As parents, one of the best things we can do for our kids is to teach them the value of money, how to shop and spend money, and how to budget and save.
Most parents introduce “finance” into their kids lives by having them earn pocket money by completing tasks or chores. This teaches your child that they must work to receive money.
Kids still have access to the school banking system through most Australian schools where they are rewarded for making deposits each week. This is a great way to introduce “savings” and the theory of giving your money to a bank to put away for safekeeping.
But, beyond that, things you and I were taught when we were kids really no longer apply to the real world.
My kids have a school savings account, we log in to their account through Internet Banking and watch their savings grow. It’s tough to teach your kids how to spend, though when most spending is done by waving a magical card at a machine.
So, in addition to the School Banking account, I’ve introduced a new way for my kids to spend, save and budget in 2020.
One day I was visiting my parents and my youngest, who would’ve been just over 2 at the time, was playing with some old debit cards. He swiped one against my parents’ blood pressure machine, saying he was buying something, how I would if I was buying something.
This was a massive reminder that kids are sponges and look at everything we do.
I never carry cash. Ever! Everything I buy is paid for with my debit card, so an old fashioned school banking account is not a great way to teach my kids how to spend through example.
This is where I was introduced to Spriggy.
Spriggy is an excellent way for you and your kids to manage their pocket money. There’s a parent app that lets you manage your kids pocket money and keep track of their savings and spending habits and an app for your child so they can manage their own money.
Plus your child will receive a special limited edition Visa Debit Card (it’s a prepaid Visa!) to be able to use for purchases.
Debit -v- Credit
One thing I explained to my kids when I first set them up with a Spriggy account was the difference between a debit card and credit card.
I explained to them that the card they have is a debit card. So, the kids are spending their own money, and there are generally no fees or charges to do that. The catch is they must have the money in their account to spend the money.
I also explained what a credit card is – it looks very similar to their debit card, but instead of spending your own money, you’re borrowing money from the bank, and you MUST pay it back within a specific time frame, and you MUST pay extra cash back for the convenience of borrowing money.
I explained to them the difference in saving for something (and receiving bonus money for saving) and borrowing money to buy something. And how much difference you ACTUALLY pay for an item when you borrow.
Each of my older children has a set of chores they complete, it’s the same set of tasks each fortnight, and they have a specified amount of time to complete them.
These chores are loaded into the Spriggy app. So, when they complete the job, they log into Spriggy and mark it as complete.
I then receive a notification where I can either approve or reject their work.
When I loaded the chores into Spriggy, I assigned a dollar value to each task. The kids can then clearly see what they’ll receive and when I approve they’ve completed the chore, Spriggy transfers the payment from my “parent wallet” to their account on Pay Day.
Spending -v- Savings
Because the kids use school banking accounts for their long term savings. I use the Spriggy app to teach them about short term saving or saving for something in particular.
At the beginning of each school term, we work out how much money they’d like to spend on toys or outings during the next school holidays. Usually, it’s somewhere between $50 and $75 depending on the length of the school term.
We then work out how much money they need to save each week to meet this goal. It’s then up to the kids to ensure they complete their chores to receive the money and then transfer money from their card to their Saving account (within Spriggy) each Pay Day. Whatever is left is theirs to spend.
My one rule with their money is if they don’t reach their savings goal by the time school holidays come along they aren’t allowed to withdraw ANY cash from their savings for spending during their holidays. And then ALL money next term will automatically go to savings.
Day to Day Spending
I have no restrictions on what they can buy with their money. It hasn’t taken them long to realise that buying $20 worth of lollies is not only a waste of money because you have very little to show for your money, but it’s also a waste because I won’t let them eat $20 of lollies!!!
The first school holidays they had their “savings” to spend they wanted to visit the gift shop or cafe everywhere we went to. Again, they soon realised how overpriced these places were.
In our latest holidays, they bought Lego with their “savings”. Giving them the freedom to spend their money on whatever they like has very quickly taught them what a good purchase is and what isn’t.
My 13-year-old is about to take his spending to the next level. He has just started high school, and his school canteen has eftpos. He asked if he could keep his Visa card in his wallet (usually I keep them with mine). So, I’ve given him the Visa card which he can take to school. My guess is, the first day he will spend ALL of his pocket money and after that, when he realises he has to wait another week for more money – the spending will reign in 🙂
Another beauty of the Spriggy card is if he is stranded somewhere and needs money for a bus or something else, I can easily and instantly transfer extra money from my parent wallet (connected to my bank account) to his card.
And if he loses the card, I can lock it from my app, OR he can lock it from the app on his phone.
RELATED READING: How to Save Money on a Single Income
A great way to explain to kids the value of money and to shop around for a reasonable price is to talk to them and explain what you’re doing while you’re shopping.
But what happens if you do most of your shopping online for convenience?? Well, the kids can learn about this too.
My 13 year old recently wanted to buy some Lego he saw on YouTube. He asked me to find it for him. I rarely go to the shop and browse, and if I do, I’ve always researched online precisely what I’m looking for.
So I introduced him to the power of Google!!! Showed him how to search for the Lego to see firstly if it’s available in stores in Australia or if he’d have to buy it online.
Using the “shopping” facility within Google is a great way to show kids how you can compare the price of a product online without too much effort.
We also discussed the difference between having something delivered (and having to wait for it and pay extra to have it delivered!) or using click and collect for local shopping.
I also do most of my grocery shopping online. In Australia, some of our major supermarkets have apps for online shopping. It’s easy to show kids how you can display search results by unit price, price, brand etc.
Because you’re not standing in the middle of a busy supermarket, it’s also a great way to explain and show kids the value of shopping by “unit price” and the savings you can make buying in bulk.
Another problem we’ve run into recently is buying add on packs for gaming consoles.
My 9 year old mentioned he wanted an add on pack for a game. He saved for weeks and weeks and finally had enough money to buy the bundle. When he went to buy it, we quickly found out that the price on his gaming console was in USD and therefore nearly double the amount.
This experience allowed me to explain to him in general, how foreign currency works, how to tell what currency something is advertised in, and how to convert currency.
When is the best time to give your child a Spriggy card?
Spriggy is available for children aged 6 to 17, and I think this is the perfect age range.
My 5-year-old has just started school and started saving in his school banking account. He has begun completing chores, and I’ve been paying him cash in hand.
He’s just learning how to earn money, in the months to come as he learns how to shop (i.e. look at prices and see that he has enough money) I will start explaining to him how the cards his brothers use work.
On his 6th birthday, I’ll set him up with a Spriggy account and start teaching him how to manage money on the card.
Oh, and did I mention that Spriggy is not a bank account so there’s no need to visit a bank with birth certificates and whatever else is needed these days to set it up!
We’ve been using Spriggy for a little while now, and I can honestly say it’s been a breeze to teach my kids all about invisible money and how to shop in 2020.
What else do you do to teach your kids about money? Let me know in the comments!
Please note: if you sign up to Spriggy using any links on this page, we both will receive a $5 bonus in our Parent Wallet!
Kirsty is the founder of That Noise Is Mine.
An established blogger, writer and business owner raising 4 children independently. Kirsty is determined to succeed in this new life forced upon her.