Before I begin, I must give the entire credit for this project to my friend Kathleen. She seems to have her household so in order. While out one night, she explained this "no cash" money book to me. I loved it and had to adopt it!
I have toyed with so many ways of handling the kids' allowances. It seems money never gets into the correct wallet, wallets get lost, Mommy forgets to get change to give the younger ones their allowance, Mommy forgets how much such-n-such toy was that she bought with the upcoming allowance at Target.... it was becoming a disaster.
So, we went cashless.
Most of the buying transactions of my kids involves me. Probably the majority of any material things being bought is done on Amazon... so I just ask the kid to bring me that cash right back anyway so that I can charge the purchase to my credit card.
So... why bother with dollar bills?
All you need is a simple folder, tabs (I just used Post-it paper for now) and paper. I called the book a "budget book", but "money book" or "account book" is more appropriate, since we don't allocate money to certain areas just yet. Those are naturally Cricut vinyl letters on the folder.
I designed a simple five column form in a spreadsheet program.
The form needs a dates column (to remind me when/if I actually logged in the monthly allowance), transaction details column (to remind me if I actually deposited those miscellaneous holiday gifts and such), payment and deposit columns and a total column.
I added the kids' names to the top as well... just as an added reminder that I am adding/subtracting to the correct person's "money account".
Here is a sample sheet. The "start" transaction was me going to the kids, asking for the cash in their wallets/rooms, and plugging it into the cashless account. One cool little benefit of this... I took all their cash and threw it into a petty-cash drawer in my cabinet for when I need small change. I don't know about you, but cash is a rarity in this household!
So, now on the last day of every month, the kids can't come to me and say, "Mom, you didn't give us our allowance", and me think, "Oh crud... I don't have any cash!"
Now, I just pull out the money book and plug it in. Whenever the kids want to purchase something... whether at a store or online... I just use my own credit card and deduct that amount from their accounts.
I thought about calling it "The Bank of Mom"... but my two oldest kids are wise enough about money that I was afraid they'd start requesting interest on the money in the accounts. LOL
Our next step will be to get renewable credit/debit cards for kids. (Which do they call it?) Anyway, the sort that you can load with cash, but only that amount can be used. There is no ongoing credit. My oldest two kids are 11 and almost 13. I'm thinking they are ready to have a card. I'd probably still officially hold onto it. Since they especially tend to hold onto their money longer, I'm afraid a card worth $100+ would be to risky to lose.
I am sure I can make the book prettier someday. In the meantime, it certainly does its job just fine. :) Plus it's turning into a great learning experience to kids on how to account for their money... subtracting, adding, etc.