WFMW: keeping kids’ money

My kids occasionally get their hands on some cold hard cash and they have also been known to lose it.  Being a good mom (except when I’m busy being a Bad Mom) I offer to hold it for them if it’s a significant amount, and they usually take me up on the offer.  I keep it in my purse so they will have it with them if they decide to spend it.  So far, so good.


But I have a terrible memory, and I’m liable to accidentally spend their money.  Then when they ask for it 10 minutes or 10 days or 10 months later, I deny that I was holding any for them.  Now it’s their memory against mine, and ovarian guilt requires me to take their word for it even though I strongly suspect that they really used their money to buy a piece of plastic trash that hit the landfill months ago.  Here’s my solution:


I just roll the greenbacks up tightly (I don’t hold coins for them) and wrap with a scrap of paper that has the child’s name written on it.  I secure this with a rubber band and drop it in my purse.  At any given time I probably have 3 of these little rolls in my purse.  Six months later, when Kiddo wants her money, we just check to see if she has any.  “Yes, here it is,” or “No, you must have spent it.”  Easy peasy, sweet and simple.  It’s never failed me yet.  At least, not that I recall.


  1. Absolutely brilliant idea! Why didn’t I think of that? Don’t state the obvious, please! 😉 I will do it – we have that same issue in our house, I mean, purse.

  2. This is one of those areas of parenting I was totally unprepared for… the money keeping. Each boy has a small, cheap, Spiderman wallet. All three wallets fit in the back pocket of my purse. Now, if I ever want a smaller purse…

  3. Good idea Kim! I take the cash that I stash for the boys and keep it behind my license in my wallet, I never need to pull that out for anything, so that is helpful for our family!

  4. Lois Groat says:

    BTW – it was $235, it was neatly labeled “Zach”, it was on the third shelf of my bookshelf between “True Spirituality” and my Christmas card address book, and my stomach doesn’t hurt anymore. (The first week it was funny, the second week – not so much.)

  5. Laralee,
    This sounds great, except that I sometimes find myself carrying 6 different portions of cash for months on end. In my poor overstuffed little purse, it would take up too much room and the envelopes get very tattered after a few weeks.

    I can *so* relate! I’ve done that too many times with too many different things. If you ever come up with a solution to memory failure, remember to share!

  6. Lois Groat says:

    Okay, so, I recommend NOT seeing a big wad of money that belongs to “Zach” on your dresser right before leaving on vacation, and deciding to hide it from thieves that might come, (pre-vacation stress had clearly made me take leave of my senses) and stuffing it quickly into a GOOD hiding place, and then running out the door to join your family in the 15 passsenger van to leave LATE, thereby completely erasing from your memory banks where you hid it.

    On the up side, after you find the money TWO WEEKS after returning from vacation, your room is MUCH cleaner than it was!

  7. I use the little bank sleeve, bill sized envelopes and keep them in my purse organizer so cash is always with us in town. These envelopes also hold change well.

    I write the child’s name at the top of the envelope and insert cash. When it’s spent, I insert the receipt so they can “remember” what they’ve spent their money on. If I get into a bind and need quick cash and don’t have any, I borrow from their envelopes and note it on the front. Then when repaid, I note that too.

    When a child wants something, we take a peek into their envelope to see if they have the money.

    That’s what works for us.

    Recording the Faithfulness and Provision of God for Future Generations

  8. I like that. My little guys (5 and 7 yrs) are proud of their leather Man-wallets like daddy’s, but ofcourse they never have it with them when we are out shopping on a whim. My daughter (11 yrs) has a terrible time keeping track of her money and it can be spread out in 3 different places or simply MISPLACED. Always interested to hear your methodologies- thanks!

  9. We do things even different. Of course once the child receives money they tithe automatically. Then what is left they can put in a large 1/2 gallon jar with their name on it. We encourage saving the money for something truly important like buying a gift for someone or something they have been wanting for awhile that is not a family budgeted item. I too used to hold the money and have spent it not realizing.. that is why we came up with the current method.

  10. I hold my kids’ money too, but do it a little differently. We have a budget system on the computer, and I have a category for each of the kids. When they give me their money, I enter it into the budget system and it keeps track for me. The kids call it the “Bank of Mom” =-D
    Then it doesn’t matter if I use the green stuff because we always have a record of how much each child has.

  11. Meredith_in_Aus says:

    Great idea, Kim. I do something similar but I use snack-size (~4×6″) ziplock bags.

    Now, if only I could remember to withdraw the (small amount of) cash required each month for pocket money, maybe I wouldn’t feel ovarian guilt for getting behind on that.

    Have a great week.

    In Him


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