Casual Friday: Create an allowance chart in Excel

Casual Friday: Create an allowance chart in Excel

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A colleague of mine shared this handy Excel tip he uses to reward good behavior and chore performance to calculate his child's weekly allowance. He started it when his son was only about three years old, using fun stickers to mark simple chores and good days of listening and following directions.

Here is what the most recent version looks like:

Allowance Chart

Over the years, the spreadsheet and process have evolved. At about age 5, they switched to stickers shaped like different coins: a quarter for a task that was really well done, a penny for those that could have gone a whole lot better. This has the added value of teaching his child about the coins and their different values.

To create the form, he simply made good use of the various layout features in Excel:

  • Select multiple cells and use Merge & Center (on the Home tab) to create an attractive header and "base allowance" section under it. (At my friend's house, base allowance increments with age and increased responsibility, and it may be withheld if behavior doesn't warrant it).
  • Grids use consistent height and width. To ensure you have consistent widths, select the columns for the days of the week, right click and choose Column Width (16 in this example) to ensure they are the same. Likewise, select the rows with the chores and choose Row Height (75 here).
  • The calendar grid uses borders to make it easy to fill each space with a sticker. Select the cells you want to have borders, right click, choose Format Cells, switch to the Border tab and click Outline and Inside to quickly fill in the lines. You can always remove any unwanted lines by selecting any cells you want to adjust and returning to this tab.
  • Clip Art (from the built-in Office Clip Art library) is used to visually connect the child to the chore - even before he could read it.

Download the calendar as a starting point, or create your own rewards chart using these handy techniques.

Suzanne

Comments
  • I started out with Excel for this too, but being a software geek I ended up building a web site to track it and to let the kids sign in to see their balances. Since then, it's evolved into an online  "Virtual Family Bank" that parents can use to teach their kids all kinds of good personal finance habits. If interested, please check it out at FamZoo.com

    Cheers,

    Bill

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