BoD - Bank of Daddy

By Steve Baker <>


My 9 year old son gets $9 allowance per week. Unfortunately, the following things can happen each Friday: (I can only imagine the chaos when you have multiple children!)

If any of these things sounds remotely familiar to you, then perhaps you'd like to set up a proper children's banking system using your home computer.

BoD (which stands for 'Bank of Daddy') is a program that automates your children's allowances and expenditures.


First, make sure you have a reasonably modern copy of 'FLTK' (Fast Light Toolkit) installed.

gunzip, un-tar and then...

    make install

If you are running Windoze or something that can't run configure scripts and makefiles, don't sweat it. Just compile all of the source files together and link it to the FLTK library.

No, I won't provide a binary version, project files and such.


This program is offered under the terms of the GNU Public License (GPL).

How it Works.

BoD is a program that is intended to be run by an adult. The child may wish to be present when you run it - but it's not secure enough to avoid cheating!

You are the bank manager. When you run the program, you can open the account information for any of your 'customers' and do simple admin stuff like print statements, issue chequebooks, accept deposits or pay out cash from their accounts.

The program will pay allowances into the accounts automatically even when the program is not being run - so long as the system clock on your machine is correctly set. You can even choose to set up interest rates on savings and overdrafts (although you may choose to prohibit the latter).

It is intended that you would print statements for your children so that they can track their savings and expenditures accurately. It is hoped that there is educational value in doing that.

I do not intend you to give your children cash from their accounts as a routine matter - instead, your print out a book of mildly realistic looking numbered cheques. When they need money, they write you a cheque and you give them cash. Once every couple of days (or as necessary), you fire up BoD and enter the cheques into the computer and tear them up.

Each cheque will thus be recorded onto their statements.


Whilst you could give BoD a 'realistic' interest rate, that is unlikely to encourage younger children to save - and isn't sufficient to discourage overdrafts (assuming you allow them).

I suggest a 2% or 3% for 8/9yr old children (that's 3% per week, compounded weekly - it adds up quite quickly). A higher rate would be needed for younger children and a lower one for older kids. You can adjust BoD's interest rate independantly for each child.

Interest is managed simply so that children can more easily comprehend it. Each week, just before their allowance is paid, BoD will pay interest on the final balance (or deduct it if there is an overdraft).

Allowance Payments.

Allowance payments are made every week - at exactly the same day and time of day as the moment the account was set up. There probably ought to be a way to set the payment day - but I was too lazy to write it!

You may wonder how BoD manages to pay allowance money and compute interest when the program is not running - but it's really much simpler than that. Whenever you DO run BoD, it looks to see how long it has been since interest/allowance payments were last made and make the appropriate number of calculations just as if it had been run once a week. However, it's probably better not to get into details of this with your children - they need to 'imagine' that their allowance is really still being paid at the expected time - or else they won't really trust the program.


You can print a reasonably realistic account statement - it keeps only as much 'history' as will conveniently fit on a single page - and unlike a real bank, if you ask for statements very frequently, you'll still get a full page of transactions, not just the ones since your previous statement. That saves lots of arguments when (not if) the child loses an old statement.

Account Information.

The account information is stored in ASCII files in a form that makes it easy for you to manually fix things if the system should break down in some way - or if you need to correct errors.

Setting it Up

There are two shell variables to set (both are optional):

   BOD_PRINT_COMMAND -- The command needed to print Postscript
                        data read from 'stdin'. This is usually
                        just 'lpr' - which is the default.
                        If you don't have a printer, you can
                        set this to 'gs' (ghostscript) and see
                        the output on-screen.  Printing this stuff
                        is more realistic though.

   BOD_HOME          -- The directory where the account data is
                        held. The default is the current directory.

By convention, BoD account files have the extension '.bod' and are named the same as the account holder.

Start the program by running the 'BoD' executable. The interface is graphical and VERY easy to understand. Account files are auto-saved at every opportunity.

About the Author

BoD was written by Steve Baker <> since I didn't start writing it until Jan 1st 2000, it's probably the first financial software to be written that can't possibly suffer from the Y2K problem!