This post was sponsored by COUNTRY Financial® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
I’m a firm believer in giving kids chores to do around the house. It helps them feel invested in the home, for one thing. Rather than expecting Mom or Dad to clean up after them, they understand they’re part of the team. Giving kids chores to do for pay teaches them a work ethic: they’ve got to fulfill their responsibilities if they want to afford their fun. That, my friends, is the key to raising successful adults!
I am not an ATM!
Now that my son is driving, it feels like he’s always hitting me up for money. He’s in charge of getting himself to and from school, friends’ houses, music lessons, and ortho appointments. He runs errands for me sometimes, too. (Hey, I’m paying for the car and insurance!)
Life is a more expensive for him now that he’s more independent, so recently my son and I agreed it’s time to revisit his allowance. The money he’d been earning by doing a few weekly chores hardly pays for the gas he uses driving everywhere. As he pointed out to me, after filling his tank, there’s nothing left over if he wanted to take a girl on a date. (We differed on whether that’s a good or bad thing.) Christmas is coming soon, too, and he’ll want money to buy gifts for family and friends.
But I get it, I do. Unfortunately, his school and marching band schedule keep him from getting a job so he can earn the additional money he needs. That’s why he came to me last month to ask for more chores.
Wait, my kid wants MORE chores?
You could’ve knocked me over with a feather after that. Oh, he’s asked for additional duties when he’s wanted extra money for a new video game. A couple of years ago he picked out an expensive birthday present for his dad and needed to earn the difference. But more chores on an ongoing basis? That request just about made my jaw drop.
He’s already in charge of emptying the dishwasher, doing the dishes after dinner, cleaning the cats’ litter box, cleaning the TV room and its adjoining bathroom, doing his laundry, cleaning his room, taking out the trash, and doing the yard work. Although that sounds like a lot, it only involves maybe 3 hours of work a week, so he definitely has the time to do more.
The ChorePal App looks perfect for us
Then I heard about the COUNTRY Financial® ChorePal app, a clever tool to manage and reward household chores. Created in response to The COUNTRY Financial® Security Index, which measured Americans’ attitudes about using chores to help kids understand finances, this free app looks promising.
First, you enter your kids’ name and age. I just have my son at home now, so I only need to monitor his chores, but there’s no limit to how many kids you can track. (Heck, you can assign some to yourself or your spouse, too, if you want.) Kids accounts stay on YOUR phone, so you know they’re secure.
From there on, the app is incredibly flexible so you can adapt it to suit your preferred method of tracking chores and allowance.
- Frequency: With the touch of a finger you can make a task daily, weekly, monthly or even just one-time. I like how that last part lets me keep a running list of things that need to be done around the house then reward my son for doing them.
- Earnings: Choose between paying a dollar amount (the minimum is $1 and I haven’t found a maximum) or use a point-based system instead.
- Approval or automatic: You can set up a chore to require your approval before it’s marked complete. Once your child finishes a chore, they mark it complete under their profile (in the same app, on your phone) but they don’t earn money or points until you say it’s done.
- Rewards: Create a list of rewards you’ve chosen and how many points or dollars your kid needs to earn it. With a point system, you could offer additional screen time or the chance to stay up late as possible rewards. With a dollar-based system, you know you’re not paying for chores they don’t actually do. You could even do both!
- Requested rewards: If your kids have loads of rewards they’d like you can switch the app to their profile and hand them your phone then they enter their requests. Once you get your phone back, switch over to your profile (it takes one tap to do that), and you can approve, modify, or deny the requests.
- Chores feel fun: Everything is gamified these days, including chores! Kids not only earn rewards from you by doing chores, but they also earn badges, too. If you have multiple kids, you could capitalize on this by encouraging a competition!
My plan for using ChorePal
I already know my son is good about completing his daily and weekly chores to earn his regular allowance. I’m concerned about adding too much more, though, because there are days when his homework load is nothing short of staggering.
One of the things I find appealing about this app is the ability to assign one-time chores with point values. If he has the time to do an extra chore, he can access the list to find out what I want to be done around the house. Right now, that would include vacuuming my car, pulling weeds in the back garden, raking leaves, shampooing the living room carpet, and scrubbing the grout in my shower.
As a parent, I want to encourage my son’s motivation to earn his way rather than expecting me to shell out money for every little thing he wants. As a busy mom, though, I don’t want to make overseeing his chores yet another chore for me. So, I’m still figuring out how I want to implement this — a dollar value for every chore, or points for bonus tasks that can translate into dollars, etc.
Giving ChorePal a try
This app looks like a great way to meet my needs and his. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. COUNTRY Financial® is known for their full-service insurance and financial offerings as well as their personal approach to financial planning, from life-, auto- and home insurance to investment management and retirement planning.
Be sure to check back in a few weeks to find out how we end up using ChorePal, and whether my son ever saved up enough to afford his first date.
Download the free COUNTRY Financial® ChorePal app for Apple or Android phones and try it out with your kids. It takes only minutes to set up!