By Vicki Little
It was a brown binder. Well, now I know it was a ledger in a brown cover, but back when I was kid, I just knew that when the brown binder and the calculator came out, I disappeared. Mom was never in a good mood when those things were on the table in front of her, and I certainly knew that it was not the time to ask for something. But it wasn’t until I was grown up that I understood what she was doing. Looking back, I wish that we had had a few more conversations about what was happening in that magical little checkbook. Even better, I wish that we had some of the following apps that would have given me some financial savvy before I was thrown into the deep end.
Celebrity Calamity: Every kid with a favorite celebrity will love this game where they are in control of the finances for three celebrities who aren’t very money savvy. The goal is to keep your celebrity happy while also managing their money and making sure they don’t overspend and end up in the negative. The game teaches kids about credit cards, as well as checking and savings accounts. Free
Savings Spree: Suitable for children 7 and up, the game teaches kids how the small everyday choices they make can either add up to big savings — or it can be wasted away. The game demonstrates that saving can quickly lead to a new game or toy, and it shows them how to spend their money wisely by comparing different options, and it also introduces them to donating and investing their money. $5.99
Renegade Buggies: This app teaches financial literacy through a fast-paced game where kids race their buggy through the aisles. The goal is to make smart financial decisions and save the most money. Kids will learn to compare unit prices, buy in bulk, and use coupons. Free
Piggy Bot: Created by parents for children ages 5 and up, Piggy Bot is a virtual piggy bank where kids can track their allowance and plan for big purchases (or see how quickly their money will disappear with a lot of small purchases). The money is all virtual. It isn’t actually a bank account where money is kept, which makes it easier for parents that don’t always have cash on hand for allowances. Parents can set goals and assign chores, and they can easily see exactly how much they owe their children — avoiding those fun “no, you owe me this much” conversations. Free
FamZoo: This app gives a hands-on experience with a real online bank where they have their own debit card that they can use it to make real purchases. Kids can separate their money into as many different accounts as they wish, such as saving, spending and giving. Parents can assign chores and have the money automatically credited from their funding card to the kids’ cards after those chores are approved. This is a great learning tool that gives your kids real experience with using a debit card. $5/month or $30/year.
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two children. A Colorado native, she spends her time writing, sitting in the bleachers for her daughter’s gymnastics, and engaging in spirited debates with her son. In her free time…well, she is still waiting for some of that.
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