WHILE DAN MEADER was shopping at
Costco, his two sons, John, now 14, and Will,
now 13, asked him if they could use their
allowance to buy a video game. Meader
couldn’t remember how much money he
owed them, and the ensuing debate sparked
the idea for Allowance Manager (allowance
manager.com), an online tool and mobile app
that helps parents and kids track allowance.
Meader, who has held engineering roles
at Silicon Valley tech companies, including
Adobe and Apple, created the app with input
on features from John and Will. The creative
dad had originally intended the tool to
simply track the boys’ allowances,
but after seeing how well it worked
for his family, he released it to the
public in 2011.
Allowance Manager’s basic money-tracking features are free; however, parents can pay $98 per year to give their
kids access to an AllowanceCard, a
Visa debit card tied to their Allowance
Manager account “that allows kids to
basically stand in a [store] and say, ‘Do
I really want to spend my money?’ ”
In addition to giving kids the
chance to make real-world purchasing
decisions, Meader says, Allowance
Manager also helps keep parents
accountable. “Virtually all of us blow it
So far, more than 200,000 users on
mobile and Web platforms have signed up,
and Meader says the kids range in age from 5
(an Allowance Manager Junior version does
not include the debit card) to college age.
“Understanding money is a skill,” he says,
“and, like any skill, it’s best learned early and
practiced frequently.”—Susan Johnston
In our digital editions
Click here to watch a short
demo of Allowance Manager.
(See page 11 for details.)
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Dan Meader enjoying family time at the
beach with his wife, Kim; their sons, Will
(left) and John (right); and Lulu, their dog.
COSTCO MEMBER LEON Scott Baxter of Santa
Barbara, California, was a blogger and published
author of two books about relationships when his
wife, Mary, and other parents encouraged him to
write a book about parenting. So, in November
2014, the father of two girls, Riley, 16, and Grace,
11, self-published Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting:
Raising Happy and Successful Children: The
Common Denominator ( safetynetters.com; not
available at Costco). The 46-year-old says he
interviewed some really fantastic children and
their like-minded parents who wanted to raise
happy, successful children.
“As parents we want our children to be
successful, but the ultimate reason we want them
to be successful is because we want them to
be happy,” Baxter, a full-time elementary school
teacher for 18 years, tells The Connection. “We
believe that success will make them happy.”
After comparing the different parenting styles,
Baxter came up with eight common points and
coined the term “safety-net parenting,” in which
parents give children the opportunity to fail, but
catch them before they crash.
Among the tips that can be found in his book:
• Help your children find their passions and
let them build them into strengths. Although it can
be difficult to find out what they love, if parents
do a lot of listening and paying attention they can
tune in and find out what’s exciting to their children and help foster that interest.
• Create rules and procedures, and stick with
them. Consequences and follow-through give
children limitations and allow them to know their
boundaries, which makes them feel safe and secure.
• No matter what parents say, what parents
do is a thousand times more powerful. Children
will model their parents’ behavior, so don’t allow
excuses for your children or yourself.
Baxter also says that learning from mistakes
is a part of parenting: “By no means am I a fantas-
tic parent; I make mistakes, like many of us do.”
Leon Baxter and his
daughter Grace perform a
random act of kindness.