Ever since my eldest was 6, we gave him a small allowance and told him if he saves for something he really wants then we would match his savings for the purchase. Wouldn’t you know it, he still has that Nintendo DS.
It’s said if children are financially invested in a purchase, then they’re more likely to be responsible with it. However, from my experience, young children want to spend their money as quickly as they earn it.
Like most parents, we struggle to show our kids that their small change can add up so they can purchase something of worth rather than wasting money on poorly crafted toys or candy.
For the past three years, we’ve used Dave Ramsey’s Give, Save, Spend approach. He splits his allowance into thirds between charity, savings and spending. He has no problem safeguarding his Give and Save banks but holding onto the Spend money for big-picture purchases is his nemesis.
His Spend cash always seems to be left randomly around the house although he has a wallet. Conveniently, he never seems to have his wallet with him when we’re out shopping. I was also finding it hard to keep enough dollar bills around for payday, and I wanted to track his cash from chores.
My children have chores they do as part of the family, but they also have opportunities to earn extra cash for going above and beyond. See my past article, Creative Ways to Pay for Chores.
After researching financial education apps, I downloaded the free KidsBank-Lite app on our iPad. This is a virtual spending and savings account that also allows for savings for charity. It automatically credits weekly allowance and interest on Sundays. I can edit jobs and set payment scales. I like that it teaches the importance of compound interest which shows him that his money is working for him rather than when it is just lying around the house.
Mobile money apps are a natural next step for kids that have been saving their change in a piggy bank. Technology is changing how children use and view money with the most impact on teenagers. They no longer use cash for purchases since they set up virtual bank accounts and swipe bank debit cards. See my past article Abstract Money.
KidsBank and other virtual banking apps for kids have helped my son and millions of other children learn financial responsibility by offering lessons on how to budget and set savings goals. He feels empowered knowing how much money he has to save, give and spend. It has made my life easier, too!