By Charlie Bermant Peninsula Daily News
COYLE — Parents who want to track their children’s allowances can use an app to manage the process, thanks to a developer who works remotely from this isolated corner of Jefferson County.
“A lot of parents have trouble managing this information. They have it written on little pieces of paper or have to carry it around in their head,” said Cathy Glitsch, who is marketing the software developed by her husband, Hans.
“We put it all in one place and give them a real time representation of how much money is owed and where it’s going.”
AllowanceBot, as it is called, runs on Apple’s iPhone or iPad and is available in an ad-supported free version or for $1.99 if people don’t want to deal with the ads.
The program had its origin in a private application Hans Glitsch developed while his sons, now 18 and 15, were growing up.
It showed how much the children had received and whether their behavior was good enough to continue receiving the weekly stipend.
“We called the application ‘Wasabi’ and it was a good way for us to manage our kids’ allowance and we thought that other people might benefit from this,” Cathy Glitsch said.
As with most software programs, these limits are subjective, with parents defining good behavior and adjusting the fine points of the allowance process in order to suit their own families.
The AllowanceBot acts as a “virtual bank,” she said, allowing parents and children to see how much has been saved or spent.
When children make purchases, parents deduct money from their allowance accounts.
That gives children the experience of the “real world” effects of spending on their savings.
An embedded graph can show children how long it will take to save for a special item, encouraging them to budget their money to reach their goal.
And if a child borrows against next week’s allowance, the parents will know exactly how much is owed and when.
The software runs on Apple products which have a large enough user base for the app to succeed, Glitsch said, but other versions are planned for Google’s Android operating system.
Several other allowance apps are available, but the Glitsches think the AllowanceBot is superior because of its graphical design.
Parents can create an “account” for each child with an attached picture and real-time tracking of how much is owed.
It can be designed to accommodate a regular amount or can track an hourly wage awarded for chores such as mowing the lawn.
Children can log on with their own devices and see updates in real time, although the data they access is controlled by the parents.
All the information is stored on a server, the use of which is free for anyone using the app.
About 200 users have downloaded the app since it was released about a month ago, Cathy Glitsch said.
She said that devices can help people stay organized and connected, while it’s important not to rely on them too heavily.
“There was a guy at church who said ‘I hope I die before my paper Bible is replaced’ but then the minister held up his iPhone which he said had several different translations of the Bible,” she said.
“These devices are here and there isn’t anything you can do to stop them.”
For more information about AllowanceBot go to www.wingboat.com.
The software is available from the App Store, which is built into every Apple-manufactured device.