Paying Your Child’s Allowance in Points: FamDoo

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Recently my friend (and the miles and points guru behind ventures like BoardingArea and MilePoint), Randy Peterson, emailed me about a pretty new site he heard of called FamDoo He thought I might be interested in it as it combines things like family, points, and credit card rewards.  I hadn’t heard of it, but was immediately interested in checking it out.

FamDoo allowance

FamDoo Details:

In case you haven’t heard of it yet either, it seems that FamDoo is a site that helps families assign and track chores and tasks for their kids.  It also allows you to pay your kids an allowance (of points) for completed tasks.  They can then, in turn, redeem those points for things like gift cards, music downloads, or to donate to charity.  It was created by Mark Lacek, who co-developed one of the first loyalty programs for the airlines industry, creating Northwest Airline’s WorldPerks frequent flyer program.  Basically, he has been around the award space for a long time and also has kids of his own, so presumably knows a thing or two about these topics.

How it Works:

My own daughter does have a few of her own “chores” (feed dog, brush your teeth, pick up your toys), but she isn’t quite the right age yet for FamDoo.  I like the concept of allowances and earning money or points, but we want her to learn about actual currency first.  That said, I don’t yet have first hand experience on how FamDoo works, but based on a review of their site it looks like you set up a family account.  In the family account each kid will have their own account where you can assign them tasks and a related amount for completing the tasks.  Yes, you can set the amount at 0 points for a given task…I am not paying you to brush your teeth!

There are some tasks you can select from, or you can create your own.  Their formula seems to auto-assign a “payment” for completion of a task at a rate of $3.00 (300 points) per hour of expected time to complete the task.  You can adjust this for your own kids, if desired.

How Much Does it Cost:

There isn’t a cost to join or a monthly fee, but the points you give your kids do cost money.  The points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed, but they are sold to you at a 20% mark-up to cover the costs of the site.  This means that 5,000 points that are worth $50 would cost you $60.  You can also transfer points in from the US Bank FlexPerks program at a rate of 1:1.  I personally would not do that since I like to redeem my FlexPerks for closer to 2 cents each toward airfare, but it is an option.

Is It a Good Idea?

While I don’t love the idea of paying a 20% fee to pay “money” to my kid, I do really like the concept.  I personally think that young kids should start with actual currency and a piggy bank, but as they get a bit older I think learning to use online “banking” is a pretty cool thing.  It can also be a 21st century way of keeping up with chores and homework beyond a checklist on the fridge.

Being “Mommy Points” I also think there is something to be said about learning the value of points.  Who knows what the world of miles and points will look like when my kid is old enough to take a real active role, but learning some basics while you are little can only be a good thing in my book.

I’m curious to know what some of you with slightly older kids think about this idea?

Comments

  1. The concept is neat but I will not do it for an outright loss of 20%. Now if the kids could transfer their earned points into a frequent flyer account of their own at a 1:1 ratio just like you can transfer points in from US Bank I would be interested. If they want to prevent abuse they could cap it at e.g. $50 worth of points per month ( which is reasonable to earn in a month)and only into a kids own account or similar restriction.

  2. This service seems gimmicky and unnecessary.

    But I’m also coming from a perspective where chores are an expected part of family life and we don’t pay kids for normal chores. (We’ll pay for help shoveling the 10+ inches of snow we’ve had lately.)

    But two thumbs up to chores themselves! Start them early and don’t be afraid to give kids lots of responsibilities 🙂

    • This isn’t a gimmick… it’s a tool, a valuable one if you are going to get real about how kids want to interact with you about chores! Most people think kids should do them- reward or not- but most have no established method for tracking or monitoring themselves what they assign. This app solves a problem that millions of parents have and it is extremely well done! Thoughtful messages, overall very positive! Thanks, FamDoo – keep it coming 🙂

  3. So, Ok, FamDoo is now shutting down on 4/29/15 per their blog and folks have until then to use it or get a refund. However, it is not working, so only option is hoping for a refund. The gift card option aka Spend, is supposed to send an email to the child with their gift card code within four hours. Two days have passed with no confirmation email or anything. Their phone number yielded a convo with a guy who immediately wanted to defer to his program mgr who was not in at the moment… There is a backlog in their system, but this should be automatic, right?

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