Having an au pair whose duties include grocery shopping, running errands and taking your busy bees on outings means they require access to funds. You may find yourself unsure about how to provide money for these duties. There are many options such as providing cash on the day, a monthly float, an au pair credit card, or reimbursing the au pair. It’s important to have a system in place which is comfortable for you both. 

Here are some pros, cons and advice on managing each option:

Cash on the day

This is perfect for small purchases like buying an item from the school shop or taking the kiddies for ice creams. For bigger purchases or activities like grocery shopping or outings to museums, this can get complicated. While it might prevent the au pair from overspending, it can be time consuming to decide on the exact amount of cash required. Check with your au pair whether they’re comfortable carrying large amounts of money for bigger purchases. Ask the au pair to provide the receipts. 

Monthly float

This is a great choice for families who don’t require the au pair to run many errands or to take the kids on lots of activities.. A monthly float covers ad hoc purchases, activities or emergency expenses. Be clear on what the money may be spent on and ask your au pair to keep a record and receipts of their spend. 

An au pair credit card

This is ideal for families who require the au pair to run regular errands, do grocery shopping and take the kids on activities. The credit card would be in your name and you would need to keep close watch on the monthly statements. It’s a good idea to set a monthly budget that allocates specific amounts to different categories like recreation, entertainment, errands and groceries. If the au pair wants to treat the kiddies to an extra treat or activity it’s important they communicate this with you first so that there are no surprises on the bill. 

Reimbursing the au pair 

This option is only recommended if your au pair feels comfortable with this kind of arrangement. Remember, if the au pair pays for something with their money on your behalf it’s vital you pay them back immediately. Ask the au pair to keep the receipt.

Access to funds is a vital tool for your au pair to carry out some duties. Be sure you’re clear on how much, when and where money can be spent. The “right” option for your family is one that feels easiest and most comfortable with both you and the au pair.