Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tardis Bank – online pocket money banking for parents and kids


meandleo My son Leo (age 8) and I, that us on the right, have a bit of a pocket money problem. He’s supposed to get £2.00 every week, paid on Sunday. He has a Tardis shaped piggy bank, into which he’s supposed to put the £2.00. When he wants to buy something, he’s supposed to get the cash and take it to the shop.

The thing is, I’m a complete scatter brain and often forget to pay the weekly £2.00. Leo is also very spontaneous in his purchasing habits and will often decide he wants to buy something, but has forgotten to bring along his pocket money. In that situation, I buy whatever it is he wants and tell him that I will deduct it from next week’s pocket money…. which I then promptly forget.

We frequently have long discussions about how many weeks have gone past since his last payment and what I’ve bought on his behalf in the meantime. We loose all track of his real pocket money balance.

Regular pocket money is an important financial education for Leo. He needs to learn how to manage money, but without any proper accounting it just ends up being an arbitrary and irregular hand-over of cash and he learns nothing, except how to beg effectively.

These days most people don’t keep their money under the mattress. I use my bank’s online banking web site to manage my finances. What Leo needs is something similar for his pocket money. Once I started to think about our requirements I realised that it would be pretty straightforward to put together a simple web application. There’s also no reason why I couldn’t offer it to anyone who wanted something similar. A simple sign-on system, an account with a list of transactions and a simple payment schedule is all it needs.

Putting Tardis Bank together has been a great opportunity to play with some new technology. I’ve been wanting to have an experiment with the whole NoSQL thing, and RavenDb in particular for quite a while now, not to mention MVC3 Beta. So far the Raven experience has been very nice. Everything works out of the box, and it really makes putting together this kind of site friction free. Not having to worry about database schemas and the whole object-relational thing is very liberating.

I’m planning to present Tardis Bank at £5App here in Brighton next Tuesday, so it’s got to be live and working by then. In the meantime, there’s a holding page:

And a GitHub repository for the code:

If you’ve got a spare minute, please check it out and let me know what you think. Any help, especially with the RavenDb usage patterns and the design stuff which I am awful at, would be much appreciated.


  1. Anonymous1:32 pm

    Hi! I've been reading your site for ages and, while often you're far too smart for me, I really want to thank you for sharing all you do... so thanks! You're a cool guy

  2. Anonymous3:23 pm

    Cute idea Mike :)

  3. Anonymous6:10 pm

    Mike, this is a fantastic idea... your opening paragraphs describe us to a T - our pocket money situation is a complete disaster! My kids are going to love this.

  4. Thanks for the kind words guys!

  5. Great idea. I had the shock of being asked for pocket money for the first time by my 4 yo son the other day and while researching I found some useful advice here:

  6. Mike, not sure the best way to contact you... but Tardis Bank has been down for a week or so. And (perhaps stupidly) I tracked my kids' actual pocket money in there and have no idea what the balances were. If you can't get it back up, would it be possible at least to send me the current balances, so I can carry on with a local installation? Thanks!

  7. Hi Jeremy, Yes, I was just alerted to the fact that it was down by my son who'd just got back from a month in Japan. I'm very sorry, I should really have some kind of error alerting. I'd got complacent since it's been working fine for ages without any attention. Anyway, it was simple case of a reboot to fix it and it's working fine again now.

  8. Thanks, and no need to apologize. I realize this is a free service with no guarantees. :) I just need to find time to contribute that statement mailing feature I suggested as a backup. :)

  9. Hey Mike, seems to be down. Not sure if you still check it regularly, so I thought I'd let you know. Thanks, Jeremy

  10. Thanks for the heads up. Yes, we do still use it regularly, I just missed this outage. Thanks for letting me know. I'll have a look at very soon.

  11. Back up already! Thanks Mike for the quick response. Both my kids are still using Tardis Bank constantly over 4 years later! We love it; it's made our lives so much easier. They'll soon be moving on to real bank accounts, but this has been a great learning experience. Thanks for a really great idea.

  12. No problem. I'm really pleased that you've found it useful. I should really follow up with a 'Tardis Bank 4 years later post'.


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