App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
PennyOwl App Poster Image

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Hands-on money management with storefront and savings.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to manage their money hands on. They'll receive their weekly allowance or other payouts of cash through the app and can request money from parents for other reasons, via messages sent from within the app. Kids can shop in the store for wish-list items, and parents can read reviews of books, apps, movies, and TV shows (these reviews are provided by Common Sense). By tracking their savings and making spending decisions, kids will get real experience in the marketplace and practice managing their money. With support from parents, PennyOwl can be a useful tool for helping kids develop smart saving and spending habits.

Ease of Play

Tutorial walks users through features. Setting up accounts is easy, as is switching between parent and kid if sharing a device.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

To allow kids to spend their allowance in the curated store, parents must enter credit card information. Kids can browse the store and add items to their wish lists.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that PennyOwl is an allowance tracker and curated store with interfaces for both kids and parents. After parents set an allowance for their kids and pay it weekly, kids can track what they've earned and shop for curated items from the virtual storefront, buying things directly from the app or asking parents for a payout. In the settings, parents can restrict the age-range maturity for the store items that kids see. Kids and parents can share a device, each logging on separately, or they can have linked accounts on different devices. Note: PennyOwl is one of Common Sense Media's paying content partners (our media reviews are featured in parent accounts), but their app was reviewed by an independent writer working for a separate department.

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What's it about?

In PENNYOWL parents create an account for their family, adding kids' information -- including gender, birth month, and birth year. Parents can set a weekly allowance, choosing to approve it each week or have it automatically added on a specified day. Parents can add money to kids' accounts for other reasons too -- for example, as a one-time credit. Kids can browse the store, add to a wish list, and then shop for the items when they've saved enough money, or they can request a cash payout. By using the store'smaturity filters, parents can make sure kids see only toys, games, and books deemed appropriate for their age, as well as set a dollar amount for purchase limits. Parents also have access to a news feed, which features financial and parenting articles, and reviews, with content from Common Sense Media. 

Is it any good?

Not only can kids learn about money management, but both parents and kids can take advantage of customizable features that make spending and saving easy. Any parent who's tried to remember to pay out a weekly allowance will appreciate the convenience of a virtual bank that saves them a trip to the ATM. Setting up the allowance(s) and switching between accounts is simple and efficient. Because each member has options -- to spend, to save, to set amounts -- parents and kids have to work together and communicate, which offers an opportunity to discuss the family values around finances. Though the store selections aren't as grand as online shoppers are accustomed to, giving kids the option to shop with their allowance is innovative, and it'll only get better as the store continues to expand.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about money management, deciding with kids how they can manage their allowance. What will they spend? What will they save? What will they give? What will they invest?

  • Talk about the kinds of things kids want to buy. What makes them want to buy it? How long will it take to save enough?

  • Discuss your household's money-management system and decision-making process around big purchases.

  • Talk about consumerism in general: How much focus should we put on material things? This app lets you create a wish list for yourself -- what other kinds of wish lists can we make? How can we use money and things to help others?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love money management

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