Teaching children the value of money from an early age can help instil good habits that will remain with them for life. That’s why two Kiwi dads created SquareOne – a free app that helps kids connect the dots between earnings, spending, and saving money. We asked Claudia and her 8-year-old son Jaxon to give this new app a test run. Find out what they thought.
My eight-year-old son is now at an age where he wants to earn his own money, but I’d been procrastinating on getting any kind of system together because I was envisioning having to create some kind of checklist to keep updated on the fridge and I also NEVER have cash on me so it all started to feel like too much to add to my already very busy weekly to-do list.
Then I heard about the SquareOne app and it has not only answered all those niggly problems but has also revolutionised the way we do things in our household.
How SquareOne works
First of all, the app is free to download – easy. Then you set up the app to suit you. You can do it for just one child or add extra kids so that you can control all of their accounts from the parent view in the app.
Once you’ve done that, you top up your ‘Parent Wallet’ so that you can have money to allocate to the kids as they do their chores.
When you download the app your child also receives their own card (made from 85% degradable plastic). It can be used online and in-person anywhere Mastercard is accepted (including contactless). With parental approval, it can be set up to use with Apple Pay and Google Pay also.
Getting your own card is quite a milestone and Jaxon was thrilled when his arrived in the mail. I could see that he felt so grown-up sliding it into his wallet.
Money going in
My husband and I sat down with Jaxon and talked about the jobs he would need to do each week – taking out the bins, sweeping up leaves, bringing us coffees in bed on a Saturday morning now that he knows how to use the Nespresso machine (my personal favourite!).
We decided on an amount for each job and the SquareOne app then generates this as a list for both parent and child to see. As each job is completed, Jaxon can tick this off on his own iPad which sends us a parent notification that the job has been done. If we are happy with it, we then approve the amount which moves automatically from the parent wallet into his own account.
If the child doesn’t have their own device, it can all be controlled through the parent’s phone which also works just as well.
Setting savings goals
Jaxon is desperate for his own Chromebook, which costs around $400, so we set this up as a savings goal in his account.
He loves that he can move money across from his card account, to his savings account, and watch how much closer he is to his goal every week. This really motivates him to get his jobs done, and also keeps him thinking about other jobs he can add to his list. He suggested $5 for a one-off car wash which we thought was great and told him to go for it.
The pride on his little face once the job was done and ticked off in the app, and the $5 added to his total, was priceless.
Another great feature with this app is that the grandparents can download it and connect to the same account too so when Jaxon visits them, he also finds extra ways to do chores at their house to earn additional pocket money. They get a few jobs ticked off, and Jax earns over and above what he would have for the week. Win-win!
Peace of mind
Although Jaxon hasn’t started spending money from his SquareOne account yet, I love the safety features that have been built in. When Jaxon is ready to spend his savings, I can set limits and get real-time notifications of his spending. I can also control if he is able to use it for online use and approve any funds transfers to friends. Finally, there are no account details on the card so that helps reduce the risk of card fraud if he loses it.
Incentives to earn and learn
Apart from this being so easy to use and integrate into our household and busy lifestyles, I love the lessons about money and savings this app is teaching him. He’s learning to be responsible for the jobs he does, to work hard and to see the results of this hard work in his Chromebook savings.
There is no cash involved which keeps him from meaninglessly spending on things he doesn’t need, just because he has it in his piggy bank. The local $2 shops are losing quite a bit of business now that he’s serious about his savings in SquareOne!
Jaxon and Claudia recommend
I guarantee once you see how easy it makes everything, you’ll never go back!
If you use the Referral Code: KIDS5 when you download the app and register your account, you’ll receive $5 for your parent wallet once you have done a total of $50 in top-ups. At $1 and $2 per job your child does, this will stretch quite far and give you a really good gauge on how well it is working for your family. (See example below for reference. Terms and conditions apply).
Created in partnership with SquareOne. The author was provided with the app for the purpose of this review. Views are those of the reviewer.