How to Manage Your Nanny’s Spending Money

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How to Manage Your Nanny’s Spending Money

female hands counting us dollar bills

It’s inevitable your full-time nanny will need to spend money on your family’s behalf—whether for grocery shopping, entertaining the kids, or the many other errands and activities she may be responsible for.

The question is how to manage the money your nanny will need from day to day. You have a few options: reimburse her for expenses, give her a cash allowance, or get her a designated credit or debit card.


Use this option as a last resort, unless your nanny makes it very clear she’s fine with reimbursement. Your nanny is likely among the majority of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck. Offering to reimburse your nanny assumes she has the money to pay for expenses. Waiting for reimbursement can be stressful and may create a financial hardship for her.


Cash is another option, but it requires some work to track. The easiest way to track cash is with a weekly allowance. Give your nanny cash on the same day each week (i.e., Monday) and ask her to provide all receipts for the week plus any leftover cash the same day of the following week. Then provide her with her allowance for the coming week. If you’re concerned about unauthorized spending, you’ll need to carefully reconcile the receipts your nanny provides with the cash allowance you provide.

Designated Credit Card

You have a couple options when it comes to having your nanny use a credit card.

  • Add your nanny as an authorized user on an existing credit card. Call the customer service department that services your credit card and let them know you want to add an authorized user. They’ll ask you some questions and let you know if the new user is approved. If your account is well-established and you have a good payment history, it’s likely the new user will be approved. If your nanny has a history of poor credit or credit defaults, however, she may not be approved.

If approved, your nanny should get her credit card in the mail within a few days. It’s best to add her as an authorized user on a card with a lower credit limit. This affords you some protection if you’re concerned your nanny might overspend or abuse the card.

  • Open a joint credit account with your nanny. Your other option is to open a new account and add your nanny as a joint account holder. If you’re approved, your nanny should also be approved. It’s important to know that joint users are equally responsible for the unpaid balance on the credit card. If the account goes unpaid, both users’ credit scores can be negatively affected.

However, when you set up the account, you’ll be the primary account holder. This means you can take steps to control how the card is used, including:

  • Placing lower credit limits on your nanny’s card
  • Placing dollar limits on her card for individual transactions (e.g., no more than $100 per transaction)
  • Placing a daily limit on the number of transactions she can make

Make sure the credit card bill comes to you. That way you can review all transactions.

Managing Receipts

Woman at the supermarket checkout and paying using a credit card

Make it easy for your nanny to store receipts with an app like Zoho Expense, which allows users to snap and upload photos of receipts with their smartphones. Some apps have additional features that allow you to track mileage.

If you opt to have your nanny submit paper receipts, make sure she’s diligent about getting a receipt for every purchase. 

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