the SuperSmurfs in boxes if I was willing to wait two weeks for my pocket money !!

  3. Neither of my sons currently get pocket money, I too never remember to give it to them and I never have the cash in my purse, but the PKTMNY site does sound like a great idea although both my boys end up getting what they want from my mum and dad, spoilt!!


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